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"Bees got no business getting that big."
Woodie, Don't Starve
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Many insect species in the orders Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps) and Isoptera (termites) exhibit a behavior known as Eusociality, a behavioral structure which 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. (Think of the colony as one big "superorganism," rather than a group of individual ants/bees/etc. The queen and the males that mate with her are the "genitals" of that "superorganism.")

Writers of fiction often pick up on the similarities between eusocial insects and human civilization, resulting in the "queens" being depicted as not only being baby factories responsible for birthing the entire colony, but also as matriarchs who rule over it to varying degrees. The "queen" in question may be bigger and much stronger or dangerous than the rest of her kin, and tends to be portrayed as being capable of commanding swarms of drones as her own personal minions and/or bodyguards in a similar manner to Hive Queens. This is Truth in Television to some extent (queens are bigger and can and do fight in at least some species, and also communicate with and "command" their children through pheromonal influences), but fiction tends to exaggerate it considerably.

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In works that feature Bee People or cartoonish depictions of eusocial insects, "queens" are almost always portrayed as literal queens, complete with royal attire and a court of loyal subjects; even if the colony is less like a human-like monarchy and more of a Horde of Alien Locusts, expect the queen to at least possess traits resembling regalia that indicate their authority, such as a biological "crown". If evil, expect the queen to act akin to an Evil Matriarch, with no qualms about siccing her Weaponized Offspring on her enemies since she can always make more.

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).


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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. In Supergirl storyline Death and the Family, Insect Queen takes over Lana and attempts to invade Metropolis with an army of giant insects.

     Fan Works 
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In chapter 16, Twilight and her friends learn that there are multiple changeling queens, some of whom make their debut in chapter 25; one is a recent promotion to the position, and Twilight volunteers to help another changeling by giving him the magic and love needed to fuel their metamorphosis into a full Queen. Or king, as it may be - it's Thorax from canon, making his debut in-story.
  • Subverted in the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal. Pessimal began with the canonical situation of the Republican Bees, a species who are threatened because they had a revolution and threw out the monarchy as an outmoded symbol of repression which was typical of the violence inherent in the system. The City Zoo, reponsible for the last known hive of a seriously extinction-threatened bee, thinks creatively about the situation. Witches are good with bees. And one Witch working in the city is not only a Rodinian. She also has the right mind-set to communicate with the bees. A session of Borrowing later, she has suggested to them that there should be a General Secretary for the Hive who will also double as Comrade Commissar for Egg-Laying and Larval Management. The Drones should be reformed as a Glorious Red-And-Black Army for hive defence. And...
    "I did it." she said later, to an anxious Davinia Bellamy. "I got them to build zocializzm. I led a revolution. There is now a zoviet zociaalizzt beehive. Reg Zhoe, you zhould zee thizzz! In your fazzze, Olga Romanoff!"

     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, and who interestingly seems to share her authority with the rest of the Council of Elders of whom she is a member, making her title institutional to a certain extent.
  • Antz has the Queen who is both royalty and the literal mother of new members of the colony like real ant queens, though unlike real ant queens her second-in-command is a male General and troop leader who has as many loyalists in the army as she has.
  • 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.)
  • The Cho-ja of Raymond Feist's Riftwar saga are insectoid beings larger than a human, allied with the Tsurani Empire. The Empire trilogy reveals that they are born in individual hives, ruled by queens.

     Live-Action TV 

  • In The Outer Limits (1963) episode "ZZZZZ". When an entomologist gives a hive human intelligence, the queen bee takes human form so she can mate with a human male, thus creating a race of Half-Human Hybrids who will Take Over the World. She can control her fellow bees and make them attack people, such as the wife of the man she wants to seduce.

     Other Sites 

  • In SCP Foundation, SCP-1702 ("The French Hive") is a hive of bee people under France, with a hive caste system. The Queen of SCP-1702 (SCP-1702-1) is highly intelligent, lays eggs that become the other members of the hive, and is killed by the sterile females (SCP-1702-3) if she becomes flawed in any way. Any female human being who happens to be inside SCP-1702 when this happens becomes the new Queen.

