How To Spot A Bee Queen? And What You Need To Know About Them

Bee

Emma Downey

Emma Downey
Gardening Expert

Updated on 12/4/2022

There has been much discussion concerning the fact that worker bees are genetically programmed to serve and defend the bee queen. The phrase "little gold and black flyer" has worked its way into our vernacular and the fabric of our culture, but how much do you know about the illustrious bee queen?

In this article, we will discuss the bee queen, including its appearance, how to identify it correctly, and other pertinent information, such as the numerous advantages of royal jelly (which will be discussed in more detail in the following paragraphs).

Therefore, let's begin with bees and their jovial monarch!

What Does A Queen Bee Look Like?

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It is all too simple to think that the individual bees in a swarm are the same when you first come into contact with them. It is difficult to recognize even the most evident differences, much less correctly identifying the queen bee amid the other bees.

The fact that bee queens aren't all that much bigger than typical bees means that size isn't really a good indicator to use when trying to differentiate between the two.

The queen bee has an odd body shape, which is the primary distinction between worker bees and the queen. Worker bees do not produce eggs.

Her abdominal region and legs are significantly longer than what is typically seen in animals of this kind. On the other hand, the bee queen's wings are rather brief and practically never extend beyond the limits of her abdomen.

Her back, like the backs of all bees, is sleek and smooth, and it bears the well-known pattern of gold and black that we have learned to recognize.

Experienced beekeepers can learn to identify a queen bee pretty effectively over time, despite the fact that it is initially quite challenging to do so. The key is to put in the necessary amount of practice.

Let's move on to some hard-and-fast facts regarding the monarch now that we've covered the general appearance of the bee queen.

Queen Bee Facts

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Before purchasing a beehive and beginning your adventure as a beekeeper, it is vital that you have a solid understanding of a few key points, especially if you have been considering the possibility of keeping bees.

Queen Bee Size

In spite of the fact that bee queens are slightly bigger than the typical worker bee, their size is only 20 millimeters, making them extremely, extremely minute (about 0.75 inches).

It's important to note that the size of a typical worker bee can range anywhere from 11 to 15 millimeters, and while there is certainly a distinction between the two, it's not always easy to notice with the human eye.

Queen Bee Sting

The stinger of a bee queen is highly distinctive in comparison to the stinger of a typical worker bee. One distinguishing feature of the queen's stinger is its length and slick surface.

Because the worker bee's stinger has barbs, the bee will eventually perish after it has stung someone (because the stinger gets stuck in the victim).

Since the bee queen, on the other hand, does not have a barb on her stinger, it is possible that she may sting a person without the victim succumbing to the effects of the sting. And while you might believe that this would make the bee queen more aggressive, the truth is that the situation is exactly the opposite of what you might expect.

In most cases, queen bees will not sting human beings, and this is not how their minuscule bodies are created in any way. Even in the unlikely situation that a human being gets stung by the bee queen inadvertently, the sting is not as excruciating as that of a worker bee, according to reports from experts.

So, who exactly are bee queens known to sting?

If they possess a stinger, then it is inevitable that they will use it on someone. Only other queens are allowed to use the stinger that is attached to the bee queen.

Queen bees are fiercely competitive beings who will not accept the presence of another queen because they see it to be a direct threat to their own position (which it usually is).

Because of this, if a new queen comes into touch with the bee queen, they will fight each other for dominance, and the conflict will typically end in one of the queen's deaths. To sum everything up, there is no reason for you to be concerned about being stung by the bee queen!

Queen Bee Honey

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Royal jelly, also known as bee queen honey, is a type of secretion produced by honey bees to nourish the honey bee colony. Its the most basic form as a mixture of water, proteins, and carbohydrates, and water is the primary component and appears to be mucus in all essential respects.

Bee queen honey, also known as "bee milk," gets its name from the fact that, when a new bee queen is being made, she is placed inside of a queen cell to keep her safe until she is ready to take over the colony.

The substantial amounts of royal jelly she consumes in this environment enable her to develop the distinctive morphology covered earlier.

The fact that the bee queen is able to develop ovaries and produce eggs, which distinguishes her from the worker bees, can be attributed, in part, to the particular diet that she follows.

