Queen honeybees live for up to seven years and can lay more than 1500 eggs a day, which equates to more than their body weight. Rather than working, like the vast majority of colony members, queens spend their lives devoted to laying eggs while other bees serve them. Instead of pollen and honey, the queen is fed royal jelly, which workers secrete from glands in their heads. When a queen grows old, a colony will select a new one, but in some colonies there may be multiple new queens, who have to fight each other to the death. The survivor will fly to a drone congregation area and mate with around a dozen drones, storing up to 6 million sperm in her body.
There might be anything from 10,000 to well over 60,000 honey bees in a single colony. In many ways, the hive operates as a single organism. The majority of the members are female worker bees, who are frequently the same queen bee's offspring. Even though numerous queen bees will hatch at once, the colony can only have one queen bee as its leader. Colony and hive are the same. Only eggs that have been fed royal jelly, a protein-rich fluid from glands on the heads of immature bees, will hatch into queens. When only one queen is left, the newly hatched queens "battle 'til death."
Laying eggs is the queen bee's only responsibility. A queen only partners once in her lifetime and at a young age. She stores enough sperm from the 10 to 15 drones that mate with her during her mating flight to enable her to lay millions of eggs over the course of her lifetime.
Although a queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day during active seasons, the weather and the availability of food have a significant impact on the rate and quantity of egg production. Future queen bees or female workers are produced from the queen's fertilized eggs. Drones are male honeybees that develop from the queen's unfertilized eggs. Her needs are met by all bees.