The Drone Bee – A honeybee colony is primarily female. Male bees or drones make up a small percentage of a colony. Typically drones numbers range from 300-3000 depending on the maturity of the colony. A strong colony can exceed 80,000 individuals in the summer.
Procreation is the primary function of the drone bee. The drones are tended and fed by female worker bees while they await the virgin queen’s nuptial flight. The queens flight can take the drone 200-300 feet in the air and often nearly a mile away from the colony. The eyes of the drone are keen and larger than the worker bees. They are designed for tracking the queen during flight.
During the queen’s nuptial flight, she will mate with as many as 10 drone bees. The drone bees sex organ is barbed and is ripped off as it attempts to withdraw following mating. This withdrawal often results in the near complete evisceration of the drone. The drone then rather unceremoniously tumbles from the sky.
As the end of the honey production season nears, patience for the hungry drones evaporates. The drones are expelled from the hive by the worker bees with the onset of winter.
Submitted By: Brantley Crowder