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Why Do People Kill Queen Bees?



Why Do People Kill Queen Bees?

Queen beehive – Facts

The Queen bee is the most important member of the bee hive’s caste system, which is well-organized.

Honey bees are an important part of the food cycle on Earth. Most flowering plants, including many of the top human food crops, such as blueberries and cherries, are pollinated (pollen is transferred from the male to the female parts of the plant, allowing fertilization to take place).

Honey bees are so crucial, in fact, that farmers frequently bring bee colonies to their farms to ensure that their crops are pollinated. How Does a Bee Become a Queen Bee?

Honey Bee Caste System

The queen bee is the largest and most long-lived bee species, with a lifespan of up to six years. She also produces chemicals to influence the behavior of the other types of bees

What would happen to a hive if the queen bee dies?

  • The beehive recognizes the presence of a queen via various pheromones. The queen’s entourage is constantly engulfed with it, and it makes its way throughout the hive.
  • Once the queen dies, the queen’s pheromone levels drop, the bee workers in reaction flap their wings and get some air through the hive, removing all remnants of it from the hive. Now it’s clear to each and every worker – they are queenless.
  • Genetically speaking, every female bee in the hive (worker or queen) has the potential to become a queen. The difference between the female workers and the queen is not in nature but rather in nurture. The workers were raised to be workers, they will remain workers for their entire lives.
  • Back when they were laid, as eggs, all-female eggs are similar. Once they hatch, for the first three days all larvae get fed protein-rich food, but three days later, the worker larvae stop consuming a protein feed diet while the future queen(s) remain on a “first-class” protein-rich diet.
  • When the hive suddenly becomes queenless, the worker bees seek young larvae, i.e. ones that are less than three days old.
  • Some of these larvae are fed a protein-rich diet, thereby making them grow bigger and healthier.
  • These are called emergency supersedure queen cells. To remain on the safe side, the bees make not just one but rather a few of these.
  • A queen bee is a female bee who is specially fed to be sexually mature. In other words, they are able to reproduce. There is always only one in a hive. She would leave the hive only to mate, and then stay and lay eggs and give birth to all the other bees.
  • The queen bee is labeled green, the largest bee in the hive
Role of the Queen Bee in a Hive
  • In simple terms, a queen bee is a sexually mature bee, who would give birth to every other bee in a colony.

In the case of the bees,

There are three jobs for Worker, Drone, and Queen.

Workers work.

Drones find new queens to mate and spread their genes.

Queens lay eggs all day long and produce offspring.

Clearly designated duties and roles, and very efficient.

Why does the king bee never return to the bee hive again after mating with the queen bee?

There’s no “king bee.” There are drones (males) that mate with the queen in flight. In the case of honeybees (but not all bee species), the male’s genitalia is ripped off when he mates and he falls to the ground and dies.

His genitalia explodes with a pop audible even to the human ear and can be seen still clinging to a newly mated female.

Role of the Queen Bee in a Hive
Newly mated queen with the genitalia (arrow) of the last male she mated with.

Sex is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion for a male honeybee. For that matter, it’s once or twice in a lifetime for the queen too, but she mates with as many as 18 to 20 males on her maiden flight. A femme fatale, you might say. The arthropod world is full of those.

Here is a video of the drone pursuit of a queen, in-flight mating, and the death of the drone.

I am glad not to be a male honeybee.

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