Fickle Finger of Fate

The Science: Honey bees are social insects.  This means that they divide up the tasks of life between different “castes”.  Each honey bee colony has two castes of female bees, the workers and the queen.  When a fertilized egg is laid and hatches into a larva, it can develop into a worker OR a queen depending on what the other worker bees feed it.  If the larva is fed royal jelly, a delicious mixture of hormones, vitamins and growth factors, it will develop into a queen.  The queen is the only bee (out of ~50,000 bees!) that reproduces and lays eggs.  Worker larvae are fed royal jelly for a couple days but then are fed “bee bread”, a mixture of honey and pollen.  This diet causes certain genes to be turned on and others to be turned off and the workers don’t grow to be as large as the queen.  They also don’t mate, so they can never lay fertilized eggs!  Workers, as their name suggests, work their entire life to make a nest and secure food for their sisters and their sister’s children.  This song is about a worker bee and her sister, the queen.


The Lyrics:

I am a worker bee/ I love my family

I fly and forage/ the whole day through/ but there is one thing/ I’ll never do

I’ll never do-ooh-ooh


I see my sister fly/ into the open sky

She goes and looks for love/ and finds a mate/ but when it comes to love/ I’ll have to wait

and wait, and wait (like, forever!)


But I will sacrifice myself (3X)

I’ll sacrifice for you.  I will sacrifice for you.


When sis and I were laid/ They said we were the same

They fed me bread/ to fill my belly/ but to my sister/ they fed royal jelly


My sis grew long and tall/ but me I hit the wall

And now there is no need for me to ovulate/ Our paths were sealed by the fickle finger of fate!


But I will sacrifice myself (3X)

I’ll sacrifice for you.  I will sacrifice for you.