How A Bee Colony Self-Destructs

A bee colony lasts, intact, for about one year. And what happens to radically dismantle said colony after it reaches a certain size threshold can be said to be truly Apocalyptic in nature.

According to a study published by Royal Society Open Science, the destructive “trigger” is in the beeswax.

First, let’s look at a normal, stable bee colony. The queen bee lays eggs, the female bees harmoniously work to maintain the hive, and the male bees leave shortly after hatching. So we have a sex-segregated society where, other than the Queen, no female lays eggs or expresses any sexuality. And it works like a charm.


When the hive reaches a certain number of bees, chaos starts to set in. Changes in the chemical composition in the wax make the bees go bat-shit insane—having the forbidden sex, laying the forbidden eggs, and even tearing apart the eggs of the Queen bee.

How does the wax “know” it’s time to change its chemicals to the Crazy Stuff? I guess it has to be some mass “bee thing” where they “know” the population has become too unwieldy and that it’s time for the individual members to die or move on to other colonies.

Now imagine if human society had an invisible “trigger” like that.