The big picture

close up van bijen
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Bee society

Social honeybees choose their own queen. From a contingent of potential and reserve queens, they pick the one that smells the strongest and the healthiest.

The entire population works together to survive. If foraging bees find a source of nectar and pollen, they fetch their sisters to forage. When they get back to the hive, they all make honey by transferring the booty from mouth to mouth. The queen also gets involved and always adds a little queen’s nectar. The unique taste of this nectar tells every bee that ‘our queen is with us’.

In winter everyone stays inside, huddled closely together. The bees take it in turns to sit outside, and when they get cold others take their place. Inside the hive, where it is always 13°C, the queen waits until spring arrives and it is time to produce a new generation of bees.