Bee Studies 101

October 4, 2010

There are three types of bees- the Queen, the workers, and the drones.  The Queen is– after mating– too large to fly, and so she spends three to five years living in the hive, laying 2000 eggs a day.  Wow.  The worker bees are (contrary to “The Bee Movie”) all female, and they collect pollen and nectar (along with filling various other roles: building the honeycomb, cleaning house, caring for the young, and guarding the hive).  Drone bees (all male) have but one sole purpose: to be on standby during the summer in case a virgin queen needs to mate.  Harumph.  If there wasn’t a Queen chick in charge, I’d curse the patriarchy here…  I guess I feel better knowing that after they mate with the Queen (if they are lucky enough to be chosen to do so), they promptly die.

More bad news for drones: at this time of year, drone bees are no longer needed, and so are driven from the hive to die.

As our bee hive is directly above our door (up on the grassy roof), many of the unwanted drones, hungry and unable to fly, end up down by our steps, wandering aimlessly in their final hours.  A sad and harsh reality, but even in these horrible conditions, a few of them were kind enough to stop and let me take their portraits: Donald, Earnest, and Rick.

I would like to take this time to formally thank all the 60,000 to 80,000 lady worker bees who made us honey this season, and to wish well those 20,000 to 30,000 preparing to hunker down for the long cold spell.  I guess I also owe some gratitude to the drones that mated with a virgin Queen this summer (we lost our Queen at one point, so they had to make another), although none of these boys pictured here were involved in that, seeing as how they are still crawling around…




The bountiful honey our bees produced this summer!



  1. That is so cool. Very jealous of the fresh honey. 🙂

  2. Hey buddy.

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