The boss lady

A Queen Bee is produced by the colony either when it's time to swarm, or when the existing Queen has done her dash. The colony choose a fertilised egg which has been laid by the existing Queen and feed the cell with Royal Jelly...  a protein-rich secretion. A virgin queen will spend some time maturing before reproducing. Once matured, she’ll attract lovers by flying around and releasing a pheromone called the ‘queens scent’, which the boys flock to from all corners. Are humans really that different? She’ll then mate with several boys, storing up to 100 million sperms.

Only a few sperms are initially used to fertilise. The remaining are drip fed over the course of a lifetime, which can be up to seven years. Once she runs out of sperm, or becomes slack, the colony will produce a new virgin queen by the method above . A colony can only have one Queen, so if two appear, the leaders have to fight, Gladiator style. We weren’t the first to use a democratic system.