Apr 292006

Although queen bees do get special treatment, their lives aren’t all roses and tiaras.

When bees need a new queen, special “queen cells” are made in the hive. Zoo.org describes these cells as extensions of the wax and shaped like a peanut. Young worker bees secrete a special food called “royal jelly,” and place it in the queen cells as food for the special larvae.

According to honey.com, a queen is chosen as a two-day-old larva. Once she emerges from her cell, she quickly finds and kills any rivals. Then she mates with enough drone (male) bees to give her enough sperm cells to last her lifetime (about two to five years). She can lay up to 2,000 eggs each day, and chooses eggs to be drone or worker bees by either fertilizing them (worker) or not (drone). Once a queen dies, a new one is chosen, and the cycle begins again.

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