The queen is an important member of the hive, and not only because she is unique in the family population, but because she is vital to maintaining that population. A queen or queen bee can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day. This is also her main activity. They are not the only qualities. It is said that queens lead the hive like a monarch, giving continuous orders to the bees.
WHAT DOES THE QUEEN OF BEES LOOK LIKE?
The queen is the soul of a beehive and the only fertile female in the hive, having the role of procreating and perpetuating the bee family. Usually, there is only one queen in a hive. She has a long body (20-25 mm), a small head, a very well developed abdomen, small wings compared to her body, and a weight ranging from 250-280 mg.
Its legs are longer and darker than those of worker bees and it has no pollen pockets. Its tongue is shorter and cannot be used to collect nectar. The sting of the queen bee is longer than that of worker bees, but it does not have the strength to sting a human being. The queen uses this weapon only to kill her opponents, that is, another queen.
Precisely through the presence of the queen bee, bee families have managed over time to achieve an unprecedented pattern of organization and efficiency. Ever since the construction of the hexagonal houses, which are also considered by man as the most resistant constructions, the way the bees communicate with each other, the way they manage to survive in winter by thermal regulation.
It is easy to distinguish between a young and an old queen. Thus, the young ones have an abdomen full of eggs, their wings are intact, and their hands and body are covered with small hairs. Queens that are more than three years old do not have hair, have broken wings and move very slowly. Towards the end of its life, a queen most often lays infertile, drone eggs.
CAN BEEN QUEENS BE ARTIFICIALLY INSEMINATED?
In recent years, the process of artificial insemination of the queen has been very developed. To go through this process, the beekeeper needs dexterity, which can be obtained only after years of practice in beekeeping, and sterilized instruments. An advantage of artificial insemination is controlled mating, because the beekeeper is the one who selects certain drones, whose sperm will be used in the reproduction process. The biggest disadvantage of this process is the empty cavities, which rarely occur in the case of natural fertilization.
After two or three successful fertilizations, either artificial or natural, the queen begins to lay eggs. This is a maturation process that ends when eggs are removed from the fallopian tubes into the vagina, where they are fertilized. Here the sperm coming from the sperm pocket penetrate the egg membranes. Working bees and queens can only hatch from fertile eggs. The queen can also lay infertile eggs from March to June. Before and after this period of time, the queen lays only fertilized eggs.
HOW DO THE QUEENS OF BEES SPEND THEIR LIVES?
Returning to the queen bees, it must be specified that they all spend their lives inside the hive. They usually leave it only once for the nuptial flight. In case of swarming, the queen leaves the hive forever. It never comes back. Usually, a hive has a single queen. However, there are cases where there are two queens in the same hive. This situation occurs before swarming, or when a queen has aged and the bees have made a new, young one. They don’t kill the old one, but let her live in the hive until she eventually dies.
There are also cases in which if two young queens meet, they fight until the strongest or the most cunning wins. The queen does not tolerate any rival inside the hive. Therefore, when it hatches, it kills all the other potential queens. However, when the bees want to swarm, they warn the queen not to kill the queen larva.
But there are also cases in which bees kill their queen. Thus, if a beekeeper starts his activity too early in the hive, when the bees have not fully recovered after their winter sleep, he is so upset that he accidentally kills his queen. If a beekeeper holds the queen in his hand for too long, the queen loses its smell, and the worker bees perceive her as a stranger, therefore killing her.
HOW MANY TIMES ARE THE MATCHES MATCHED?
Many of the insects have a short life, but you may be surprised that a queen can live up to 7 years. Its prolificacy depends on the number of drones it has mated, it stores sperm in a specific organ called the sperm. The queen bee mates with several drones in the same flight, but this happens only once in her life. A mated queen can develop the family well, but once it loses its prolificacy it can no longer thrive.