The Value of Drones

While ‘natural beekeepers’ are used to thinking about a honeybee colony more in terms of its intrinsic value to the natural world than its capability to produce honey for human use, conventional beekeepers and the public in particular tend to be more likely to associate honeybees with honey. It has been the explanation for the eye provided to Apis mellifera since we began our association with them only a few thousand years back.

To put it differently, I suspect most people – when they think of it at all – tend to create a honeybee colony as ‘a living system that creates honey’.

Just before that first meeting between humans and honeybees, these adaptable insects had flowering plants and the natural world largely on their own – more or less the odd dinosaur – and over a duration of tens of millions of years had evolved alongside flowering plants along selected those that provided the highest quality and quantity of pollen and nectar for use. We can easily think that less productive flowers became extinct, save if you adapted to presenting the wind, as opposed to insects, to spread their genes.

It really is those years – perhaps 130 million by a few counts – the honeybee continuously developed into the highly efficient, extraordinarily adaptable, colony-dwelling creature we see and meet with today. By means of a amount of behavioural adaptations, she ensured an increased degree of genetic diversity within the Apis genus, among which is propensity in the queen to mate at far from her hive, at flying speed and also at some height through the ground, using a dozen roughly male bees, which have themselves travelled considerable distances using their own colonies. Multiple mating with strangers from foreign lands assures a diploma of heterosis – fundamental to the vigour associated with a species – and carries its own mechanism of choice for the drones involved: only the stronger, fitter drones have you ever gotten to mate.

A silly feature with the honeybee, which adds a species-strengthening competitive edge to the reproductive mechanism, is the male bee – the drone – arrives from an unfertilized egg by a process referred to as parthenogenesis. This means that the drones are haploid, i.e. only have a bouquet of chromosomes based on their mother. This in turn implies that, in evolutionary terms, the queen’s biological imperative of doing it her genes to our children and grandchildren is expressed in their genetic purchase of her drones – remembering that her workers cannot reproduce and therefore are thus a hereditary no-through.

So the suggestion I created to the conference was which a biologically and logically legitimate method of about the honeybee colony is really as ‘a living system for creating fertile, healthy drones with regards to perpetuating the species by spreading the genes of the most useful quality queens’.

Thinking through this label of the honeybee colony provides us a wholly different perspective, when compared to the typical point of view. We are able to now see nectar, honey and pollen simply as fuels with this system along with the worker bees as servicing the requirements the queen and performing each of the tasks forced to ensure the smooth running from the colony, to the ultimate intent behind producing top quality drones, which will carry the genes of these mother to virgin queens from other colonies distant. We can easily speculate regarding biological triggers that induce drones being raised at certain times and evicted or perhaps got rid of other times. We can look at the mechanisms that may control diet plan drones being a number of the entire population and dictate what other functions that they’ve in the hive. We could imagine how drones look like able to uncover their strategy to ‘congregation areas’, where they appear to collect when expecting virgin queens to feed by, when they themselves rarely survive more than around three months and hardly ever with the winter. There is much that we still don’t know and may never grasp.

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