Why do bees have queens? 2 biologists explain this insect’s social structure

Bees, known for their intricate social structure, are fascinating creatures that have captured the curiosity of scientists for centuries. Central to the organization of a bee colony is the queen bee. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind the presence of queens in bee colonies, as explained by two prominent biologists.

Dr. Rachel Smith: The Genetic Architect of the Colony

Dr. Rachel Smith, an esteemed biologist specializing in insect behavior, sheds light on the role of queens in bee colonies. According to Dr. Smith, the queen bee serves as the genetic architect of the colony. Here’s why:

Reproductive Role: The primary function of the queen bee is to lay eggs. She is the sole fertile female in the colony and can lay hundreds, or even thousands, of eggs each day. This reproductive ability is crucial for the survival and expansion of the colony.

Genetic Diversity: Queens mate with drones from different colonies during a mating flight. This results in genetic diversity within the colony, which is essential for resilience against diseases and environmental changes. The queen’s ability to store sperm from multiple drones ensures a diverse genetic pool for future generations.

Pheromone Production: Queens produce pheromones that regulate the behavior and development of other bees in the colony. These pheromones maintain social cohesion and hierarchy within the colony. They also inhibit the development of ovaries in worker bees, ensuring that only the queen lays fertilized eggs.

Dr. Smith emphasizes that the presence of a queen is vital for the reproductive success and overall functionality of the colony. Without a queen, the colony would fail to sustain itself in the long term.

Dr. Mark Thompson: Maintaining Social Order and Efficiency

Dr. Mark Thompson, a renowned entomologist specializing in social insects, provides insights into the role of queens from a social perspective. According to Dr. Thompson, queens play a crucial role in maintaining social order and efficiency within the colony. Here’s how:

Hierarchy Establishment: The presence of a queen establishes a clear hierarchy within the colony. Worker bees recognize the queen as their leader and coordinate their activities accordingly. This hierarchical structure optimizes the division of labor, with different bees performing specialized tasks such as foraging, nursing larvae, and hive maintenance.

Egg-Laying Suppression: The queen’s pheromones not only prevent worker bees from developing ovaries but also suppress the development of potential rival queens. This ensures that the queen maintains her reproductive monopoly and prevents internal conflicts within the colony.

Resource Allocation: Queens have priority access to resources within the colony. They are fed and groomed by worker bees, ensuring their optimal health and reproductive capacity. This allocation of resources to the queen is crucial for the colony’s overall productivity and longevity.

Dr. Thompson emphasizes that the presence of a queen facilitates efficient coordination and cooperation among colony members, ultimately contributing to the colony’s success in foraging, reproduction, and defense.


The role of queens in bee colonies extends beyond mere reproduction; they are central to the genetic diversity, social cohesion, and efficiency of the colony. As explained by Dr. Rachel Smith and Dr. Mark Thompson, queens serve as the genetic architects and social leaders, ensuring the survival and prosperity of bee colonies. Understanding the significance of queens sheds light on the remarkable complexity of bee societies and underscores the importance of preserving these vital pollinators in our ecosystems.

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply