Queen confinement

Workers can prevent the emergence of a queen by sealing with wax the cuts made by her in the queen cell wall [1][2][3] or by pressing their head against cap of the cell [4]. This behaviour is called queen confinement or queen imprisonment. The confinement occurs during swarming when there is congestion in the nest [5]. It prevents queen fighting and allows afterswarms to be produced. During confinement the queen is fed by workers through slits in the tip of the cell [5]. There is no nepotism during feeding of the confined queens [6].

When queen cells are attended by workers emergence of queens can be delayed for more than two days by tooting sound [2][3] but see [7][8]. Duration of queen confinement is not affected by vibration signal [3].

References