What do drone bees do anyway?

They often die within the hive, and their remains are then removed by other bees.

The bee colony lives under the slogan “All for one, one for all.” There are between 30,000 and 80,000 individual bees in a hive, and none of them could survive on their own. The only thing that assures the insect population will continue to exist is the perfect division of work inside the hive. The queen bee is primarily responsible for reproduction at all times.

On the other hand, the worker bees are responsible for all of the other tasks, including the care of the young, the collection of food, and the protection of the nest. However, the male bees, often known as drones, do not seem to contribute much to the common good and would rather have their needs met. The only duty they have is to mate with the queen, and this happens over and over again. But should we really believe that? Are drones as lazy as they seem?

When considering the number of forays they make each day, bees as a species might be characterized as “lazy.” On the other hand, the honey bee colony functions as a superorganism that is very hardworking. Every day, bees are responsible for pollinating several million flowers.

The main role of drone bees

But what exactly are drones responsible for in a bee colony? It is not possible for drones to gather nectar and pollen, construct honeycombs, or feed babies.

A bee colony uses drones to spread its genetic material. The physical effort drone bees make during their multiple mating flights is extraordinary. That’s why they are actually diligent. That’s why drones cannot eat themselves and must be fed by workers throughout their lives.

Temperature control and communication

Simply by being in the hive, drones perform an essential role in the process of temperature control. Their bodies provide insulation, and they have the ability to create heat via the use of their flight muscles. But there is little doubt that the drones also played some part in the intricate communication system that the bees used.

They die from not being fed

Drone bees seem to be employed not just as sperm banks, but also for a variety of other important hive tasks. Despite this, they do not get a lot of appreciation for doing what they are doing. Drone bees face a hasty demise after the conclusion of the mating season, which occurs in August and September at the very latest. 

After then, they have fulfilled their purpose and are no longer fed by the workers; the drones are destined to perish from hunger. They often pass away within the hive, and their bodies are then removed.

Even more, worker bees regularly stab drones that are still living.

By Bertie Atkinson

Bertie Atkinson is a history writer at Malevus. He writes about diverse subjects in history, from ancient civilizations to world wars. In his free time, he enjoys reading, watching Netflix, and playing chess.