Garden And Gardener

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Queen bee

by Diane - July 1st, 2014.
Filed under: Bees.

queen bee

A friend has got a beehive in my apiary and I’ve been going out when they do their inspections.

Yesterday she pulled a frame out and spotted the queen instantly!
Can you see her?

The queen bee is the mother of all the bees in the hive. She can lay a massive 2500 eggs a day at peak. The majority of these will turn into worker bees with a few percent being drones.

The queen is visibly bigger than the other bees. She looks so easy to see once you’ve seen her you wonder how you ever missed her.
They can be quite hard to spot though.
The idea is to mark them with special paint so they stand out more clearly. There is a special colour code. This year is green. The code is WYRGB. Remember it as What?! you raise great bees! White, yellow, red, green, blue.
However I hadn’t taken my queen marking kit out yesterday to mark her so we just took a photo or two instead and then Angela carefully put the frame back in the hive.
A queen is essential to your hive – without one the bees will not survive as they can not make new bees. If they have eggs laid they can make a new queen. This takes 16 days from the egg being laid in the bottom of a honeycomb cell. It is fed lots of royal jelly which is a milky white substance and after 8 days it is capped. Queen cells are bigger than worker cells: the reason why is obvious when you see the size difference. The new queen then hatches after 16 days.
If there is still a queen in the hive then she will swarm as the bees cap the cell taking a large number of bees with her off to find a new home.