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Long Live the Queen

“Long Live the Queen”

self-portrait May 2024

Fun fact- I am a beekeeper. I haven’t had bees since getting pregnant with my youngest daughter but bees, honey bees specifically, have to be some of the most fascinating creatures. Their whole hive is a finely tuned machine, everyone has their job and they do it efficiently. 

In a beehive the queen does not rule, she is a slave to her community. She cannot survive without her attending worker bees that feed and groom her, she needs constant attention and a special diet. Her job is to populate the hive, if this is not done in a manner that the hive deems acceptable she will be overthrown.

A queen usually meets her end one of two ways: her replacement (her daughter), or the hive as a collective. After the replacement queen is born and mated she will return to the hive and kill the current queen by stinging her, or the hive will sometimes take action by surrounding the old queen, biting, stinging, and vibrating their wings. This essentially raises the queen’s temperature slowly killing her. 

In the end the only thing the queen has control over is laying the eggs that populate the hive. The very same hive that may eventually decide she is inadequate. 

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