The queen bee is the only sexually mature female in the hive and is responsible for reproducing and maintaining the hive’s population. She is the largest bee in the hive and can be distinguished by her long abdomen and larger wings.
The queen’s primary role is to lay eggs. She can lay up to 1,500 eggs per day and can produce a wide range of offspring, including drones (male bees) and workers (female bees). The eggs are fertilized with sperm stored in the queen’s spermatheca, which she obtained during her mating flight as a virgin queen.
In addition to laying eggs, the queen also produces pheromones that help to maintain the social cohesion of the hive and regulate the behavior of the other bees. The presence of the queen’s pheromones suppresses the development of ovaries in the worker bees and prevents them from laying eggs.
The queen is also responsible for maintaining the hive’s genetic diversity by mating with multiple drones from different colonies. This helps to ensure that the hive’s population is genetically diverse and healthy.
Overall, the queen plays a vital role in the functioning and survival of the hive.