Just like Kris Kardashian, bees play favorites with their daughters. A new study reveals that queen bees utilize parental manipulation to "choose" the role their daughters will play in life, determining whether they will become worker bees or the new queen bees.
For the study—which was conducted at the University of Lausanne and published in Frontiers in Zoology—researchers observed the sweat bee Halictus scabiosae for two years. This particular kind of bee has a hierarchical society between queens, males, and workers. After surviving the winter, the queen bees will set up their nests for spring. Their first set of offspring are "smaller bodied female workers," which are charged with helping queen raise the next set of offspring, which are larger females. (First brood males, however, were not necessarily smaller than the second brood.)
What researchers found was the queen bees restrict the amount of food they give to their first brood daughters, to produce smaller female bees who can be workers that are easier to dominate. They feed their second brood of daughters 1.4 times as much as the first, in effect, "choosing" that these will be the next generation of queen bees.
What it is to be a queen bee? [Eurkalert]