There is normally only one queen in a colony.She is basically an egg laying machine and can lay more than 1,500 eggs per day during the peak brood rearing season of spring and summer.
She is also the largest member of the colony having a long body and tapered abdomen well designed for backing in to the hexagonal brood cells to lay her eggs.Her abdomen will decrease in size, a little, when the flush of egg-laying is over for the season, and when she ceases to lay over winter. Her tongue is shorter than that of the worker bee and her sting is not barbed.
Since the queen mates outside the hive during flight with a number of drones, her female progeny will consist of several sub-families who have different father drones but the same mother queen.
In nature, queens may live up to five or more years. However, at any time, the colony may rear a new queen to replace one that is declining in egg-laying capability. Most queens in managed hives are generally replaced after two years by the beekeeper because peak egg-laying diminishes after that age. Some beekeepers requeen their colonies annually.
Average developmental period of the honey bee worker, queen and drone.
Wooden Nuc Box