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The Incredible Honey Bee...The Poor Drone

Updated on May 30, 2014

The drone is the male honey bee. He is definitely not in control. It is a girl’s world after all. The drones (when they are around) usually do not make up more than 1 to 10% of the hive. Usually more like the 1% than 10. They serve only one useful purpose: mating with the queen. Since the queen only mates one time shortly after she assumes her throne, the drones are not needed after that.

Unlike “The Bee Movie”, the drone really does nothing else useful in the hive. He doesn’t work. He doesn’t produce honey. He doesn’t produce beeswax. He doesn’t collect pollen, nectar, or water. He doesn’t defend the hive since he doesn’t have a stinger. In fact, his only means of any defense is his oversized wings. This gives him a sound advantage. That is, he sounds more ominous than he really is and hopes to scare off any attacker. When the hive is under attack they create a buzz to make it sound as if there are more bees than there really is while the ladies take on the attacker.

The drone basically hangs around the hive and smooches off the colony. He is most commonly found around the honey stores helping himself to what is there. The workers generally do not mind the guys hanging around though they sometimes can be a nuisance. I know what you are thinking. What a lazy bee. Well, like I said his function is strictly for the continuance of the blood line. Here (during mating with the queen) only the strongest and fastest will mate with her. This is by design.

So why the title “Poor Drone”? These guys haven’t got a clue. Their lives are shortened more than not by the worker bees. See, the ladies will only put up with a freeloading man for so long then it’s out the door. In the winter when the honey stores can run low, either due to damage to the hive or a poor season of collections, someone has to go without food. It won’t be the queen. It won’t be the babies. It will be the drones first. The workers will prohibit the drones from entering the hive and suck up the honey reserves. They will stop them at the door and eject them from the hive. Drones are outnumbered almost 10 to 1. So they don’t have a fighting chance. The workers will literally starve the drones to death. The starving of the drones may sound cruel. However, everyone must work to the goal of hive preservation.

The male honey bee
The male honey bee

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