The drone is ... Bee drone: structural features, role in the bee colony
The word "drone" has long become a household name and shows a lazy, dishonest worker who lives at the expense of the labor of others. And who is actually a bee drone? Boarder or an important member of the bee family?
Who is he really?
The drone is a temporary member of the bee family. Several hundred, sometimes even thousands of drones appear in early May. Many people think that they are arriving from somewhere as soon as they feel the spring and the presence of pollen in the houses of bees, which can fill their plump belly. In fact, the drone does not arrive, but is born in a bee colony. But they are not attached to this family. If they have a need, or another family of bees needs a presence of such individuals, then they can easily leave one family and live in another.
Did you know that the drone is the only representative of the bee family, which is born without a father? Surprisingly, nature has conceived that way. Honey bees, queen bees, working bees cannot be born unless a member of the opposite sex participates in the process of conception. But the drones can. They are born from unfertilized eggs. The uterus lays them in special "drone" cells, which are much larger in size than normal ones. This is how the fatherless bees are born into them.
Parthenogenesis is a frequent occurrence in nature. Science knows many different species that produce offspring without the use of male semen. But what is important, it has no negative effect. Drones are born strong, energy-intensive, strong and at all points full bee "popes".
The process and time of birth
It takes three days after the uterus has laid unfertilized eggs in special large cells. The larvae are born, and the bees immediately begin to feed them abundantly. They get the most tasty milk, honey and pollen. After six days, the cells are clogged and waiting for the appearance of the pupae.The drone appears after 15 days. In total, it takes about twenty-four days.
The drone is the largest and loudest representative of the bee colony. In addition to the fact that his figure is an order of magnitude "more magnificent" than that of an ordinary worker bee, he also buzzes much louder. Surely you have repeatedly met this "terrible huge bee", from which you wanted to run without looking back. The drone buzzes really loud and intimidating. But to fear this "beast" is not worth it, it is completely safe for humans, because it does not have a sting. Nature did not grant them remedies. In place of the sting they have an organ for copulation.
The drones and land on the flight board are much louder than ordinary worker bees. Because of the pretty appetite and full abdomen, they become overweight and unhurried. Flying up to the hive, they literally flop on the “landing strip”. Some beekeepers, laughing, say that they do it on purpose. Ostensibly they want the bees in the hive to begin preparing for their feeding in advance.
These individuals have some more structural features. A drone, for example, in vain is called a lazy person who does not want to work like other bees.Maybe he would like to help “on the farm”, but nature did not give him that opportunity. Do drones is not provided in the physiology of the apparatus, which is responsible for collecting nectar. There are no special baskets or scallops on the legs, with the help of which other bees collect nectar and pollen. Even their honey goiter is so small that you can’t bring food to it not only for a family - it’s barely enough to feed itself.
However, it should be noted that for the time being the bees do not infringe upon the drones. On the contrary, they are fed literally "with a spoon", and they eat a lot. In general, at such a time a drone in a beehive is a king and god, because he is the future father of the family, and his role is very important.
Drones also differ from ordinary bees by excellent sight and smell. They are able to see and feel the uterus for many kilometers.
It would seem, live, "make friends" with the uterus, eat nectar and honey all day. But lazy people enjoy such a life for a very short time. A drone is a member of a bee family that lives only about two months. His main task is to fertilize the uterus. The aggregative process usually takes place far from the native hive. The queen bee and the drone fly away from the apiary.Part of the male will die immediately after this act, since the reproductive organ from them is torn off and remains in the female's genitals. Mainly it is "lost" by those who mate with the main queen. Experienced beekeepers know that if a white trail stretches past a bee, then this representative of the bee family would “fly over”.
That part of the drones that did not lose an important organ "on the battlefield," returns to the hive. These are those who communicated with lower-grade bees. However, fate is not so favorable to them. As soon as there is no need for drones, they are gradually being forced out of the hive. First, it is distilled into the colder parts of the house, then deprived of food (pushed aside from the fodder) and after that - already hungry, weak and unnecessary - thrown from the hive to the ground.
Weak individuals immediately die, and those who are stronger and able to still rise, fly to look for another family. But if there is a queen bee in the bee family, then it will not take the burden for the winter. At this life the drone and ends. Even beekeepers determine the quality of the bee colony by the presence of such individuals in the hive at the end of autumn. If they are not there or a lot of dead insects are lying at the flight board, then the family is safe.
Freeloaders or hard workers?
There are several opinions regarding the importance of drones in the bee colony. Someone considers them exclusively freeloaders and lazy, and someone says that they - important members of the family, without which you just can not do. Let's try to make a small comparative description and understand what the drone has more: pluses or minuses.
- The drone is the "father" for all bees. On this, alas, everything.
- Not able to guard the hive.
- Can not feed the larvae.
- Does not take any part in the collection of pollen, can not "make" honey and wax.
- Eats a lot.
As a result, as you can see, it turns out that the drone has more flaws. However, in defense of drones we can say the following:
- If the drone did not fertilize the uterus, then in this world we would not have met a single bee. It is even a pity for the "bee fathers", because they often fold their heads after performing their "holy" duties.
- They are not to blame. This nature has not provided them with tools that would help protect and feed the family. They might have happily joined in their household duties, but simply could not do this because of the lack of important “tools”.
- These are just temporary family members. What will happen if you combine their excellent appetite and permanent residence in the hive all year round? Yes, they will leave the family without reserves in a month. And by their “absence” in the hive in winter, they significantly save food.