How a Bee Gets Crowned Queen

©iStockphoto.com/Dragisa

©iStockphoto.com/Dragisa

At Hawaii’s Local Buzz, our raw honey from Hawaii comes straight from the hives we maintain, most of which are on our own family-owned farm. Bee hives are living, thriving communities with a social structure all their own. Most of the bees in the hive are female worker bees who spend their time caring for the queen, maintaining the hive, foraging for nectar and creating honey. There is only one queen bee. The process of crowning a new queen in a bee colony is an intriguing process like no other.

When the colony needs a new queen, several eggs are selected and something called queen cells, which are larger than the cells housing the rest of the eggs, are built around them. When these eggs hatch, the larvae are fed a special mixture called royal jelly, a milky substance rich in B vitamins and special hormones. Royal jelly is secreted from a gland in the nursing bee’s head. After about 21 days from the day the egg is laid, it has transformed into an adult queen bee. The first queen to emerge in a hive normally kills the rest of the queen “candidates” and becomes the hive’s new queen.

The new queen bee is truly unique in that she is larger than the rest of the bees in the hive, has no stinger, and is the only bee in the entire colony who is capable of laying fertile eggs. Essentially, she becomes the mother of all other bees in the colony that are produced while she is alive.

The average queen bee in Hawaii lives for 2 to 3 years. Since she does not leave the hive after her mating flight, her lifespan is much longer than the average worker bee, who lives for about 6 to 12 weeks. When a queen dies or becomes too old to lay eggs, the colony will create a new queen following the process described above.

At Hawaii’s Local Buzz, we view ourselves as caretakers for our bees, doing what is necessary to ensure their survival. Visit our website to browse our selection of raw honey from Hawaii, which is carefully blended by the bees themselves.

One thought on “How a Bee Gets Crowned Queen

  1. Ray

    FYI: A queen bee does have a stinger, and she uses it repeatedly as needed to kill rivals to the throne. She does not sully her stinger on mere beekeepers, though. So you can call it a specialized sororicide stinger, if you’re into alliteration.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *