Queens are also females. They have the capacity to mate and lay fertilized eggs. Usually each colony has a single queen. However, under certain conditions colonies may have more than one queen. A few commercial beekeepers intentionally manipulate beehives so they can maintain a two-queen colony that is sometimes more productive than a single-queen colony. Queens live for as long as five years but most commercial beekeepers replace them every two years. The queen is the egg-laying female of the colony. The maximum number of eggs a queen lays varies throughout the season. It is estimated that a good queen can lay 1500 to 2000 eggs a day. A colony will produce new queens if its queen becomes a drone layer (depletes her stored sperm) or is injured or if the colony is about to swarm. New queens have to be raised in specially constructed cells. The work ers feed the developing larva in such a way that a queen, rather than a worker, is produced.
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