The Importance of Drones

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 and the public at large are much more prone to associate honeybees with honey. It’s been the reason behind the attention given to Apis mellifera since we began our association with them just a few thousand years back.

To put it differently, I believe many people – if they think it is at all – have a tendency to think of a honeybee colony as ‘a living system that produces honey’.

Prior to that first meeting between humans and honeybees, these adaptable insects had flowering plants and also the natural world largely on their own – give or take the odd dinosaur – and also over a span of ten million years had evolved alongside flowering plants coupled with selected those that provided the best and volume of pollen and nectar for his or her use. We could feel that less productive flowers became extinct, save for individuals who adapted to presenting the wind, as opposed to insects, to spread their genes.

For all of those years – perhaps 130 million by a few counts – the honeybee continuously turned out to be the highly efficient, extraordinarily adaptable, colony-dwelling creature that people see and meet with today. Through a number of behavioural adaptations, she ensured a high degree of genetic diversity from the Apis genus, among the actual propensity from the queen to mate at far from her hive, at flying speed and at some height from the ground, using a dozen possibly even male bees, who have themselves travelled considerable distances off their own colonies. Multiple mating with strangers from another country assures a college degree of heterosis – vital to the vigour of the species – and carries its very own mechanism of option for the drones involved: exactly the stronger, fitter drones ever get to mate.

A rare feature of the honeybee, which adds a species-strengthening edge against your competitors towards the reproductive mechanism, is that the male bee – the drone – exists from an unfertilized egg by a process called parthenogenesis. Which means that the drones are haploid, i.e. simply have a bouquet of chromosomes based on their mother. Therefore means that, in evolutionary terms, the queen’s biological imperative of doing it her genes to our children and grandchildren is expressed in her genetic acquisition of her drones – remembering that her workers cannot reproduce and they are thus a genetic no-through.

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

Thinking through this style of the honeybee colony provides for us a totally different perspective, in comparison to the standard standpoint. We are able to now see nectar, honey and pollen simply as fuels with this system and the worker bees as servicing the needs of the queen and performing all of the tasks needed to ensure that the smooth running from the colony, for your ultimate intent behind producing excellent drones, that will carry the genes of their mother to virgin queens off their colonies distant. We can easily speculate regarding the biological triggers that cause drones to become raised at specific times and evicted or even got rid of at other times. We can easily think about the mechanisms that could control facts drones being a number of the entire population and dictate any alternative functions they’ve already inside hive. We are able to imagine how drones appear to be capable of finding their approach to ‘congregation areas’, where they seem to accumulate when expecting virgin queens to pass by, when they themselves rarely survive a lot more than three months and rarely over the winter. There is certainly much that people still have no idea and may even never grasp.

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