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  • Interesting Facts About Drones

    6 posts, 6 voices, 2737 views, started Jun 26, 2012

    Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 by Nathalie Girard

    • Sapphire

      When you open a hive, drones are easily distinguished. They are bigger and stunter  than the honey bee and they have huge eyes. They do not have a sting, so they can be easily manipulated. Drones can't do anything for themselves. They seem a bit useless, but their role is essential to the survival of the specie. They exist for one purpose only: mating.  

      To be able to mate, a drone must fly very fast. Therefore its wings are very large and powerful. It also needs to be able to locate a virgin queen, so it has enhanced sensory organs and sight. It can respond to queen or other drone pheromones over very large distances. To give you a better idea, here are two comparisons:

      Queen /Worker Bee/*Drone*
      No of eye facets_3000-4000_ /Up to 6900/*Up to 8600*
      No of antennal plates_1600_ /3000/*30 000*  

      During warm afternoons (above 19C°/66F°), mature drones fly out and go to a certain "zone" that is between 9 to 27 meters(29 to 88 feet) high depending on weather conditions. They can travel up to 5km (3 miles) to find them. These zones can hold up to 15 000 drones from over 240 hives! How these are formed is still a mystery up to this day.  In this zone, they fly around until they spot a virgin queen. They will not respond to a queen that is anywhere else. She can be a foot under  the zone and they will completely  ignore her.  

      If a virgin queen enters the zone though, males are attracted instantly. Once they are 90 cm (35 “) away, they form a comet tail chasing her by sight, hoping to be fast enough to be a lucky one. Once their genitals enter the queen, they literally explode and rip out of their bodies, killing them instantly.  The queen simply removes it with its hinder legs and mates with another drone, and another, etc., until her "spermatheca" is full. She will mate with 15 to 30 males for this.  

      I guess the expression "short and sweet" applies quite well to the life of a drone!

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