As part of our Bee Awareness campaign, we thought we’d look at the heart of every hive – the queen bee. The queen bee is the driving force behind the hive, tirelessly producing eggs that hatch more drones and the workers that go on to pollinate our gardens, crops and other plants.
Here are some things you may not know about the queen bee…
- She is the only bee to lay eggs.
- She is much larger than any of the other bees in her hive.
- A queen bee can live for several years.
- In the summer months the average queen bee can lay around 1,000 eggs each day.
- If a bee larva is fed exclusively on royal jelly then that bee will become a queen bee.
- Although queen bees are larger than others in a colony, it’s quite hard for beekeepers to find them in the hive. Because of this, they are often marked with a small bit of paint, which doesn’t harm them, but does make them easier to spot.
- A queen bee chooses which eggs to fertilise before she lays them; unfertilised eggs are the drones (male) and fertilised eggs are the workers (female).
- Queen bees mate with the drones while in flight.
- When a new queen is born the old queen either leaves the nest or they fight to the death.
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