Well, as I sit here with babes and an IPad I have been researching these interesting insects.
I find it fascinating that there is just one fertile female in the hive. She is the only one with properly developed ovaries. She gets fed royal jelly the whole time while the other larvae only get it for the first two days of their lives. I think it’s not unlike the colostrum “liquid gold” that human babies get the first few days of their existence.
The point is, doesn’t this seem a bit unfair? If you are female you are probably going to be a worker bee. If you are chosen to be a queen bee it is rather like winning the lotto – highly unlikely. You are destined to be a worker defending this queen with your life. That’s right, folks. If a worker bee stings you in defense of the hive, she dies.
The worker’s fate isn’t much better than the drones, the few male bees who are there purely for their reproductive function. The queen bee gets to mate with many of these. Oh, and after they mate, they die. If they escaped the deadly intercourse, they get expelled in the autumn.
The queen bee produces 2000 eggs a day and is fertile for life.
Are any other infertiles feeling a bit angry with this bee? She gets to stay home, make babies while everyone else works hard around her. I guess it feels normal for the bees….
Although, in a sense, I do feel a bit like a queen bee at the moment. Sitting at home caring for my baby while everyone else works around me. I did spend years being a worker bee. Now I’m really enjoying being the queen bee.
If you’re wondering how important the queen is, just ask the bee people. To get rid of bees on our property, they take away the queen. This leaves a lot of confused bees without a purpose. You should have seen them all out and about today. I had no idea there were so many. Eventually I witnessed a whole swarm move upwards across our backyard. In search of another queen.
I think bees can tell us a lot about ourselves. Do men live for sex? Do women work too hard?
One thing’s for sure. The propagation of the species is better when moms are supported by society. Although human women are not fertile for life, for that brief moment when we achieve motherhood, whether or not that requires medical intervention, we want to cherish it.
So thanks, Dearest Hubby, and my Dearest parents for supporting me staying at home. I know you’re working long and hard for your family. You don’t know how much I appreciate it.
PS: Interesting article on bees and fertility here.