While ‘natural beekeepers’ are employed to thinking of a honeybee colony more when it comes to its intrinsic value towards the natural world than its chance to produce honey for human use, conventional beekeepers and the public most importantly are much very likely to associate honeybees with honey. It is been the explanation for the attention directed at Apis mellifera since we began our connection to them just a couple thousand years ago.
In other words, I suspect most people – when they think it is in any respect – tend to think of a honeybee colony as ‘a living system who makes honey’.
Ahead of that first meeting between humans and honeybees, these adaptable insects had flowering plants as well as the natural world largely privately – give or take the odd dinosaur – and over a lifetime of millions of years had evolved alongside flowering plants and had selected people that provided the very best quality and level of pollen and nectar for use. We can easily believe that less productive flowers became extinct, save for people who adapted to presenting the wind, as an alternative to insects, to spread their genes.
For all of those years – perhaps 130 million by some counts – the honeybee continuously developed into the highly efficient, extraordinarily adaptable, colony-dwelling creature that we see and talk to today. Using a number of behavioural adaptations, she ensured an increased a higher level genetic diversity inside Apis genus, among which is the propensity in the queen to mate at some distance from her hive, at flying speed and at some height from the ground, having a dozen approximately male bees, which have themselves travelled considerable distances from their own colonies. Multiple mating with strangers from outside the country assures a degree of heterosis – vital to the vigour of the species – and carries a unique mechanism of option for the drones involved: just the stronger, fitter drones ever get to mate.
An unusual feature in the honeybee, which adds a species-strengthening competitive edge for the reproductive mechanism, would be that the male bee – the drone – exists from an unfertilized egg with a process called parthenogenesis. Which means that the drones are haploid, i.e. only have a bouquet of chromosomes derived from their mother. Thus ensures that, in evolutionary terms, top biological imperative of passing on her genes to future generations is expressed in her genetic investment in her drones – remembering that her workers cannot reproduce and they are thus a genetic no-through.
So the suggestion I created to the conference was that a biologically and logically legitimate method of regarding the honeybee colony is really as ‘a living system for producing fertile, healthy drones for the purpose of perpetuating the species by spreading the genes of the most useful quality queens’.
Thinking through this type of the honeybee colony gives us a completely different perspective, when compared to the traditional point of view. We could now see nectar, honey and pollen simply as fuels with this system and also the worker bees as servicing the needs of the queen and performing all the tasks needed to ensure that the smooth running with the colony, to the ultimate intent behind producing good quality drones, that may carry the genes of these mother to virgin queens off their colonies a long way away. We can easily speculate regarding the biological triggers that create drones being raised at certain times and evicted or perhaps got rid of other times. We can look at the mechanisms that will control diet plan drones being a percentage of the general population and dictate the other functions they may have inside hive. We are able to imagine how drones look like able to get their method to ‘congregation areas’, where they appear to gather when waiting for virgin queens to give by, after they themselves rarely survive greater than three months and almost never from the winter. There’s much that individuals still are not aware of and might never fully understand.
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