Queen Honey Bee
The queen honey bee is the only reproductive female in the colony. There are thousands of female workers in the hive.
But, only a queen can mate with drones (males) and lay fertilized eggs. Fertilized eggs develop into worker bees. They are needed to maintain the colony as they do all the work.
What if something happens to the queen? A honey bee colony can produce a new queen bee from fertilized eggs or very young bee larvae.
Large queen cells are built and a new colony mother is in the works.
Sometimes, the beekeeper will provide a new queen bee for a hive. Perhaps they do not want to wait for the bees to make a queen.
Buying a queen for a colony is also a way to introduce new genetics into the apiary.
It is common for beekeepers to practice small scale queen rearing. This provides extra queen bees for their own use, to share with beekeeper friends or sell for extra income.