Feeding the Queen Bee
A queen bee, being the queen that she is, is familiar to getting the royal treatment. Even when it comes to eating, a queen bee is accustomed to being fed by her many attendants.
If you open a beehive and happen to find the queen bee, you will usually notice the queen surrounded by her attendants. If you continue to look closely, you may even see one of the attending bees step forward and feed the queen mouth-to-mouth. This is the way that a queen bee normally eats. A queen honey bee typically eats a predigested blend of nectar or honey fed to her by her loyal court of attendants.
With this kind of care and attention, why would the queen bee need to eat on her own? She usually does not. This does not mean, however, that she cannot do so. Sometimes if a queen bee is hungry enough, she will have no problem dropping her giant head into a honeycomb cell and taking a big drink of nectar.
When we prepare our queen bees for sale, we notice that one of the first things a queen will do when she is placed into a shipping cage is to immediately move to the sugar tube and start eating. Perhaps this is because the sugar is so tasty and energizing to her. In this case, she has no problem eating on her own. Before long, however, we provide the queen with countless attendants in preparation for her shipment. These attendant bees are always very eager to help. Once the queen has attendants, she will stop eating on her own and let her attendant bees do all of the work.
In the photo above, a random honeybee dropped from the sky just to have the pleasure of feeding the queen bee!