They fly free and mate with drones in the area. The cost of a queen bee can vary depending on many factors. Queens are also available online at bee farms that sell online and ship packages of queens and bees with next-day shipping. Queens who come from productive colonies and who have shown positive characteristics have priority for reproduction.
Having covered the origin of the intrinsic value of queen bees, it's worth noting the prices they actually get. And the queen of a swarmed colony or a split hive should start laying eggs as soon as the hive separates. Not only are they essential for those who want to establish new hives and start producing honey, but they are also often sought on short notice when a hive encounters queen-related problems. Doing so involves activating signals that encourage worker bees to create supercedure cells for the purpose of replacing a queen.
In nature, one of the reasons a hive naturally produces a new queen is due to aging or poor health. Throughout its life, it will periodically release sperm to fertilize eggs that become worker bees and queens. Therefore, if you want to make sure that the hive is in good condition, you may have to shell out some money to buy a queen. A queen bee's health is judged on its productivity and ability to produce eggs at an adequate rate to maintain a good population.
You might not expect it, but queen breeding is by no means exclusive to professional or industrial beekeepers. When the queen's pheromone emission is low, or she can no longer position herself in the calf's cells to lay eggs, worker bees kill the queen by grouping tightly around her and beating her to death while overheating. It is impossible to know the genetics of the drones the queen mates with, but purchased queens may be more hygienic, reducing the possibility of varroa mite infestations, less aggressive, more resistant during the winter or known to produce more honey. In a nucleus, bees and the queen bee itself are related, so all bees have the same endogomic characteristics.
Each bee hive can produce between 20 and 60 pounds of honey on average per year (depending on a variety of factors such as geographical location, climate, temperature, pests, local flora and more).