Hierarchy in the Hive

Welcome to the official blog of the Urban Beekeeping Laboratory & Bee Sanctuary, your ultimate source of all bee related information.  Considering this is the first blog post, we would like to start from the top.  The hierarchy of the honey bee hive is immensely important to the way a hive functions as a whole.  We hope to shed a little light on the way honey bees work as eusocial insects.

Honey bee hives are vastly complicated and multifaceted.  There is an internal structure in the hive that drives the way all of the bees interact.  It is a hierarchy.  Not all of the bees carry the same responsibility.  There area three main types of bees: queens, workers and drones.

The queen is the linchpin to the honey bee hive.  There is only one queen in a hive.  Humans have been beekeeping for almost as long as they have been farming, however, “queen” is a relatively new term to beekeepers.  This is not because beekeepers were unable to find such an important individual inside hives.  On the contrary, beekeepers have always known the importance of that singular bee in charge.  However, these beekeepers would call this bee the king.  Throughout much of beekeeping history it was unknown that honey bees lived in a female dominated society.  Once beekeepers learned that the singular bee who controlled all the other bees was in fact female, the term queen bee started to be used.

During our next blog post we will delve deeper into these female dominated societies and we will talk about those bees who operate under the queen—the workers and drones.

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