Molly had been groomed from larvae to one day become a queen bee. She watched daily as mated females flew in and out of the honey bee colony or hive as some call it. She watched the worker bees feed the queen bees in order that they might become mature.
There was only one mated queen bee to each hive. She was called the dominant reproductive female in the colony. Molly was still a virgin queen but she had high hopes. She had been fed royal jelly which was a special secretion from the glands on the tops of the heads of the young worker bees. She was fortunate because she was continually fed this jelly rather than just a small amount. Thus she was going to be a queen and not just an ordinary honey bee.
It was swarming season and Molly watched to see when the old queen left with the prime swarm. Her tiny feet clung to the walls of the hive. She was hoping to be recognized by the workers as a virgin queen bee but so far no one had noticed her. Finally after much wiggling and flapping around some of the workers saw her and rushed over to get her. They took her quickly into the entrance of the hive.
Now was her chance to kill the old queen when she returned to the hive. She was prepared to fight to the death to be the only queen bee in the hive. She was also prepared to sting any other rivals that were virgin bees. This was now her hive and hers alone. She was aware that worker bees can only sting once and then die whereas the queen can stink repeatedly without dying.
“I’ve heard all the quacking and tooting coming from the colonies.” She mumbled to herself as she vibrated her body as a signal to the other bees. She began making noises announcing her battle cry willing to compete with any other virgin bee or queen bee. People refer to her noise as piping.
“I’m going to be on the look out for all the drones on the next sunny day. I hope to be able to mate with at least 15 to 20 males while in flight. I will store the sperm in my reproductive section and I will be releasing sperm for the remaining years of my life. What an exciting time to be alive!” She announced to all ears listening.
“I hope the weather stays pretty and warm because I only have a few days in which to find my perfect mate. If I can’t mate because of rainy weather I may be cast out of the colony because I can’t lay eggs. Now that is a bum rap if I have ever heard of one!” Molly sighed pouting her tiny mouth in distress.
“I see you have replaced the old queen.” A handsome bee named Pepper said. “She was getting too old and sick anyway. I’m so glad you are our new queen. You are just beautiful.” He replied batting his eyelids in her direction.
“We are planning to ball the old queen when she comes back.” He said softly.
“What is balling?” Molly asked.
Well we just cuddle all around her until she dies from the heat just like we do to the wasps that try to enter our hive.” Pepper lectured. “You have your work cut out for you. I really hope you do well because if we have to get a new queen should you become sick, you two will have to fight to the death!” He continued.
“What a life for a bee!” Molly said rolling her eyes from side to side. “I’m as ready as I will ever be, so on with the show.” She grinned.
She knew how to tell the age of the queen bee. It is first white, then yellow, then red, green and finally blue. She had high hopes to be a blue bee.
“I’ve got brains and fortitude!” She buzzed wildly. “I’ll win this battle you just mark my words.”
It came to be that Molly did mate with at least 20 drone bees and lived to lay many eggs. She also became a blue bee and was the delight of the hive. What more can a bee expect?
“I am blue oh so blue!” Molly sang as the workers swarmed around the hive. “I’ll be true oh so true! Not another queen will do!” Her voice rattled and her body vibrated. She was on her way and nothing could stop her.
“If anyone ever expects to do anything with ease they have to work diligently and persistently. I have done this!” She smiled sweetly as she looked into the warm eyes of Pepper her devoted mate and lover.
It was another day in the life of a queen bee.
Written by Sybil Shearin
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