Dr Pádraig Whelan, our Chief Science Officer, was incredibly lucky to capture this video of a recently hatched honey bee queen that had just landed near a hive entrance on her return from a mating flight.
About a week after a queen hatches, she spends about a week making several mating flights; ideally mating with 14-20 drones during that week. On her return from each mating flight the workers clean the rear end of the queen’s abdomen.
After a week of mating, she will not mate again and uses stored sperm, from her mating flights, to fertilise her eggs for the rest of her, egg-laying, life. In the wild, honey bee queens have a lifespan of between two to five years but in managed colonies beekeepers often replace the queen every year to ensure maximum egg-laying and strong colonies.
To learn more about the lifespan of a queen bee, visit https://bit.ly/3isI6pB.