Bees play a very important role in our agricultural pollination system. Many crops such as alfalfa, broccoli, clover, garlic, and more are highly reliant on bees for the pollination they receive. Without bees, many of our foods would quickly perish without the help of bees.
The word queen bee is commonly used to describe an adult, unfertilized female that lives either in a single solitary honey beehive or a colony; she’s generally the queen of all if not all of the individual bees in the hive. Queens are genetically grown from young larvae picked by worker bees and specifically fed to become fully matured.
Once matured, they lay eggs, called nectar, which is the source of honey for the hive. Queens produce a lot more eggs than do the rest of the workers, making them the biggest contributor to the hive population. However, they have a large appetite and may even overrun the hive.
Most beekeepers are familiar with the process of queen rearing, which involves removing the queen from the hive and raising her to adulthood. In doing so, the beekeeper ensures that the other bees in the hive are not affected and that new bees will build the queen a new hive with stronger walls and beekeeping food. This is referred to as the laying of the new queen.
Some beekeepers, however, believe that laying the queens is a bad practice because it can weaken the hive. Instead, some beekeepers will only allow the queen to nurse young. This practice allows the younger queens to gain the experience needed to take over the entire hive, should she need to.
Apis mellifera queen rearing is not only performed on one species of bee, but on all of them. In order to determine which species it needs to be performed on, it is important to speak to a local expert. These experts may also be beekeepers themselves or may work for beekeepers.
Regardless, of who performs the procedure, a thorough inspection of the hive is necessary before any action can be taken to begin the queen rearing process. During this inspection, it is important to look for signs of infestation by other bees and to find any structural damage to the hive.
Once the inspection has been conducted, it is time to start the queen preparation process. The worker bees will go through a period of transition where they will try to adjust to the queen’s rule and will try to kill off any rival queen bees that may be living in the hive.
If the worker bees prove unable to do this, or if there is an excess of queries in the hive, the old queen will be removed and replaced with the new one.