How many queen bees reign in a hive?
So, did you get it right? Isn't the artwork adorable? I found it on a sibling gift idea store called My goodness duds (click here), the broccoli siblings are too cute for words, but I digress.
The term queen bee is used to refer to the mated female bees that lays all the eggs in the hive. They have the longest lifespan of all the bees in the hive, ranging from 2-7years compared to the few months of a worker bee.
Queen bees are selected from birth. They are layed in a special egg chambers called queen cups and they are fed royal jelly to promote their growth.
The old queen will begin laying virgin females when the climate is good for swarming (mating) or if she needs to be replaced. Once a virgin queen has emerged from her queen cell, her main objective is to seek out and destroy other virgin queens since they are her direct rivals to the throne. During this period, the old queen is allowed to live and keep on producing worker bees.
The victorious virgin queen will fly out of the hive and seek out a swarm or "drone congregation" and mate with as many as 15 drones (male bees). She will only mate once in her life. She stores the accumulated sperm in a spermatheca. The virgin queen may go out and mate multiple days until she has stored enough sperm.
The no-longer virgin queen returns to the hive and the old queen must either disappear and form a new hive, duel to the death with the new queen or be killed by the hive. Intruders and old queens are killed by "balling" a.k.a cuddle death. The workers cluster tightly around the victim and cause death by overheating.
Interesting fact, queen bees do not have barbed stingers which means that unlike the worker bees, they can sting as much as they please.
See you next week!