Years back I ran over 600 colonies of honey bees. Jim N. posted "The ratio
of the hive population is about 100 females to every male." To which Jan
Steinman responded, "Lucky guys!"
Ahh, not so fast, Jan. True, the drones do get by with doing no
useful work in a beehive--no nectar gathering, no taking care of the larval
bees, no protecting the hive (drones don't have a stinger). And, yes,
several lucky ones do get to mate with a virgin queen on her one and only
mating flight. Trouble is, after mating, the male's genitalia are pulled
away by the mated queen, and the hapless drone drops to the ground to bleed
to death. It's his first, and last, sexual experience. "Lucky guys!",
ahh, I don't think so.
Drones that are still alive in October are quite unceremoniously
driven out of the hive to die of starvation. No, not lucky guys at all.
End of entomology lesson.
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