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Life of a Queen Bee
Did you know that the main job of a queen bee is to lay eggs? It means that Her Majesty is actually the mother of all the other bees that live in the hive. But what is it like to be a queen in a beehive?
When the queen bee is still a larva, the worker bees feed her with a special food called “royal jelly” which is rich in essential nutrients that allow the larva to grow as a fertile queen. Once she comes out from her cell, the queen bee flies a few times to mate with drone bees, and yes, I am using the plural here! Researchers found that bees of a single hive might have up to 50 different fathers!
After the queen returns, she will not leave the hive anymore but instead, spend all her time reproducing. A queen bee can lay about 1000/2000 eggs per day! And there is no need to fly and mate again because she will have enough sperm in store to fertilize eggs for the rest of her life. One other thing I did not know is that worker bees are only female and they are born from a fertilized egg. On the other hand, the unfertilized eggs will develop into male drone bees.
Worker bees are very important for the queen. In their young age their main duties are to feed the queen and take care of all her needs. Another important task is to ventilate the hive and keep control of the temperature, especially during the cold winters.
Another interesting fact is that, obviously there can be only a queen in the hive. Soon after the queen comes out from her cell, she inspects the hive, searching for other potential rivals. In case there is more than one queen in the same hive, they unfortunately will be forced to fight each other until one of them is dead.
How long the queen lives depends very much on how well she performs her job of laying eggs. Otherwise worker bees will replace her creating a new queen.
Want to know more? Keep following our blog and taste some delicious local honey by adopting a beehive from our shop.
Cecilia (Co-Founder of Bee Rescue Finland Oy)
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