The Reproductive Cycle Of The Queen Bee

There are four distinct stages that make up the queen bee's life cycle: the egg, the larva, the pupa, and the adult. Through the upcoming paragraphs of this article, we will recognize each one individually to determine what distinguishes a queen bee from a typical worker bee.

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All bees experience these four life stages within a colony; however, the duration of each stage is typically shorter for a queen bee than it is for a worker bee.

The queen bee can complete the metamorphosis into an adult in as little as 16 days, whereas it takes the worker bee a whole three weeks to complete the process.

In the beginning, worker bees and queen bees are not distinguishable from one another. It is possible for any of the female fertilized eggs to develop into a queen, but this is entirely dependent on the mechanism through which they mature.

Egg – Stage 1

The majority of the time, a colony will come to the conclusion that it needs a new queen and will start the process of constructing a unique queen cell, as was discussed earlier.

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In this hypothetical situation, once the cell has been constructed, the current queen will deposit an egg in it, and the process of the future queen bee developing into an adult will then start.

Because the cell membrane that surrounds the egg gradually dissolves during this stage, the entire process only takes three days to complete. After the shell has been entirely dissolved, the future queen will have progressed to the "larva" stage of development.

Queens In Critical Need

However, there are occasions when the colony simply does not have the time to go through all of the steps necessary to construct a specialized cell.

When the bee colony needs to urgently appoint a new queen bee, they will choose from an already existing, very young larva (usually less than two days old) or even a recently laid egg and rear it as a queen, even though that wasn't the initial intention when it was first laid. This can occur as soon as the first day of the larva's life.

Larva – Stage 2

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At this point, the bee queen is still rather susceptible to damage. There is still space for improvement, as evidenced by the fact that worker bees are able to create a bee queen from a typical larva using their reproductive abilities.

In order to make a queen, specific bees known as nursing bees begin the process of feeding the larva a unique solution that is made internally by their glands. This is the first step in the process.

Royal jelly is a white, viscous substance that is provided in large quantities to the bee queen by nurse bees. The primary distinction between worker bees and queen bees comes in their respective diets, namely what they consume throughout the early stages of their development as larvae.

As you can see, a queen bee is provided with an excess of royal jelly, which is a combination of sugars, proteins, and water.

Up until fairly recently, it was believed that the proteins found in royal jelly were responsible for this specific larva's successful metamorphosis into a bee queen. On the other hand, recent research has proposed an alternative and quite fascinating idea.

It was generally agreed upon that the royal jelly has a role in the development of the queen's morphology, most notably her ovaries, which are what distinguish her from the other bees in the colony.

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On the other hand, this current study poses an intriguing question: what if it is not the royal jelly that nurtures the development of the queen, but rather what it is that we do not give her to eat?

The researchers have a hypothesis that the absence of pollen and honey in the diet of the bee queen may be the factor that enables her ovaries to mature correctly.

And despite the fact that additional study is still required on this topic, it is still an interesting topic to think about.

During the three or four days that the bee queen spends as a larva, she can only consume food and continue growing, which is the only activity she engages in during this stage of her development.

In order to speed up the larva's development to an extremely rapid pace, a massive amount of royal jelly is given to it as food.

Because of its expanding size, the queen larva can no longer fit inside a typical honeycomb cell, so the worker bees start building a unique cell for it to live in while it develops. This is because the queen larva is too big to fit within a typical honeycomb cell.

This new cell will be substantially larger and easier to identify, making it the indicator that beekeepers should search for first and foremost because it is likely to be the simplest to spot. To put it another way, it will let you know that the colony is getting ready to crown a queen.

Pupa – Stage 3

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After around seven to eight days have passed from the first laying of eggs, the queen larva will stop eating because it will have consumed a sufficient quantity of royal jelly.

The larva undergoes its penultimate transition into a pupa at this stage of the process, which is the next-to-last stage in the process of becoming a bee queen.

At the third stage of her development, the pupa is placed inside the unique cell that was discussed before, and at the same time, the worker bees cover the cell with a substantial coating of wax that acts as a barrier.

The future queen of the bees will continue to gestate here for another week or two, and she will emerge as a queen on day 16 or so (since egg-laying).

