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February 09, 2020 2 min read

Queen bee

Life of a Nature’s Marvel: Honey Bee Queens

Have you ever asked yourself what is happening inside the beehive and what role does the queen really plays? Let’s take an overview of the life of the queen, the whole enchilada within a healthy beehive depends upon the honey bee queen, which is the core and gist of any honey bee colony. Roughly a colony of 60,000 or more honey bees has only one queen honey bee, she is usually the mother of most bees in the hive. Survival of the entire colony rely on that queen bee as she is the sole reproductive female in the colony capable of laying eggs.

The queen is very straight and keep a tight rein on everything she does in the hive, from breeding to fostering, to consistent production of healthy broods. The queen is considered to be the celebrity of the hive because of her fully develop ovaries which enhances her egg-laying abilities. Other bees stay close to the queen to cater and nourish her, the queen mate with approx. 10-20 different drones, laying around almost 1,500 eggs per day- many eggs weigh more than her own body weight- while the other female workers make sure to provide everything that queen need and performs all the duties of colony. A good quality queen means a productive hive leading to the production of quality honey.

The queen will start mating shortly after her emergence, she’ll attracts drones, will mate with them, lay eggs and the fertilized eggs will develop into workers or queen and unfertilized eggs will evolve into drones. The purpose of mating many drones is to assure genetic diversification in the progeny.

Spotting the queen within a hive is an exhausting task for starters, to avoid all this grueling you should mark the queen. Mark a small dot on her thorax or buy a marked queen, it will help you easily locate her. As an apiarist, you should frequently visit the hive to asses brood pattern, presence of eggs, to determine “is your queen healthy”? or if your colony shows any signs of mutiny- in the form of swarming, queen lost, supersedure, sister queen- between the bees.

Average lifespan of the queen is about 1.5 to 3 years, after that as the time passes, the egg-laying potential of the queen starts reducing, which results in less and less production of baby bees, means smaller colony with minimum harvesting of honey. You can deal with this problem by replacing the queen by another queen-Requeening. Never introduced a new queen to a colony, she might be killed by the workers, instead it is best to left the colony queenlees for 24 hours.

Queen bee

Ready made queen bees can be acquired by commercial queen manufacturer, you can buy the queens from us here, we have alluring Italian mated Queens starting from just $40, which we supply with queen cage, containing the queen and 5-6 escorts as well as candies for the bees.