The Value of Drones

While ‘natural beekeepers’ are employed to thinking about a honeybee colony more regarding its intrinsic value towards the natural world than its chance to produce honey for human use, conventional beekeepers and the public in particular tend to be prone to associate honeybees with honey. It’s been the explanation for the interest given to Apis mellifera since we began our connection to them just a couple of thousand years back.

Put simply, I suspect a lot of people – if they it’s similar to whatsoever – usually think of a honeybee colony as ‘a living system that creates honey’.

Prior to that first meeting between humans and honeybees, these adaptable insects had flowering plants as well as the natural world largely privately – more or less the odd dinosaur – well as over a duration of ten million years had evolved alongside flowering plants along selected those which provided the very best quality and quantity of pollen and nectar for use. We could feel that less productive flowers became extinct, save for individuals who adapted to using the wind, instead of insects, to spread their genes.

Like those years – perhaps 130 million by a few counts – the honeybee continuously turned out to be the highly efficient, extraordinarily adaptable, colony-dwelling creature we see and talk with today. Using a amount of behavioural adaptations, she ensured a higher degree of genetic diversity within the Apis genus, among which is the propensity from the queen to mate at far from her hive, at flying speed and also at some height through the ground, with a dozen possibly even male bees, who have themselves travelled considerable distances using their own colonies. Multiple mating with strangers from another country assures a qualification of heterosis – vital to the vigour associated with a species – and carries its own mechanism of selection for the drones involved: just the stronger, fitter drones have you ever gotten to mate.

A silly feature in the honeybee, which adds a species-strengthening edge against your competitors on the reproductive mechanism, would be that the male bee – the drone – arrives from an unfertilized egg by the process generally known as parthenogenesis. This means that the drones are haploid, i.e. only have a bouquet of chromosomes derived from their mother. This in turn means that, in evolutionary terms, the queen’s biological imperative of passing it on her genes to our children and grandchildren is expressed in her genetic acquisition of her drones – remembering that her workers cannot reproduce and so are thus a genetic stalemate.

So the suggestion I made to the conference was that a biologically and logically legitimate strategy for in connection with honeybee colony is as ‘a living system for producing fertile, healthy drones when it comes to perpetuating the species by spreading the genes of the greatest quality queens’.

Considering this model of the honeybee colony gives us a completely different perspective, in comparison with the traditional standpoint. We can easily now see nectar, honey and pollen simply as fuels because of this system and the worker bees as servicing the demands of the queen and performing all the tasks necessary to guarantee the smooth running with the colony, for your ultimate reason for producing good quality drones, which will carry the genes of their mother to virgin queens off their colonies far away. We are able to speculate as to the biological triggers that create drones to get raised at peak times and evicted as well as gotten rid of sometimes. We are able to take into account the mechanisms that could control facts drones being a number of the entire population and dictate what other functions they may have inside the hive. We could imagine how drones appear to be able to find their way to ‘congregation areas’, where they seem to accumulate when awaiting virgin queens to pass through by, whenever they themselves rarely survive over three months and rarely through the winter. There is certainly much that we still are not aware of and could never completely understand.

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