Wildflower Meadows | Mated Queen Bees - Bee Eggs Photo

Eggs

If you look carefully you will see newly laid eggs inside the honeycomb cells.  A successfully mated queen bee can produce approximately 500,000 eggs over the course of her lifetime.

During the spring and summer, a queen bee lays an average of 1,200 to 1,500 eggs per day.  A real go-getter can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day!  (Some sources say that this number can even reach 3,000).  A young and newly mated queen bee, however, needs time to work up to this kind of production.  She may start with a smaller and perhaps irregular laying rate until she reaches her optimum.

The amount of eggs that a queen bee lays depends on the time of the season, the quality of the nectar flow, the kind of food being fed to her by the nurse bees, the strength of the colony, and the amount of empty space available.  The eggs pictured here are worker bee eggs.  However, the queen determines which kind of eggs to lay as she is laying them.  She can lay either worker eggs or drone eggs by fertilizing or not fertilizing them at the time of laying them.  Fertilized eggs become workers; unfertilized eggs become drones.

Wildflower Meadows - The Virgin Queen Bee

Virgin Queen Bees

When a virgin queen bee emerges from her cell, she quickly becomes active inside the colony.  However, her priorities are different from the average worker bee.  Upon emergence, she is hungry, and one of her very first acts is to eat honey to gain weight and energy.  Virgin queen bees have not yet fully developed their reproductive system and therefore are somewhat smaller than mated queen bees.  After hatching, a virgin queen spends approximately six days inside the colony eating honey, scurrying about, and gaining strength for her upcoming mating activities.

When you find a virgin queen bee in a colony, you will often see her running on a frame, sometimes acting like a bully and pushing other bees out of her way.  A honeybee colony normally only has one queen bee, and a virgin queen has a fierce instinct to seek out and kill any other queens.  A colony may start out with several virgin queen bees, but it won’t take long before it ends up with only one.  Even if the virgin queen finds another virgin queen still lodged, unhatched, within her cell the older virgin will sting her to death right through the cell.