Feed me, feed me, feed me!

Video Published by Alice Hinman · July 18 at 8:59 AM · 

Feed me, feed me, feed me. I feel ya, little sisters. Honeybee workers beg and offer liquid food from and to each other. You can imagine how this would also rapidly spread contaminants and poisons throughout the hive causing its almost immediate demise. This process of food sharing is called tropholaxis and is not only a way to communicate information about food and water resources but also helps spread queen substance or queen mandibular pheromone throughout the colony. It is the strong presence of this scent that guarantees colony cohesion and assures the queen’s reproductive dominance. This pheromone prevents the ovaries of the workers from developing. If the queen were aging or ailing, her substance would be diminished and the workers would begin raising supercedure queens to replace her. If she were suddenly killed or removed from the hive the absence of her scent would be realized within hours and an emergency queen would be raised. The workers can choose to make any fertilized egg a queen but are still very selective with their choices, considering patrilineal and nutritional qualities. Queens are the only bees raised vertically. Workers chew the bottom of the hexagonal worker cells and feed the newly fated queens their special diet of royal jelly. In the case of an emergency queen, the sooner she can be chosen and appropriately fed while in her early larval development, the better the queen. Often supercedure queens will be replaced with a more deliberate choice in short order. Collective intelligence. For the good of the hive.