How to Identify a Queen Bee

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Look for a bee larger than the others in the hive.,
Look for a bee with a pointed abdomen.,
Using a magnifying glass, look for a bee without a barb on its stinger.,
Look for a bee that stands with its legs splayed apart.,
Watch the way the other bees act subserviently around her.

The easiest way to tell the queen bee apart from other bees is by her size. Queens mated with drones are the largest bees in the hive, both longer and wider than other bees, while queens who have yet to mate, or virgin queens, are smaller than mated queens but larger than either worker bees or drones.

The queen bee’s larger size, as well as her ability to lay eggs, is due to eating protein-rich royal jelly, which is secreted from glands on the heads of young worker bees and mixed with pollen to form a whitish milk or mush. All bees are fed royal jelly for the first few days after hatching, but only queen bees are fed royal jelly until reaching physical maturity. Royal jelly not only enables queen bees to mature sexually, it also enables them to reach physical maturity sooner (after 16 days as opposed to 21 days for worker bees) and contributes to their extended lifespan.
Virgin queens are reared in the event the mated queen becomes old or incapacitated. They are kept separate from the mated queen and each other; if 1 virgin queen encounters another, she will attack and attempt to kill it.;
, A queen bee’s larger abdomen is noticeably more pointed than the abdomens of either worker or drone bees.

, Worker bees’ stingers are barbed; once they sting a target, the barb catches and pulls the stinger from their abdomen, killing the worker. Queen bees, however, have no barbs on their stingers, enabling them to sting a target repeatedly.

, Necessary because of her greater size, keeping her legs splayed apart, like those of the bug in the game of Cootie, enables the queen bee to move quickly through the hive.

, As long as the queen bee is healthy and productive, worker bees are notably deferential to her, getting out of her way when she moves forward and standing at attention facing her when she stops.

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