New Queen – Stage 4

The next stage in the creation of the new queen is possibly the most fascinating, but it is also the stage with the most violent deaths.

Since a queen never lays just one egg at a time when she is laying eggs, this indicates that there were other queen cells inside the colony when the observation was made.

Therefore, the newly-emerged queen bee's first order of business is to search for these cells, begin chewing her way through them, and then use her stinger to dispatch the potential queen that was previously housed within them.

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When all of the other possible contenders have been ruled out of contention, the new queen will finally be able to assume full control of her throne.

Mating

It is the responsibility of the bee queen to mate with drones and lay eggs to ensure the colony's continued existence. During the first few days after her emergence, the newly-emerged bee queen is referred to as the virgin queen or the virgin bee. This is because her body has not yet finished maturing.

When this little amount of time has passed, the bee queen will start traveling on what are called "mating flights."

During these, the bee queen, accompanied by a small escort of worker bees, will leave the hive, sometimes traveling as far as a mile away in search of mating partners, commonly known as drones. The queen will mate with multiple drones before laying her eggs during this time.

The queen bee travels such great distances to prevent having her own problem passed on to future generations. She will make a number more journeys like this until the sperm storage compartment in her body is full. After that, she will make her way back to the colony and start laying eggs there.

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While she is doing this, the worker bees will feed her, clean up her excrement, and provide comprehensive care for her in every way. After the completion of the mating flights, the queen bee does not venture outside of the hive again.

Death

The average lifespan of a queen bee varies considerably from colony to colony. Many beekeepers believe that a queen bee should only be kept in a hive for a maximum of two years before she is replaced, despite the fact that a queen bee can technically live for approximately 5–6 years.

In point of fact, some beekeepers claim that the hive will select a new queen bee after a few months have passed.

The passing of a queen bee is another instance that might be considered rather unpleasant.

As soon as a new queen has emerged from her egg, the worker bees must eliminate the previous queen. This is accomplished through a process referred to as "balling," in which the worker bees crowd around the queen bee and suffocate her.

The Function Of The Honey Bee's Queen

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It is widespread knowledge that the queen bee is the "mother of the hive." [citation needed]

As a result, it is not difficult to comprehend that the major responsibility she has is to lay eggs. In order to maintain a wide variety of genetic traits within her hive, it is necessary for her to have sexual encounters with as many of the drones as she can.

It's a well-known fact that a fertile queen bee may produce approximately 1,000 eggs in a single day if she's in good health. However, this is not the whole thing that the queen bee is responsible for.

Additionally, it is up to her to determine whether or not the time has come to swarm. This is the process in which a sizeable portion of the bees leave the primary hive because it has become too large to accommodate them all.

After reaching this conclusion, the queen bee will proceed to deposit many eggs inside of the queen cups.

When she achieves this, the worker bees will begin to feed her less so that it will be simpler for her to travel. In the end, when it is almost time for a new queen to be born, the old queen will take a portion of the hive with her when she leaves.

The Advantages Of Using Royal Jelly, As Well As Instructions On How To Do So

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Now that we understand the significance of royal jelly in the process of developing queen bees let's investigate any additional uses that this substance may have. Why is royal jelly such a popular ingredient in cosmetics and skincare products? Does it have the power to make a person into a queen?

Vitamins Obtained From Natural Sources

The fact that royal jelly has an abundance of vitamins that are essential to human health is one of the primary reasons why so many manufacturers include it in their goods.

It is loaded to the gills with B vitamins, such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), which acts as a natural moisturizer, and folic acid (vitamin B9), which is necessary for pregnancy and prenatal care.

Immune System Booster

Many culinary items include royal jelly as an ingredient so that we can enjoy the benefits of this substance both on the inside and the outside of our bodies. Royal jelly is not only rich in vitamins, but it is also an excellent source of the vital fatty acids that the body needs.

These not only help nourish and protect the skin, but they also perform a number of other crucial functions as well.

For instance, the fatty acids included in the royal jelly have been shown to stimulate antibacterial activity within the body, which can assist in the battle against infection. The oral use of royal jelly is also thought to have the potential to improve the immune system's natural reaction to microorganisms in the body.

