On the occasion of Mother's Day, I would like to say a few words about her Queen - Mother bees.
THE Queen is mother and leader of the entire population of the colony. She is its most elegant resident and the only perfect female bee. It's the focus of the hive! Her mission is spawning and the maintaining the cohesion and organization of the bee.
When the colony deems it necessary to create a new Queen, the bees, depending on whether they want her replacement or whether they want to swarm, prepare the corresponding number of royal cells. Eggs selected to achieve this value, they feed exclusively on Royal Jelly and for this reason the Queen has a complete reproductive system, unlike worker bees, whose eggs are only fed royal jelly for their first three days. Royal larvae have higher amounts of juvenile hormone and grow faster (Robinson 1985, Winston 1987) and while worker bees take 21 days to become perfect insects, the queen takes only 16!
If two queens are born at the same time, a so-called battle royal will ensue. The strongest Queen will prevail and assume her duties within the hive. The bees will groom her, clean her and prepare her for her nuptial flight. In this flight the pairing with the drones will take place. One nuptial flight will probably not be enough and she will need to repeat it once or twice, but then she will return to the hive to remain there and devote herself to her mission for the rest of her life or until the bee decides to swarm.
As soon as it returns to the colony it will begin to deal exclusively with laying eggs and producing royal pheromones to maintain the cohesion and organization of the bee, nothing else! Her "court" will take care of everything else, cleaning her, grooming her, feeding her exclusively royal jelly and transmitting the pheromones she secretes. She will initially lay a small number of eggs and gradually increase to lay up to 1,500 to 2,000 eggs per twenty-four hour period.
The Queen owes this great productivity to her diet of royal jelly!
It is truly admirable how the Queen's "court" cares for and protects her. She is their mom, the heart and soul of the entire colony and she is the one who will perpetuate the species. This is the reason they exist and maybe, and the reason we exist too......
So happy birthday to all Moms - Queens! We wouldn't be here without them.....