What is the Life Span of a Honeybee Queen?
by Hossain Mallick
The Queen Bee, more Slave than Queen.
What is the normal life span of a queen honey bee kept in a hive?
The usual maximum lifespan of a honeybee queen in a hive is thought to be about 4 or 5 years. However this probably varies very much according to the conditions and the queen's performance.
The queen is usually replaced, or superceded, when her performance declines which probably happens much sooner in most cases. A new queen is created and the old queen is removed by 'balling'. The workers cluster around her, increasing the temperature until she dies and her body is dropped out of the hive entrance.
When honeybees swarm they create a new queen, just before the new queen hatches, the old queen flies off with a large proportion of the worker bees. Once the swarm has found a new location and established itself, a new queen is created which supercedes the old queen so that the new hive can increase its numbers rapidly, store honey and survive the next winter.
Often beekeepers will replace her with a new queen, called re-queening, from a known source, perhaps a specialized queen breeder. This is a way of improving some aspect of the hive, either its honey production or temprement. In areas where Africanized bees, or the so called killer bees, are a problem, beekeepers will re-queen their colonies every year to make sure that the hive does not become too aggressive.
I think it's unlikely that most queen bees live much beyond two or three years in a wild bee hive.
The Bee Guy
Click here to read or post comments.
Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to .