The Drone Bee Lives a Life of Ease,
But Pays For it in the End!
A day in the life of a drone bee:
It’s a beautiful, crisp, sunny day in late October. A gentle breeze swirls the kaleidoscope showers of multi-colored leaves into drifts, foretelling the drifts of white that will soon replace them. Birds sing sweetly, praising the beauty of the day with melodic harmonies. All seems serene and peaceful in the neighborhood. But deep within the recesses of one home, a life and death struggle is taking place: a young male is being cold-bloodedly murdered by his sisters.
The young male is a honey bee. He’s only a few weeks old, but he’s lived a pretty cushy life – that is, up till now.
Male bees are called drones, and their sole purpose in life is to mate with a queen honeybee. Drone bees do not work; they simply eat, loaf, and fly around looking for a queen on her mating flight. But with winter approaching, there will be no queen bees on mating flights for months, and so the drone has outlived his usefulness.
During the long, hard winter, the hive will have to survive on the honey they’ve stored up during the summer. There will be no other sources of food during the winter, and if they run out of stored honey before spring, the entire hive will perish. So the now useless drone bee will no longer be tolerated.
When their instincts tell them that the time has come, the worker bees – all female, and all offspring of the same mother queen – drag their hapless brothers out of the hive. If the outcasts attempt to return to the hive, they are repelled, and so soon die from exposure or starvation. Fewer mouths to feed increase the odds of the hive surviving the winter.
Oh, and if the drone does happen to find a queen to mate with … well, that doesn’t exactly end well for him either. You see, during the mating flight, just as he’s finished mating with the queen, his abdomen explodes and he plummets to the ground dead.
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