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The queen is the founder and center of every colony. Koppert selects only queens of the highest quality to start new colonies. This level of quality ensures their resistance to stress and their ability to lay high numbers of eggs over a long period. Eggs turn into hungry larvae; the driver (engine of the hive) for the workers to collect pollen. This is much more important than simply having a box with a lot of bumblebees and little or no larvae to feed.
Cycle of a new queen
Koppert produces queens by copying the natural cycle under the best possible conditions, making sure that they get the best food/care, each and every time.
The cycle briefly summarized is as follows:
- Bumblebee queens hibernate alone without a colony.
- After hibernation, the queen starts laying eggs which turn into larvae.
- The queen, and later workers , from an earlier generation feed the larvae with pollen and if available nectar.
- Worker bees fly out and collect, nectar and pollen.
- The colony will grow rapidly and start producing young queens followed by males.
- Young queens will fly out, mate and go into hibernation.
- In the meantime the founder colony will die. In 3-5 weeks after all remaining individuals will die.
Here you can find a film about a Koppert bumblebee queen.