10 Reasons Bees Reject Their Queen


Of all the insects that exist, bees are one of the most fascinating. Not only do they play an important role in pollination, but they also produce honey, wax, and other useful products. However, one of the most intriguing aspects of bee behavior is their relationship with their queen. The queen bee is responsible for laying eggs and maintaining the hive’s population, but there are times when the bees might reject her. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why bees might reject their queen.

Before we dive into the reasons why bees might reject their queen, let’s first understand the hierarchy of a bee colony. A typical bee colony consists of three types of bees – the queen bee, worker bees, and drones. The queen bee is the most important member of the colony, as she is responsible for laying eggs. The worker bees, as the name suggests, are responsible for doing all the work, including caring for the queen and the young, collecting pollen and nectar, and building and maintaining the hive. Finally, the drones’ main role is to mate with the queen.

1. The Queen Bee is Old or Sick

One of the reasons why bees might reject their queen is that she is old or sick. A queen bee’s lifespan is usually between two to three years, and as she ages, her egg-laying capacity decreases. If the queen bee is unable to lay eggs, the colony’s population will start to decline, and the bees might reject her. Similarly, if the queen bee is sick or weak, she might not be able to fulfill her duties properly, leading to the colony’s decline.

2. The Queen Bee is not Producing Enough Pheromones

Another reason why bees might reject their queen is that she is not producing enough pheromones. Pheromones are chemicals that bees use to communicate with each other. The queen bee produces a specific pheromone that tells the worker bees that she is the queen and that they should obey her. If the queen bee is not producing enough pheromones, the worker bees might become confused and reject her.

3. The Queen Bee is not Compatible with the Colony

Each bee colony has its own unique genetic makeup, and the queen bee must be compatible with the colony for the bees to accept her. If the queen bee is not compatible with the colony, the worker bees might reject her. The bees can tell if the queen bee is not compatible by smelling her, and if they don’t like her smell, they will reject her.

4. The Queen Bee has been Replaced

Bees are social insects, and they work together as a team to ensure the survival of the colony. One of the ways they do this is by replacing the queen bee if she is not performing her duties properly. If the bees decide that the queen bee is not doing her job properly, they will create a new queen and replace her. Once the new queen is established, the old queen will be removed from the hive.

5. The Queen Bee is not Laying Enough Eggs

As we mentioned earlier, the queen bee is responsible for laying eggs. If the queen bee is not laying enough eggs, the colony’s population will start to decline, and the worker bees might reject her. The bees can tell if the queen bee is not laying enough eggs by checking the brood cells. If there are not enough eggs in the cells, the bees will become agitated and might reject the queen.

6. The Queen Bee is Producing too many Drones

Another reason why bees might reject their queen is that she is producing too many drones. Drones are male bees that are only used for mating with the queen bee. If the queen bee is producing too many drones, it means that she

is not laying enough worker bee eggs, which are the ones responsible for doing all the work in the hive. This can lead to a decline in the colony’s population, and the worker bees might reject the queen as a result.

7. The Queen Bee has been Injured or Damaged

Queen bees are vulnerable to injuries or damage, especially during the mating process. If the queen bee has been injured or damaged, she might not be able to lay eggs properly, leading to a decline in the colony’s population. The worker bees might reject her if they sense that she is not able to perform her duties properly.

8. The Queen Bee is not Producing Enough Drones

In contrast to the previous reason, if the queen bee is not producing enough drones, the worker bees might also reject her. Drones are important for mating with the queen bee, and if there are not enough drones in the colony, the queen bee will not be able to mate and lay eggs properly. This can lead to a decline in the colony’s population, and the worker bees might reject the queen as a result.

9. The Queen Bee has Become too Aggressive

Queen bees can become aggressive if they feel threatened or if they are not compatible with the colony. If the queen bee becomes too aggressive, the worker bees might reject her to protect the colony. This can lead to the creation of a new queen, who will be more compatible with the colony and less aggressive.

10. The Colony is Preparing to Swarm

Swarming is a natural process that occurs when the colony outgrows its current hive and needs to find a new one. Before swarming, the worker bees will create a new queen, and the old queen will leave with a group of bees to find a new hive. During this process, the worker bees might reject the old queen to ensure that the new queen has a chance to establish herself in the colony.

In conclusion, bees might reject their queen for a variety of reasons, including old age, illness, incompatible genetic makeup, low egg-laying capacity, aggression, and preparation for swarming. As social insects, bees work together as a team to ensure the survival of the colony, and the queen bee plays a crucial role in this process. If the queen bee is not performing her duties properly, the worker bees might reject her and create a new queen to ensure the colony’s survival. Understanding the reasons why bees might reject their queen can provide valuable insights into the behavior of these fascinating insects and help beekeepers and researchers better manage bee colonies.

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