Queen egg laying

Honey bee queen egg laying

Honey bee queen during egg laying. See also worker egg laying.

Age of the first oviposition (onset of oviposition) of naturally mated queens (mean±SE) is 10.6±0.1 days and it ranges from 4 to 22 days [1] see also [2]. Distribution of those values is positively skewed [3]. Normally the queen starts egg laying soon after mating. If the mating is delayed because of unfavourable weather [1] or lack of drones the onset of oviposition is delayed as well. Therefore, there can be large differences in onset of oviposition between geographic locations, years and months of the year. Heavier queens tend to start oviposition earlier [4][5] but see [1].
Queens instrumentally inseminated at age of 8 days start oviposition 9.1±4.1 days (mean±SD) later [3]. Onset of oviposition of instrumentaly inseminated queens can depend on month of the year [6][7], weather [8], carbon dioxide treatment [9], method of instrumental insemination [10][11], method of storage of queens after instrumental insemination [12][13][14][15][16].
The maximum queen egg laying rate averaged among many studies was 1865.1±495.6 eggs per day (mean±SD) [17].


  1. Szabo T.I., Mills P.F., Heikel D.T. (1987) Effects of honeybee queen weight and air temperature on the initiation of oviposition. Journal of Apicultural Research 26:73–78.
  2. Crane E.E. (1949) The age at which young queens (Apis mellifera) begin to lay. Bee World 30:15–19.
  3. Woyke J., Jasiński Z., Prabucki J., Wilde J., Chuda-Mickiewicz B., Siuda M., Madras-Majewska B., Samborski J., Bratkowski J., Jojczyk A. (2008) Onset of oviposition by honey bee queens, mated either naturally or by various instrumental insemination methods, fits a lognormal distribution. J. Apis. Res 47:1–9.
  4. Taranov G.F. (1973) Weight of queens and their quality [in Russian]. Pchelovodsto 92:27–29.
  5. Eid M.A.A., Eweis M.A., Nasr M.S. (1980) Biological significance of the weight of newly emerged honeybee queens and weight changes during the pre-oviposition period. Bulletin of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Cairo 29:137–169.
  6. Moritz R.F.A., Kühnert M. (1984) Seasonal effects on artificial insemination of honeybee queens (Apis mellifera L.). Apidologie 15:223–231.
  7. Prabucki J., Jasinski Z., Chuda-Mickiewicz B. (1987) The results of mass insemination of bee queen inseminated onefold and twofold and stocked in different ways., Apimondia Congress, Warsaw, Poland, pp. 169–174.
  8. Skowronek W., Kruk C., Klopot J. (2002) Factors affecting oviposition of artificially inseminated honey bee queens. J. Apic. Sci. 46:85–95.
  9. Mackensen O. (1947) Effect of carbon dioxide on initial oviposition of artificially inseminated and virgin queen bees. Journal of Economic Entomology 40:344-349.
  10. Moritz R.F.A. (1984) The effect of different diluents on insemination success in the honeybee using mixed semen. J. Apic. Res. 23:164-167.
  11. Woyke J., Fliszkiewicz C., Jasinski Z. (2001) Prevention of natural mating of instrumentally inseminated queen honeybees by proper method of instrumental insemination. Journal of Apicultural Science 45:101–114.
  12. Woyke J. (1990) Effect of the number of attendant worker bees on the initiation of egg laying by instrumentally inseminated queens kept in small nuclei. Journal of Apicultural Research 29:101–106.
  13. Chuda-Mickiewicz B., Prabucki J. (1993) Oviposition undertaking by honey bee queens kept in nursery cages with free flying bees [in Polish]. Pszczelnicze Zeszyty Naukowe 37:23-31.
  14. Wilde J. (1994) Effect of the method of keeping honey bee queens before and after insemination on the results. Acta Academiae Agriculturae ac Technicae Olstenensis Zootechnica 39:153-166.
  15. Chuda-Mickiewicz B., Prabucki J., Samborski J. (2003) Onset of oviposition in honey bee queens kept in boxes with non-free flying bees. Journal of Apicultural Science 47:27-30.
  16. Siuda M., Wilde J. (2003) Period of waiting for start of oviposition by honey bee queens kept in different conditions before and after insemination [in Polish]. Annales Universitas Mariae Curie-Sklodowska, Zootechnica 64:79-86.
  17. Ohtani T. (1994) Behaviors of adult queen honeybees within observation hives. I. Behavior patterns. Humans and Nature 3:37-77.