The Importance of Drones

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While ‘natural beekeepers’ are widely-used to thinking of a honeybee colony more regarding its intrinsic value towards the natural world than its chance to produce honey for human use, conventional beekeepers as well as the public at large tend to be more prone to associate honeybees with honey. It has been the main cause of the attention directed at Apis mellifera because we began our connection to them just a few thousand in years past.

Put simply, I think a lot of people – if they think of it at all – have a tendency to make a honeybee colony as ‘a living system who makes honey’.

Before that first meeting between humans and honeybees, these adaptable insects had flowering plants and the natural world largely to themselves – give or take the odd dinosaur – well as over a span of ten million years had evolved alongside flowering plants together selected those that provided the best and amount of pollen and nectar for use. We are able to feel that less productive flowers became extinct, save for individuals who adapted to presenting the wind, rather than insects, to spread their genes.

For all of those years – perhaps 130 million by some counts – the honeybee continuously evolved into the highly efficient, extraordinarily adaptable, colony-dwelling creature that people see and speak to today. By means of a number of behavioural adaptations, she ensured a higher degree of genetic diversity inside Apis genus, among the actual propensity with the queen to mate at some distance from her hive, at flying speed at some height in the ground, which has a dozen or so male bees, which may have themselves travelled considerable distances off their own colonies. Multiple mating with strangers from another country assures a qualification of heterosis – important to the vigour from a species – and carries a unique mechanism of choice for the drones involved: only the stronger, fitter drones ever get to mate.

A rare feature with the honeybee, which adds a species-strengthening edge against your competitors to the reproductive mechanism, is 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 produced by their mother. As a result ensures that, in evolutionary terms, top biological imperative of creating her genes to future generations is expressed in their genetic acquisition of her drones – remembering that her workers cannot reproduce and they are thus a genetic dead end.

Therefore the suggestion I created to the conference was that a biologically and logically legitimate way of concerning the 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 finest quality queens’.

Thinking through this style of the honeybee colony provides us an entirely different perspective, in comparison to the typical standpoint. We can now see nectar, honey and pollen simply as fuels just for this system along with the worker bees as servicing the demands of the queen and performing all of the tasks forced to guarantee the smooth running with the colony, for the ultimate reason for producing top quality drones, that can carry the genes of the mother to virgin queens business colonies distant. We can easily speculate regarding the biological triggers that create drones to be raised at specific times and evicted or even got rid of at other times. We could look at the mechanisms which could control diet plan drones like a amount of the entire population and dictate how many other functions they’ve already in the hive. We can easily imagine how drones seem able to get their strategy to ‘congregation areas’, where they appear to collect when awaiting virgin queens to give by, whenever they themselves rarely survive greater than three months and hardly ever through the winter. There is much we still are not aware of and might never fully understand.

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