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It’s Good to be Queen!

Sorry for the blurry photo — but: Moving insects through glass in a dark garage! In this snapshot from MashupDad’s observation hive, though, you can see how the other honeybees naturally start to circle around and attend the queen bee, and can also see how much larger she is than the others. Read on, because he also has a couple of new videos of Ms. Queen Bee to share with you (in better light!).

One queen to a hive

Above, the queen is out for a walk and you can see in action how the other bees automatically circle around her and take care of her. A queen bee will generally rest for an hour or so a day, but is otherwise constantly on the prowl, laying eggs. The workers feed her, clean her, and remove her waste (the other bees don’t “go” in the hive).
And in this video, you can see the queen walking around the hive and laying eggs in the empty cells. Queen bees lay up to 2000 eggs per day! The most interesting part here is that she makes a choice with each egg whether to fertilize it or not. An unfertilized egg becomes a drone (boy) bee, which make up just 5% to 7% of a hive’s total population. A fertilized egg becomes a (female) worker bee.

Amazingly enough, all of this stems from just one or two mating flights after the queen first emerges.  During these mating flights, she will get herself set up to lay eggs for the next 4-6 years — which is the average lifespan of a queen!