The queen begins to lay eggs after her nuptial flight with the drone which will never return to the hive, it dies immediately after mating, the abdomen broken in two by the effort of penetration.
The architecture of the hive is perfectly designed to welcome newborns. Indeed, the queen will deposit her eggs one by one in each of the cells that have been made by the worker bees. There are two kinds of cells, large and small. Large cells are intended for future males and small cells for females. Since the female is much more useful than the male in the hive, there are many more small cells. Then another magic happens, if the queen is content to just lay an egg, it will give a male and if she also deposits a small sperm on the egg, a worker bee will be born. The queen stores thousands of sperm in a small, specially dedicated pocket.
The queen bee's work is exhausting, she lays an average of one egg every 40 seconds, about 2,500 eggs per day. To be efficient in her pocket, a real course surrounds her and constantly nourishes her. When the last cell in the comb is occupied by an egg, the queen moves to the first cells that have just been released by bees that have become adults and so on. After 3 days, the egg laid by the queen gives birth to a larva which will be greedily fed on porridge (mainly composed of royal jelly) by bees specially selected for this task; nurse bees. These last will serve no less than 3000 meals for three days to the small larvae which will grow at an unimaginable speed. After the 6th day the larva has gained 500 times its original weight.
On the 21st day, the bee hatches and joins the honey factory with its sisters and mother. Like all her sisters, she will have a very specific training. She is :
- first, a cleaner: it cleans the cells to welcome new larvae nurse
- masonry: construction of beehive combs
- ventilator: to ventilate the hive, keep it at a stable temperature and control its humidity and CO2 levels
- soldier: where she stands guard at the foot of the hive to give the alert if an enemy appears
- finally forager: in search of nectar, pollen and water