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When Queens Are Reared

Category: BREEDING.

Also, when the combs become crowded with bees, and honey plenty, the
preparations for young queens commence: as the first step towards
swarming, from one to twenty royal cells are begun; when about half
completed, the queen (if all continues favorable) will deposit eggs in
them, these will be glued fast by one end like those for the workers;
there is no doubt but they are precisely the same kind of eggs that
produce other bees. When hatched, the little worm will be supplied with
a superabundance of food; at least, it appears so from the fact, that a
few times I have found a quantity remaining in the cell after the queen
had left. The consistence of this food is about like cream, the color
some lighter, or just tinged with yellow. If it was thin like water, or
even honey, I cannot imagine how it could be made to stay in the upper
end of an inverted cell of that size in such quantities as are put in,
as the bees often fill it near half full. Sometimes a cell of this kind
will contain this food, and no worm to feed upon it. I _guessed_ the
bees had compounded more than their present necessities required, and
that they stored it there to have it ready, also, that being there all
might know it was for royalty.

The taste is said to be "more pungent" than food given to the worker,
and the difference in food changes the bee from a worker to a queen. I
have nothing to say against this hypothesis; it may be so, or the young
bee being obliged to stand on its head may effect it, or both causes
combined may effect the change. I never tasted this food, or found any
test to apply.

The preceding plate represents a piece of comb containing all the
different cells--those at the left hand the size for drones. In the
centre are few that appear sealed over, others nearly covered, others
the larva in different stages of growth, as well as the eggs. _Fig. 1_
represents a queen's cell just commenced. They are usually started thus
far the first season, very frequently when the hive is only half or
two-thirds full. _Fig. 2_ is a cell sufficiently advanced to receive
the egg. _Fig. 3_ one finished, the stage when the first swarm leaves.
_Fig. 4_ when a queen has been perfected and left. _Fig. 5_ is a cell
where its occupant has been destroyed by a rival, and removed by the
workers. It will be perceived that each finished queen's cell contains
as much wax as fifty made for the workers.

Next: Liability Of Being Destroyed

Previous: When Drones Are Reared

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