     Tabletop Games 

     Video Games 
  • Armorines Project SWARM: The Queen(s). Each stage usually contains a large one that apparently all the other bug-aliens respond to. The final level plays this one most seriously, with the whole series of levels being a giant insect hive in space.
  • Fallout: Despite being crustaceans, the enormous mirelurk queens fit most points of this trope. They appear to be where most horseshoe crab-type 'lurks come from, even being able to quickly eject barrages of hatchlings as a weapon and distraction, and are easily the largest and toughest members of the mirelurk species complex.
  • Pikmin: The Empress Bulblax is based on queen termites. She is a large, bloated Bulborb that attacks by rolling about and releasing Bulborb Larvae to devour your Pikmin.
  • Pokémon: Vespiquen. She only evolves from female Combee, and has signature moves that involve ordering other Combee to attack, defend, or heal her.
  • Kirby: Triple Deluxe: Queen Sectonia is a giant wasp who wears classical royal attire and leads the Sectras in an invasion of the sky kingdom of Floralia. It's strongly implied in subsequent games that she wasn't always a wasp and used to look like Taranza, not to mention that she was actually a good ruler until she became corrupted by the Dimension Mirror.
  • Darkstalkers: Q. Bee is the queen of the Soul Bees, monsters that imitate the appearance of humans then prey on their souls.
  • Earthworm Jim: Evil Queen Pulsating Bloated Festering Sweaty Pus-Filled Malformed Slug-for-a-Butt (Or Queen Slug-for-a-Butt for short), a queen termite with a very squicky self-explanatory name. Her absolute control and her subjects blind, dogmatic worship of her are exactly how one would expect intelligent termites that follow their earthly animal counterparts pattern to behave.
  • 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.
  • Chameleon Twist: The boss of Ant Land 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.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Gohmas 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, the fly-like 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...
  • Donkey Kong Country: Queen B., queen of the wasp-like Zingers. The sequel introduced her apparent mate, King Zing, boss of an area full of Hornet Holes.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, the primary raid boss battle for the "Little Skyfarer: A la Sacre Blumiel" event is Queen Bee, a humanoid woman with the lower body of a bee.
  • Warcraft III: The Nerubians 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.
  • Nefarious: Princess Apoidea fits the bill, despite only being, well, a princess. It's implied in the sequel webcomics that this world doesn't even have the concept of a queen (or a king for that matter), because Princesses Rule, which means that's really as high as it gets.
  • Mortal Kombat X: D'Vorah, 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.
  • Bayonetta: The demonesses that make contracts with the Umbra Witches 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.
  • Anthill naturally has the ants' queen appear.
  • Cuphead: Rumor Honeybottoms 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 adept at magic spells.
  • In Colobot, an alien insect queen is the game's Final Boss. She regularly lays eggs from which insect units spawn, and she's resistant to any attacks that don't come from the specialized super gun you uncover in the last level.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2: The Darkers consist of a number of subgroups, each led by a corresponding Dark Falz. Dark Falz Apprentice, a vain, beauty-obsessed Vamp, commands the insectoid Darkers. Her Apprezina form leans into this with a combat style that revolves around summoning drones to fight for it. The Dark Blast version makes it even more explicit by giving the related skills royalty-themed names.
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • The series has the Ant Queen, fought as a Mini-Boss in the first game (as well as the remake Millenium Girl), third (The Drowned City) and sixth (Nexus). If the egg sacs she drops aren't gotten rid of prior to the battle, the newborn Ants will eventually join the battle, making things more difficult.
    • In Millenium Girl, the Queen Bee serves as the second boss of the remake-exclusive Gladsheim. She's not aggresive by nature, but since she's nesting in the power source (which your party needs to activate), fighting her will be an unfortunate necessity.
  • Bug Fables, as the game that revolves around insects, naturally has these, for each kingdom of social bugs.
    • Ant Kingdom has Queen Elizant I, who was a kind and gentle queen who sought to find the Everlasting Sapling to ensure her benevolent rule would last for generations, only to fail and pass the task to her daughter, Queen Elizant II, who struggled with keeping up the legacy of her mother.
    • Bee Kingdom, meanwhile, has Queen Bianca, another queen known to be a kind and gentle ruler, whose focus on scientific advances greatly improved the kingdom, making her one of the most popular rulers. She is also the close friend to Queen Elizant II, and the latter occasionally asks her for advice in times of need.
    • Termites have not only a queen, but a king as well.note  They are ruled by Queen Layra II and King Hector IV. While the relationship between ants and termites was rocky, they had peaceful relationship during the rule of Queen Elizant I, but the alliance fell apart after Queen Elizant II came to rule. King Hector IV is known to be very short-tempered and being a grudge-holder, with Queen Layra II serving as a voice of reason.
    • Double Subverted with the Wasp Kingdom, as they are ruled by the Wasp King instead of a queen. However, Wasp King is actually The Usurper who used the ancient crown to brainwash wasps into his servitude, and their true ruler is a peaceful Queen Vanessa II, who, after the Wasp King's defeat, reclaims her throne and works to undo the damage done by his tyrannical rule.
  • Banjo-Tooie features Honey B., who lives in a beehive in the Plateau area of Isle O' Hags. She can increase the Life Meter of the starring duo in exchange for the Empty Honeycombs scattered in the game's worlds.

     Webcomics 
  • Paranormal Mystery Squad: The fanatical cryptid hunter Stefanie Kane is kidnapped by the moth men in the final arc. 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.
  • Kevin & Kell: Averted. 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. After she's ousted from power by her subjects (who are sick of her taking all their food for herself) and King Thorax takes over, it's revealed that while she fancied herself as this they are apparently born from parents the way ponies are.
    • 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 she turns out 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 villainous 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.
  • Futurama Has the Slurm Worms from Wormulon, slug-like creatures that can replicate themselves when cut in half and they work on the very popular soft drink Slurm. They also have a much larger Queen Slurm, but she is not shown producing offspring. She is, however, the one that produces all the Slurm by ejecting it from her backside. It seems that new queens can be produced by submerging someone in Royal Slurm, but according to one of the workers, a queen formed by a lower caste produces foul-tasting Slurm.
  • Beast Wars doesn't involve any real insect queens, but it does reference this trope for comedic purposes: Inferno, who transforms into a massive ant, frequently refers to Megatron as his "queen," much to the latter's chagrin. Towards the end of the series, Inferno more often uses the term "royalty" instead, possibly to avoid drawing Megatron's ire.


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