Helps Prevent Heart Disease

This one is quite a little larger. Some research suggests that particular proteins found in royal jelly are responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects of this food on humans. A cholesterol level that is lower indicates both a healthy heart and a reduced likelihood of developing heart disease.

In addition to this, it brings down overall levels of harmful cholesterol. The accumulation of "LDL" cholesterol within your arteries is the root cause of cardiovascular problems.

Renders Wounds Healer

Royal bee jelly

As was said previously, royal jelly possesses powerful antibacterial qualities. In the first place, it protects the area around a cut or wound from becoming infected.

The second benefit is that it has been demonstrated to stimulate the production of collagen, which in turn accelerates the generation of new, healthy skin cells.

May Fill in Wrinkles

Collagen is a protein that is bonded to the plumpness and elasticity of your skin.

Although the body creates both of these compounds naturally, as we get older, our bodies become less efficient at doing so, which causes wrinkles, sagging skin, and other signs of aging.

The ability of royal jelly to stimulate the production of collagen is primarily responsible for its popularity in the field of anti-aging goods.

Helps Lower One's Blood Pressure

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High blood pressure gets you at risk for several other health complications. Royal jelly may also be able to lower blood pressure, which is another way to safeguard your heart and overall health.

More research is required at this time for a conclusive answer; nevertheless, studies conducted in test tubes have provided encouraging evidence that royal jelly supplements relax the muscle cells inside your veins and arteries, which in turn lowers your blood pressure.

Reduces Levels Of Sugar In The Blood

A clinical trial that lasted for six months indicated that patients who took royal jelly supplements saw a significant decrease of 20% in the amount of sugar that was present in their blood.

It's also possible that it's responsible for enhancing your insulin sensitivity and making it easier for you to manage your diabetes.

Weapon Against Depression

Royal jelly's effect on the brain is another fascinating advantage of taking royal jelly supplements.

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A recent study discovered that taking royal jelly pills not only improved brain function and memory levels but also appeared to lessen levels of sadness in post-menopausal women, which was a very encouraging finding.

Could Be Used To Fight Alzheimer's Disease

The brain is significantly impacted by royal jelly consumption. It helps some people feel less depressed, while for others, it may make it easier to hold on to memories from the past.

In a study that was carried out on laboratory rats, it was found that there is some encouraging evidence that an extract of royal jelly is directly linked to lowering chemical deposits that are generally associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Naturally, despite these discoveries being fascinating, additional research needs to be carried out before we can definitively state how effective it is.

Helps Address The Issue Of Dry Eye

Dry eyes are an issue that many of us have to deal with, especially in this highly digital era, where we spend so much time staring at a screen. There are a few things that you can do to help alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes (which leads to less blinking, which in turn makes our eyes dry).

On the other hand, using royal jelly supplements might also be of some use in this regard. When administered orally, multiple studies discovered that royal jelly appeared to directly affect those suffering from dry eye syndrome.

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The jelly appeared to increase tear secretion, which ultimately assisted in maintaining adequate hydration levels in the eyes.

The Finest Supplements Containing Royal Jelly

Choose one of these best-selling supplements containing royal jelly to take advantage of its benefits. Keep in mind that in order to notice benefits, you will need to utilize them on a daily basis.

That, to the Best of Our Knowledge, Is It!

The typical person has a simplistic understanding of the queen bee's life, which is grossly inaccurate. For them to take their proper place on the throne, they must first go through a hard process of childrearing and then participate in a fight reminiscent of β€œGame of Thrones.”

Because of the highly intricate nature of their relationship with the worker bees in their immediate environment, queen bees continue to be among the most well-known and fascinating organisms that inhabit the world of insects.

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We hope that after finishing this article, you have a better understanding of what a queen bee's life is like, how you can accurately recognize a queen bee, and, of course, what the advantages of eating royal jelly are.

At the very least, you should have gained some intriguing facts and tales about bee queens from this post. You may use these at the next workplace party, when someone brings up how hard bees have to work, as a conversation starter.

Do you still have some questions regarding bees, royal jelly, or the daily life of the queen bee that need answering? No need to worry about it; the purpose of the piece that is about to follow is to answer any and all questions that you might have regarding bee queens.

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