A Drone Bees Life Cycle. The drone is a male bee of the honey bee species that does not work and its life’s role described here.
They develop from eggs that have not been fertilized.
Unlike the female worker bee, drones do not have stingers and they cannot sting, since the worker bee’s stinger is a modified ovipositor. A drone’s primary role is to mate with an unfertilized queen.
A Drone Bees Life Cycle.
Drones life cycle described
3 days – being an egg.
6 1/2 days – to be larvae
10 days – the cells are capped
14 1/2 days – become a pupa
24 days – of developmental period
28 – 38 days – start of fertility
55 days – life span, then dies (Although the life expectancy of a drone is about 90 days.)
Drones mature at about 16 days of age, and become less suitable for mating after 28 days of age. The average life span of a drone is about 90 days, and varies with seasonal conditions. Strong colonies with large numbers of worker bees rear and maintain more drone brood and adult drones than weaker colonies.
A drone is characterized by eyes that are twice the size of those of worker bees and queens. A body size greater than that of worker bees, though usually smaller than the queen bee. His abdomen is stouter than the abdomen of workers or queen.
Although heavy bodied, the drone must be able to fly fast enough to accompany the queen in flight. The average flight time for a drone is about 20 minutes.
Drones depend on worker bees to feed them.
Drones do not exhibit typical worker bee behaviors such as nectar and pollen gathering, nursing, or hive construction.
While drones are unable to sting, if picked up, they may swing their tails in an attempt to frighten the disturber. In some species, drones buzz around intruders in an attempt to disorient them if the nest is disturbed.
Drones fly in abundance in the early afternoon and are known to congregate in drone congregation areas a good distance away from the hive.
Drones die off or are ejected from the hive by the worker bees in late autumn, and do not reappear in the bee hive until late spring. They would deplete the hive’s resources too quickly if they were allowed to stay
The drones’ main function is to be ready to fertilize a receptive queen. Drones in a hive do not usually mate with a virgin queen of the same hive. Because the queen flies further to a drone congregation area than the drones do. Mating generally takes place in or near drone congregation areas. How these areas are selected is not understood, but they do exist.
When a drone mates with a queen of the same hive, the resultant queen will have a spotty brood pattern (numerous empty cells on a brood frame) due to the removal of diploid drone larvae by nurse bees (i.e., a fertilized egg with two identical sex genes will develop into a drone instead of a worker). The worker bees remove the inbred brood and consume it to recycle the protein.
The Drone honey bee above.
Mating occurs in flight, which accounts for drones needing better vision, which is provided by their large eyes. Should a drone succeed in mating, the first thing that happens is all of the drone’s blood in his body rushes to his endophallus which causes him to lose control over his entire body. His body falls away, leaving a portion of his endophallus attached to the queen which helps guide the next drone in the queen.
In areas with severe winters, all drones are driven out of the hive in the autumn. With our experience they eat all the stored food.
A colony begins to rear drones in spring and drone population reaches its peak coinciding with the swarm season in late spring and early summer. The life expectancy of a drone is about 90 days.
Although the drone is highly specialized to perform one function, mating and continuing the propagation of the hive, it is not completely without side benefit to it. All bees, when they sense the hive’s temperature deviating from proper limits, either generate heat by shivering, or exhaust heat by moving air with their wings—behaviours which drones share with worker bees.
Save the bees.
Other posts about the drone bee.