Italian Queen Bee Being Fed by Worker Bees


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Italian queen bee
This Italian queen bee will lay her own weight in eggs every day. To do so she must be fed almost constantly by the workers. The young workers gorge themselves on pollen brought in by the older forager bees. The workers produce royal jelly from this pollen in a gland in their heads called the hypopharengeal gland. This highly nutritious jelly is fed to the queen to provide her the nutrients she needs to produce as many as 2,000 eggs a day. All day and all night the queen will look for empty cells in which to lay eggs. In three days these eggs will hatch into larva which will also be fed royal jelly for another three days. After that time the larva are fed a mixture of honey and pollen. If the worker larva were to be fed royal jelly for a longer time, she would develop into a queen bee. Amazingly, royal jelly is the only substance which is known to increase lifespan, at least in honeybees. The worker bees will only live for about six weeks, but the queen may live for several years, all because of the food they were fed while growing as larva.

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