Importance of the Queen Bee to your Hive
Fledgling practicing bee keepers should understand that the queen bee is the most important thing that keeps the hive alive and flourishing because without her, the hive would die. The queen bee is the only member of the hive which lays eggs, an obvious skill which is needed to keep the hive alive and thriving. This supreme bee is not any mystical creature but just uses her clout and skills to overpower other virgin bees during her royal reign, usually lasting up to two years.
Defining the Royal Role
There is a different development process for the queen that is set apart from the bee colony's population of drone bees. Before the egg containing the queen bee hatches, she forms inside what is known as a queen cell and she is fed with royal jelly, a special oozing discharge created from the heads of younger bees. The queen bee alone is fed this special jelly which imparts particular sexual characteristics that are not found in other bees, particularly the working drone bees.
While most bees all look the same within a hive, you can tell the different between them and the queen bee because she has a longer shaped body and does not leave the colony hive except for mating. In fact, the queen will mate with multiple drones and then return to the hive to produce thousands of eggs a day to perpetuate the colony. Without those thousands of eggs a day laid and the loss of the queen bee, the hive would quickly die off.
Other Royal Information
The bees in the hive put themselves in great peril on a daily basis to ensure the survival of the queen bee, particularly when she leaves the hive to mate with some drones. Without the mating process, she cannot lay the many eggs needed for hive survival and unfortunately, things like foul weather can interrupt the mating.
One of the ways that the queen bee asserts her dominant authority is to exude a special substance which prompts other bees to lick off her. The problem for the other bees lies in the fact that this special substance inhibits their growth so they do not become mature in a sexual way. Of course, there is a problem when more than one queen bee exists in a hive at any given time. Typically, the weaker queen will depart the colony hive and fly away to find another one in which she can exert her dominance for her remaining time.
A queen bee may lose her authority in the hive either by dying (obviously) or when a younger queen bee challenges her and imparts a killing sting. Being a royal in a buzzing, busy hive has its downside for the queen bee but it is the call of nature to perpetuate the species.