Many insect species in the orders Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps) and Isoptera (termites) exhibit a behavior known as Eusociality
. This behavioral structure involves a singular "queen" whose purpose is to lay eggs. The other members of the queen's colony have the purpose of mating with her, tending to her, or protecting her.
Writers of fiction pick up on this and often associate insects with queens or vice versa. She is generally accompanied by a swarm of other insects, generally bee-like, and having hordes of insects at her command, sometimes used as Weaponized Offspring
. She is depicted as bigger and more physically powerful
than her minions. Because she has many minions, she's almost always a villainess.
A common fixture of the Hive Caste System
. Subtrope of Monster Lord
. Frequently overlaps, but is not to be confused, with Hive Queen (which is the controlling core in a unified network mind).
Anime and Manga
Films — Animation
- The various villainesses bearing the name "Queen Bee" from The DCU. A few of them have been aliens who lead invading swarms of insects.
- In the Silver Age, Superman character Lana Lang sometimes gained insect attributes to become a heroine aptly known as "Insect Queen." In a nod to this, there was a Modern Age villain known as Insect Queen, ruler of an imperial group of insects called the All-Hive (not remarkably different from the alien incarnations of Queen Bee) who reshaped her body to be like Lana.
Films — Live Action
- In A Bug's Life, there is the Queen of the Ants and later her daughter Princess Atta who is given the crown at the end.
- Antz has the Queen who is both royalty and the literal mother of the colony.
- The Ant Bully has the Queen, who is huge and has a very different design from the regular ants. Although she's barely seen, she seems to be venerated and almost worshipped by the rest of the colony.
- The xenomorphs of the Alien series have a queen as the center of their hive. Though normally stationary, she is the biggest, strongest, and smartest member of her species.
- Classic The Outer Limits episode "ZZZZZ". A giant mutant queen bee takes human form so she can mate with a human male. She can control her fellow bees and make them attack people, such as the wife of the man she wants to seduce.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The drow deity Lolth can take the form of a giant spider. She has complete command over all types of spiders and usually has a variety of spiders and spider-like beings attending her.
- Module WG7 Castle Greyhawk, level 7 "Queen of the Honeybee Hive". The Big Bad of the level is Aunt Bee. She was originally a human being, but was turned into a giant queen bee by her addiction to royal jelly. She rules over all of the bee (and bee-like) monsters in the level.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! has a card named "Insect Queen." She has to eat her subjects before she can attack.
- The Empress Bulblax from Pikmin is based on queen termites. She is a large, bloated Bulborb that attacks by rolling about and releasing Bulborb Larvae to devour your Pikmin.
- The Pokémon Vespiquen. She only evolves from female Combee, and has signature moves that involve ordering other Combee to attack, defend, or heal her.
- Queen Sectonia from Kirby Triple Deluxe is a giant wasp who wears classical royal attire and leads the Sectras in an invasion of the sky kingdom of Floralia.
- Q. Bee from Darkstalkers is the queen of the Soul Bees; monsters that imitate the appearance of humans then prey on their souls.
- From Earthworm Jim and its respective cartoon, there is Queen Pulsating Bloated Festering Sweaty Pus-Filled Malformed Slug-for-a-Butt, who's a queen termite with a very squicky self-explanatory name.
- In Sword of the Stars, the Hivers have a Hive Caste System with similarities to feudalism, with one Queen and several Princesses. The Princesses birth clans of workers, warriors, and Princes who fill command roles and are exchanged between clans for alliances, while the Queen is the only one who can make new Princesses. When she dies, her daughters fight amongst themselves for the right to eat her ovaries and become the next Queen.
- The boss of Ant Land in Chameleon Twist is a Queen Ant that dresses in Victorian-era fashion. She attacks by laying ants from her giant abdomen that the player has to eat and spit out at her. Makes As Much Sense In Context.
- Super Mario Galaxy: Queen Bee or the Honey Queen is the queen of all bees in the universe, and dresses in appropriate regalia. She's also playable in Mario Kart 7, where she is decidedly smaller. She's probably the only King Mook (or King NPC) in the Marioverse that's female, as opposed to King Bob-omb, King Goomba, et al.
- The Gohmas of The Legend of Zelda are generally portrayed this way (mostly as an Arachnid Queen, but fits nonetheless). They appear as bosses of the dungeon in which their offspring appear as enemies, and they often release their offspring as a Flunky Boss.
- Terraria: The Queen Bee. A giant bee boss that shoots out smaller bees which attack you until you kill them.
- Amorphous: If you're (un)lucky, you'll fight one near the end of a nest. The idea of the Insect Queen is actually played with in-game. The descriptions for the Queen admit that it is not certain whether she really does control the hive, or whether the Gloople swarm has no true ruler and the Insect Queen is just another member of it, albeit a very powerful one. There is a step above the normal Insect Queen, too...
- Queen B., queen of the Zingers, from Donkey Kong Country. The sequel introduced her apparent mate, King Zing, boss of an area full of Hornet Holes.
- The Nerubians of Warcraft III play with this trope, being weird combination of arachnids and insects. The nerubians are mostly spider-themed, but with a social structure more or less based on social insects, with their most powerful units called Queens. In the campaign, they are often found alongside massive clutches of spiderling eggs (although one unit splits into two lesser Nerubians on death, justified as it carrying its young into battle). The social aspect is further removed when the expansion shows that they also have kings, who are a mishmash of beetle and praying mantis that apparently carry locusts in their carapaces.
- Queen Chrysalis of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic draws similarities to this, being the Queen of the Changelings, an insectoid/equinoid species who imitate other ponies and feed on their love. Her goal is to conquer Equestria and use the land and its inhabitants as a virtually infinite food source for her subjects. However, it is not explicitly stated in canon that the changelings are of an eusociality or the changelings are her children, particularly given the, albeit Gothic, more pony-like appearance of the Changeling Kingdom in the IDW comic series.
- The Magic School Bus. In one episode the class gets shrunk down and go into an ant hill so Keesha can make a movie about them. She's fixated on having the queen as her star, seeming to think of queens as we know them, and is disappointed when when she turns our to be just a giant ant who lays eggs.
- Queenie is a cartoon queen bee of a happy hive in the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Risky Beesness." Her subjects are drawn away by the hypnotic music of Irwina Allen, an entomologist who would turn the worker bees into her personal mindless minions. Queenie rules her hive by consensus, fulfilling this trope, while Irwina is a usurper befitting the Hive Queen trope.
- The Color Classics cartoon "Ants In The Plants" from 1940 has a queen ant with cape and crown, first seen teaching her soldier ants to beware of the ant-eater, and later acts as Distressed Damsel for the diminutive Big Damn Heroes to rescue.