Happy Mother's Day to The Queen Bee
Every hive—I mean home—has one.
Who is the Queen Bee in your world?
Is she living the life of a Diva or is she a worker bee like Cinderella?
Maybe you are the Queen Bee of your hearth and home, or an older family matriarch may be the one who shares her wisdom, sets the pace and instills her style, tradition and values on the family.
Whether your Queen Bee is a flamboyant fashionista who thrives center stage, or the quiet type who always has a hot meal ready and the house smelling like a garden of flowers… whether she's a career woman who juggles better than a clown in a circus, lives in a mansion with a high mortgage payment, or in a shack with a rusted sheet metal roof overhead... she is the Queen Bee of her hive.
Sometimes "Mom" is not our genetic mother, but a step-mom, aunt, grandmother, sister, or even our father, who was both mother and father to us. Family structure is complex these days, and in a globalized world we often live far away from Mom.
In the beehive, we think of the Queen Bee as mother of the hive, and while that is true because all the workers and drones are her offspring, the Worker Bee who never has children does a lot of nurturing of the young. So 'mother' is a term that is morphing over time as human and bee societies evolve.
The life of a Queen Bee is hard work. She is a working queen with duties to perform, she is not an idle pampered monarch. Her job is for the most part a monotonous and thankless task.
How does a Queen Bee run her hive? Is it similar to our human Queen Bee of hearth and home, who does her best to create a safe place for her loved ones?
REAL HIVE DRAMA ~ GAME OF THRONES MEETS THE AMAZING RACE
When a Queen Bee grows older and her egg-laying count dwindles or her pheromones weaken, the worker bees kill her and set a new queen contest in motion. They feed several newly fertilized eggs with royal jelly secreted from glands in their heads, and this turns the eggs into queen eggs. It’s a race to the finish, and the first queen to hatch immediately locates the other queen eggs and kills off her competition on the spot. This secures her place in the hive as the new reigning Queen Bee.
We honor women everywhere, including those who are no longer with us, who have selflessly cared for their loved ones.
The Queen Bee emerges from her cell with two priorities: destroy any other potential queen bee pupae by slashing their shells with her stinger, and destroy the old Queen Bee if she is still in the hive. Then she can take the throne.
She may emit a piping battle cry—the Queen Bee signature sound—calling the older, weaker Queen Bee directly into battle and annihilating her. The old Queen Bee usually flees the hive before the new queen is born, but if the two meet the new Queen Bee fights a battle to the death to become the only reproducing queen bee in the hive. She is the only bee in the hive whose stinger is not barbed, so she can sting her rival repeatedly, but she rarely stings humans.
She is the only adult bee to receive royal jelly. It prepares her body to reproduce. Her long abdomen contains ovaries and is used to tamp eggs into cells. Once she rules the hive she goes on a big mid-air mating fling by flying with drones from other hives, and collects enough sperm to last her lifetime, allowing her to lay up to 2,000 eggs every day of her life. She understands genetic diversity, and never mates with drones from her own hive.
There are many similarities between the human Queen Bee and the Queen Bee of the hive. SHE is the hub of her home, reproduces selflessly, makes many sacrifices for her offspring, delights in fine feasts of rich foods, grows plumper than others around her, is known for her signature scent, and enjoys a wild fling.
She is a workaholic and may even resort to murder if another female tries to take her place on the throne. She plans ahead, hoarding supplies her brood may need. Her work ethic and sense of duty leave her little time to relax and “smell the roses" or fulfill personal dreams and desires.
Eventually she wears herself out in service and will be replaced by a new Queen Bee that she helped create. She may be exiled, stung to death by her own colony, or die peacefully. All that matters to her is knowing the cycle of life continues and she did her part to help the hive survive.
Let us honor the Queen Bee in her glory on Mother’s Day. Without her, there would be no hive, no worker bees, no drones, no honey, and a whole lot less pollination and crop diversity in this world for humans.
This beautiful rose is for all beloved mothers everywhere, especially those who can claim the crown of the heart-warming, ever-giving, splendorous Queen Bee.
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