Insect Queen

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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 only or primary 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 often 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).


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga 

     Comic Books 

  • 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 — Animated 

  • 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.

     Film — Live Action 

  • 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.

     Literature 

  • The Hive Queen in Orson Scott Card's Enderverse is both this and, well, a Hive Queen. She is both the telepathic center of her species' Hive Mind and its sole breeding female.
  • Rogue Queen by L. Sprague de Camp. Bit of subversion included as Iroedh is initially a worker, and when she sides up with her Terranian friends, she eats their food, and the meat turns her into a full-fledged queen. Which comes very handy in the showdown. (BTW, her race is humanoid and the insect stuff purely social.)

     Live-Action TV 

  • The Outer Limits (1963) 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.

     Other Sites 

     Tabletop Games 

     Video Games 

  • 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 Evil Queen Pulsating Bloated Festering Sweaty Pus-Filled Malformed Slug-for-a-Butt (Or Queen Slug-for-a-Butt for short), 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. Twilight Princess also has Twilit Bloat, queen of the Shadow Insects.
  • 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.
  • Princess Apoidea from Nefarious fits the bill, despite only being a queen in training.
  • D'Vorah in Mortal Kombat X, who can command all manner of creepies (like slugs and bees). She herself is part insect, as her compound eyes can attest to, and she keeps her bugs inside her stomach cavity.
  • The demonesses that make contracts with the Umbra Witches from the Bayonetta series invoke this trope. Bayonetta is contracted to Madama Butterfly, a massive butterfly woman, while Jeanne is contracted to Madama Styx, a massive moth woman who is even described as being the Queen of the River Styx. In Bayonetta 2 Rosa has her own demoness she is bound too, a massive scarab woman named Madama Khepri who is said to be a Goddess in Inferno with dominion over time and the sun.
  • The video game Anthill naturally has the ants' queen appear.
  • Rumor Honeybottoms from Cuphead is a huge queen bee that fights you inside a honeycomb/office building hybrid that is constantly filling with honey. In her first phase she sends a bee policeman after you, but afterwards she'll show she's very addept at magic spells.

     Web Comic 

  • Fanatical cryptid hunter Stefanie Kane is kidnapped by the moth men in the final arc of Paranormal Mystery Squad. By the time her younger sister Katie finds her she's been transformed into their new queen and is enthusiastically "giving her all" to repopulate the species.
  • Averted in Kevin & Kell: there's Cassiopeia, queen of the bee colony across the street from Lindesfarne and Fenton. However, she says the drones aren't her children and 'queen' in this context is more like 'fraternity house mother'. (For bonus points, they live right near an university.) She's also not really any different in size or shape to the drones, the main difference being she has a bigger neck ruff. She's also not a villain: the worst she and her colony have done was keep the nocturnal Lindesfarne and Fenton awake with their buzzing, and once they knew, they agreed to keep it down.

     Western Animation 

  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Queen Chrysalis has 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.
    • In "A Health of Information", the flash bee hive seems to be ruled by a queen that is visibly larger than the male workers. While the queen is not seen commanding or ordering the other bees about, she is shown wearing a crown, as well as standing on a raised, throne-like dais in the center of the hive.
  • The Magic School Bus: In one episode the class gets shrunk down and enters 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.
  • A villanious example is the evil Bug Queen in Men in Black. We see several queens in the show and all of them are monsters. They colonize other worlds just by breeding thousands of bugs and extinguish the natives.

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