A Mother's Day Tribute to Queen Bees
In honor of Mother's Day, we're paying a tribute to the Queen Bee and her importance in the bee colony. While we all know bees to be unique as the world's main provider of honey, it is the Queen Bee who functions as the heart of the beehive.
In a colony of 50,000 bees there is only one Queen, but she is far from the only female. She is accompanied by 300 male bees (also called "drones.") The rest of the hive is made up exclusively of female worker bees. The female bees forage for food, build honey comb, keep the nest clean and defend it from predators while the drone or male bees sole responsibility is to mate with honey bees from different hives.
A Queen bee lives from 3 to 5 years, and when she gets old or dies a new Queen must be selected. Becoming a Queen is not easy! The worker bees create several new potential Queens by placing the selected larvae in over-sized cells which are filled with Royal Jelly
. To obtain the Queen status, when the first Queen Bee hatches, she must destroy the other potential queens in their cells. However, if two queens hatch simultaneously, they fight for the status and the surviving winner rules the hive.
While all bees are fed Royal Jelly
during their first few days of infancy, after 3 days, the larvae are switched to a diet of honey and pollen. However, the Queen Bee is fed Fresh Royal Jelly for the rest of her life. This unique substance provides the Queen with all the nourishment she needs to live for years, and it is regarded highly for the health benefits it provides to humans, too.
The queen bee's sole responsibility is to lay eggs, and she may lay up to 2,000 each day while establishing a colony. She is only able to do this successfully with the help of her worker bees, who "tend" to the queen and are responsible for feeding her. They even pre-digest her food before she is fed!
Queen bees are the ultimate mother, as their role in the survival of the colony is indisputable. We hope this incites appreciation for the queen bee in your life and that you share this article to celebrate all that makes them invaluable this Mother's Day!
📸: Open KG
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