Do honeybee queens sometimes quack?
Yes, Queen bees can and so make quacking sounds in the hive. I
have a next under my office shed and it has been driving me mad
looking for the source of this quacking sound. After seeing several
honey bees flying underneath I did some research and indeed found
that they do quack. Bizarre but definitely true.
Piping describes a noise made by virgin and mated queen bees during
certain times of the virgin queens' development. Fully developed
virgin queens communicate through vibratory signals: "quacking"
from virgin queens in their queen cells and "tooting" from queens
free in the colony, collectively known as piping. A virgin queen
may frequently pipe before she emerges from her cell and for a
brief time afterwards. Mated queens may briefly pipe after being
released in a hive.
Piping is most common when there is more than one queen in a
hive. It is postulated that the piping is a form of battle cry
announcing to competing queens and the workers their willingness to
fight. It may also be a signal to the worker bees which queen is
the most worthwhile to support.
The piping sound is a G♯ or A♮. The adult queen pipes for a
two-second pulse followed by a series of quarter-second toots.
The queens of Africanized bees produce more vigorous and frequent
bouts of piping.