Wednesday, July 1, 2020

How is the Queen Chosen in a Hive?

In a hive of honeybees there are three different types of bees. The have very different, but very vital, jobs they need to complete to make honey and live happily. In a hive, there is only one queen. The queen is different based on a few factors: size, diet, and job. There are important steps that need to be taken for a female bee to become a queen. 

All honeybees are born in cells, the hexagonal holes the bees use to store their honey and pollen. The queen's body holds every egg she ever needs to lay in her life. In a day, she lays about 2000 eggs. In order to create a new queen, the current queen lays an egg in a special cell called the queen cell. The queen cell is larger because the larvae, or the baby bee, growing inside of it will be larger than all of the other bees in the hive. When the new queen is developing, worker bees will feed her royal jelly, a special milky substance that is produced from the glands of a honeybee's head. Royal jelly is full of special proteins that help the larvae in the queen cell grow and develop her reproductive organs that allow her to hold and lay so many eggs in her lifetime. The larvae of the new queen will stay in the cell for about 16 days, until she is ready to be born.
The queen of the hive is the only honeybee that can lay eggs, so when she knows that she may die soon or something is wrong, she will release pheromones. Pheromones are a smell that tell the other bees what's wrong, and instruct them to prepare for a new queen.

Once the new queen is born, she will sting or suffocate the old queen until she passes away. Sometimes there are a few queen cells made, with more than one queen hatching. The first queen to hatch is seen as the strongest to the other bees, so she will take over. All of the other queens have to be killed because the honeybees only accept one queen per hive. Having more than one would confuse them, and too many eggs would be laid everyday, causing overpopulation.

Once the old queen and all the other young queens have been killed, the new queen assumes her responsibility as mother of the hive. She will reign as long as she is healthy.