Introducing Kiril Marinov from Bulgaria, beekeeper since 2005, talking about Bee Queen’s Protective Reflex. He believes that this special queen behavior is important to be known by beekeepers because many queen bees are killed meaningless due to ignorance of the phenomenon.
“I have been a beekeeper since 2005. By 2014, I had 150 bee families and I was involved in the production of queens and swarms, semi-professionally, in addition to my main occupation – an automation and mechanics engineer.
In the same 2014, I signed contracts for the production of 300 bee swarms, so I had to produce 300 queens, respectively. I was able to handle this difficult task alone.
During the production process, I encountered a strange behavior of bee queens (6 of them, not all of them).
It is most likely an unconditional reflex (or an instinct acquired over the millennia, to be examined and proved.). I call it the Bee Queen’s Protective Reflex
On a nice sunny day, I had to mark another group of queens with the color of the year.
Everything was going fine, but a rather fast and stubborn queen put me in difficulty.
I managed to mark it and released the pressure and, to my surprise, queen stopped moving!
I called a known queen producer to ask him, what is it? Has he encountered such a phenomenon?
He told me – Yes! The queen is dead, just tear her head and throw it away.
But since I was curious as a child, I thought: I will easily tear her head off, but I certainly will not be able to put it back in place! Something was telling me that there was more to come in this event! I decided that it was impossible for the queen to die from the slight pressure.
I carefully placed the queen at the bottom of the hive where the bees surrounded her and started licking her. And the miracle happened. After a few minutes the queen moved. I closed the hive and proceeded to the next marking.
The next day I opened the hive and saw that the queen was laying eggs, as if nothing had happened!
The same year the same incident happened 5 more times with other queens!
I suppose paralysis is intended to mislead the attacker (the bird that caught her during the marriage flight) by pretending to be dead or really fainting like other animals from stress – these are just guesswork. We will certainly get answers to this many other questions in time!”