- Queens only have sex once in their life. But she will mate with up to 15 drones. She mates once at an early age and then her sperm reserves allow her to lay millions of eggs throughout her lifetime. Usually 3-5 years.
- The queen is not really a royal queen, the hive is actually a democracy. Most of the hive’s tasks are controlled by instinct, pheromones and other chemical signals. When a specific decision is needed, like selecting the next nesting site, the worker bees decide by voting.
- There can only be one. . . The death match. When the first queen emerges, she locates other unborn queens and eliminates them one at a time. In the event that two queens emerge simultaneously, they fight each other to the death.
- The queen’s stinger is used for only two reasons. To kill other queens, and to lay eggs. She never defends the hive.
- All eggs are created equal, it’s the diet that makes the queen. They are the only larvae fed the royal jelly into adulthood. It’s the jelly that makes the queen.
- The queen can’t eat. Her food is pre-digested for her by the worker bees. Her only purpose is to make more baby bees.
- The workers will put the queen on a diet before they swarm in the spring. Usually when a hive splits.
Hilary Kearney, from Bee Keeping Like A Girl has a great article that goes into more details with these facts, 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Queen Bees.