A honey bee hive contains mostly female worker bees, a few male drones and a single queen (pictured here). The role of the queen bee is reproduction—she can lay as many as 1,500 eggs per day in the spring when the hive needs to rapidly increase its numbers. Unlike single human mothers, the queen’s every need is provided for by designated worker bees who give her food and even dispose of her waste. Honey bees have thrived for over 10 million years, although they are now threatened by colony collapse disorder, thought to be caused by a combination of a parasitic mite that sucks their blood, pesticides, disease and habitat loss.
Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 14th.
This queen bee was from a research colony at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and she was photographed alive using the "white box" technique.