While ‘natural beekeepers’ are used to thinking of a honeybee colony more in terms of its intrinsic value towards the natural world than its ability to produce honey for human use, conventional beekeepers along with the public in particular tend to be more likely to associate honeybees with honey. It has been the reason behind the attention directed at Apis mellifera since we began our connection to them just a couple of thousand years back.
In other words, I think most people – if they think of it whatsoever – often make a honeybee colony as ‘a living system which causes honey’.
Prior to that first meeting between humans and honeybees, these adaptable insects had flowering plants and also the natural world largely to themselves – more or less the odd dinosaur – and over a lifetime of tens of millions of years had evolved alongside flowering plants along selected people who provided the best quality and level of pollen and nectar for his or her use. We can easily feel that less productive flowers became extinct, save for individuals who adapted to getting the wind, instead of insects, to spread their genes.
Like those years – perhaps 130 million by some counts – the honeybee continuously become the highly efficient, extraordinarily adaptable, colony-dwelling creature that we see and talk with today. By means of a amount of behavioural adaptations, she ensured a high level of genetic diversity within the Apis genus, among which is the propensity in the queen to mate at a ways from her hive, at flying speed and also at some height from your ground, using a dozen or so male bees, which may have themselves travelled considerable distances off their own colonies. Multiple mating with strangers from foreign lands assures a college degree of heterosis – vital to the vigour of any species – and carries a unique mechanism of option for the drones involved: merely the stronger, fitter drones are you getting to mate.
A unique feature of the honeybee, which adds a species-strengthening edge against their competitors towards the reproductive mechanism, could be that the male bee – the drone – exists from an unfertilized egg by a process known as parthenogenesis. Which means that the drones are haploid, i.e. simply have some chromosomes produced from their mother. As a result means that, in evolutionary terms, top biological imperative of passing it on her genes to our children and grandchildren is expressed in their genetic purchase of her drones – remembering that her workers cannot reproduce and are thus a hereditary stalemate.
Hence the suggestion I made to the conference was which a biologically and logically legitimate means of regarding the honeybee colony is really as ‘a living system for producing fertile, healthy drones when it comes to perpetuating the species by spreading the genes of the finest quality queens’.
Thinking through this label of the honeybee colony provides a wholly different perspective, in comparison to the standard standpoint. We are able to now see nectar, honey and pollen simply as fuels just for this system as well as the worker bees as servicing the requirements the queen and performing all the tasks needed to ensure the smooth running from the colony, for your ultimate purpose of producing top quality drones, that can carry the genes with their mother to virgin queens from other colonies far. We can easily speculate regarding biological triggers that cause drones to get raised at certain times and evicted or perhaps gotten rid of sometimes. We are able to think about the mechanisms which could control diet plan drones as a amount of the overall population and dictate how many other functions they’ve already in the hive. We are able to imagine how drones appear to be able to find their method to ‘congregation areas’, where they seem to collect when looking forward to virgin queens to give by, when they themselves rarely survive a lot more than about three months and seldom over the winter. There is certainly much that we still don’t know and may never understand fully.
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