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The Process Of Rearing The Queen More Particularly Described

If in the early part of the season, the population of a hive becomes

uncomfortably crowded, the bees usually make preparations for swarming.

A number of royal cells are commenced, and they are placed almost always

upon those edges of the combs which are not attached to the sides of the

hive. These cells somewhat resemble a small ground-nut or pea-nut, and

are about an inch deep, and one-third of an inch in diameter: they are
br /> very thick, and require a large quantity of material for their

construction. They are seldom seen in a perfect state, as the bees

nibble them away after the queen has hatched, leaving only their

remains, in the shape of a very small acorn-cup. While the other cells

open sideways, these always hang with their mouth _downwards_. Much

speculation has arisen as to the reason for this deviation: some have

conjectured that their peculiar position exerted an influence upon the

development of the royal larvae; while others, having ascertained that no

injurious effect was produced by turning them upwards, or placing them

in any other position, have considered this deviation as among the

inscrutable mysteries of the bee-hive. So it always seemed to me, until

more careful reflection enabled me to solve the problem. The queen cells

open downwards, simply _to save room_! The distance between the parallel

ranges of comb being usually less than half an inch, the bees could not

have made the royal cells to open sideways, without sacrificing the

cells opposite to them. In order to economize space, to the very utmost,

they put them upon the unoccupied edges of the comb, as the only place

where there is always plenty of room for such very large cells.

The number of royal cells varies greatly; sometimes there are only two

or three, ordinarily there are five or six, and I have occasionally seen

more than a dozen. They are not all commenced at once, for the bees do

not intend that the young queens shall all arrive at maturity, at the

same time. I do not consider it as fully settled, how the eggs are

deposited in these cells. In some few instances, I have known the bees

to transfer the eggs from common to queen cells, and this _may_ be their

general method of procedure. I shall hazard the conjecture that the

queen deposits her eggs in cells on the edges of the comb, in a crowded

state of the hive, and that some of these are afterwards enlarged and

changed into royal cells by the workers. Such is the instinctive hatred

of the queen to her own kind, that it does not seem to me probable, that

she is intrusted with even the initiatory steps for securing a race of

successors. That the eggs from which the young queens are produced, are

of the same kind with those producing workers, has been repeatedly

demonstrated. On examining the queen cells while they are in progress,

one of the first things which excites our notice, is the very unusual

amount of attention bestowed upon them by the workers. There is scarcely

a second in which a bee is not peeping into them, and just as fast as

one is satisfied, another pops its head in, to examine if not to report,

progress. The importance of their inmates to the bee-community, might

easily be inferred from their being the center of so much attraction.