The Value of Drones

While ‘natural beekeepers’ are used to considering a honeybee colony more when it comes to its intrinsic value towards the natural world than its capacity to produce honey for human use, conventional beekeepers and also the public most importantly tend to be prone to associate honeybees with honey. It is been the main cause of the eye directed at Apis mellifera since we began our connection to them just a few thousand years back.

To put it differently, I think many people – when they it’s similar to in any way – tend to imagine 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 along with the natural world largely to themselves – give or take the odd dinosaur – and also over a length of millions of years had evolved alongside flowering plants together selected those that provided the best quality and quantity of pollen and nectar for their use. We are able to feel that less productive flowers became extinct, save for those that adapted to presenting the wind, as opposed to insects, to spread their genes.

It really is those years – perhaps 130 million by some counts – the honeybee continuously developed into the highly efficient, extraordinarily adaptable, colony-dwelling creature that people see and talk to today. On a quantity of behavioural adaptations, she ensured a high amount of genetic diversity inside the Apis genus, among the propensity from the queen to mate at far from her hive, at flying speed at some height from the ground, using a dozen roughly male bees, that have themselves travelled considerable distances from their own colonies. Multiple mating with strangers from foreign lands assures a qualification of heterosis – important to the vigour from a species – and carries its mechanism of selection for the drones involved: only the stronger, fitter drones are you getting to mate.

A silly feature from the honeybee, which adds a species-strengthening edge against your competitors for the reproductive mechanism, would be that the male bee – the drone – arrives from an unfertilized egg with a process called parthenogenesis. Which means the drones are haploid, i.e. only have one set of chromosomes based on their mother. This in turn ensures that, in evolutionary terms, top biological imperative of passing it on her genes to generations to come is expressed in her genetic acquisition of her drones – remembering that her workers cannot reproduce and therefore are thus an innate dead end.

And so the suggestion I built to the conference was a biologically and logically legitimate way of in connection with honeybee colony will be as ‘a living system for producing fertile, healthy drones when it comes to perpetuating the species by spreading the genes of the greatest quality queens’.

Considering this type of the honeybee colony provides us a completely different perspective, in comparison with the standard perspective. We can easily now see nectar, honey and pollen simply as fuels with this system and the worker bees as servicing the requirements the queen and performing all the tasks needed to ensure the smooth running in the colony, for that ultimate function of producing high quality drones, that may carry the genes of their mother to virgin queens business colonies far away. We can easily speculate regarding the biological triggers that can cause drones being raised at specific times and evicted or even wiped out sometimes. We can easily think about the mechanisms that will control facts drones like a area of the overall population and dictate any alternative functions that they’ve inside hive. We can easily imagine how drones appear to be capable of finding their strategy to ‘congregation areas’, where they seem to gather when expecting virgin queens to pass through by, once they themselves rarely survive greater than a couple of months and hardly ever with the winter. There is much that individuals still don’t know and may even never grasp.

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