Scientists in the UK are working to find out more about the behaviour of bee colonies after recording bizarre noises made by the queen bee.
By using vibration detecting devices in the honeycomb, scientists recorded two distinct noises, a toot and a quack.
The tooting noise was the queen moving around the colony announcing her presence to the workers. While the responding quacks were from other queens that were wax sealed inside their special cells but were ready to emerge.
Dr Martin Bencsik of Nottingham Trent University says it also is warning beekeepers to be careful when they inspect the colonies.
“This tooting and quacking is telling them not to disrupt the sophisticated mechanism that is taking place at that very special time in the year for the colony of honey bees."
The life of a queen bee depends on the workers response to those signals. They’ll keep all the captive queens sealed away until an existing one has left the swarm.
But, if two queens are released at the same time, they’ll fight to the death.