Queen bees and ants emit a chemical that alters their offspring's DNA at birth. This keeps "princesses" sterile and working busily for the colony.
While the social roles some insects inhabit are set in stone, dinosaur ants and red paper wasps are far more flexible – and able to adjust their behaviors for varying responsibilities.
Scientists studying vitellogenin--a protein found in all egg-laying species--including fish, poultry, reptiles, amphibians and other insects--have learned that queen bees naturally innoculate young. They think this opens doors to giving pollinator vaccines.