Who is a drone: what does it do in the family, what does an insect look like, why is it needed in a hive, differences from a bee

Who is a drone: what does it do in the family, what does an insect look like, why is it needed in a hive, differences from a bee

Beekeeping manuals can tell you who a bee drone is. Let us analyze the features and properties of male honey bees in more detail. Drones are born from unfertilized eggs. Such eggs remain after sowing due to the queen bee - she cannot release spermatozoa to fertilize the treasure. This happens if the cells lined up by the worker bees are larger than they should be.


Male bees appear from late spring to late summer. Drones overwintering is a rather rare phenomenon - inside the hive they can only be seen in winter if there are problems in the bee colony.

After breeding, individuals usually gain strength, then go for a walk. They look much bigger and larger than regular bees. This is due to the fact that for 10 days after hatching, they feed heavily, so that they can be strong and hardy for several months.


  • large body;
  • weight reaches 250 milligrams;
  • well developed wings;
  • good sense of smell, sight, hearing.

At the same time, drones do not have the following organs:

  • sting;
  • wax glands;
  • proboscis.

The absence of these organs means that insects cannot take care of themselves - this is their main difference from working individuals. Drones need to be fed, as they do throughout the summer months while the colony needs them.

Drones are classified as voracious insects. 1 kg of these individuals consumes up to 20 kg of honey. This is far more than is required for worker bees. In addition, royal jelly, honey and bee bread are used to feed drone larvae.

During the flight, the males buzz loudly, descend to the surface with loud sounds, as if falling.


A drone is primarily a male. The insect exists only to impregnate the queen. If intercourse is successful, the drones die.

Individuals can be distinguished by color: for example, Caucasian breeds have a black body, and breeds bred by Italians are often colored red. Outbred drones have a gray body tone.

Life cycle

Actually, a drone is a male bee. Its life cycle is as follows:

  • egg-laying;
  • larva hatching, fed by worker bees with royal jelly, bee bread and honey;
  • sealing in the cell (at the same time, the cell can be determined from afar - it stands out compared to others, since the drone larva is initially large);
  • the next step is the removal from the cell;
  • then for 10 days the individual eats densely;
  • 7 days after hatching, the insect flies around;
  • already 14 days after birth, the drone is ready to fly around.

The uterus fertilizes from 6 to 8 bees, so after successful fertilization, the males die. Inside other hives, drones are also accepted as long as they are filled with sperm. There they are fed, counting on services.

When the last honey harvest is over, males are no longer welcome. The worker bees are starting to crowd them out of the honey to conserve supplies.

A drone can survive the winter only if the queen of the bee colony remains unfertilized. The presence of male insects inside the hive in winter indicates that the family is going through a dysfunctional period. Dates are shifting, production stops. For the next season, the drone that has endured the winter comes to the weak and unhe althy.

Meaning in the family of bees

What task do drones face if they cannot feed themselves - this is fertilization.To accomplish this task, insects need to be strong and hardy. They have to fly long distances in search of the queen. Nature has decreed that males can fertilize not only the uterus that came out of the same hive, but also a completely different one.

In addition, males often fight among themselves for a female if they find her at the same time. During these fights, the strongest win, while the weak are forced to fly away to heal their wounds.

Outside the hive

Interestingly, the drones in the bee colony do not pay attention to the queen, but as soon as she flies out of bounds, they immediately fly after her to accompany her. If they manage to catch up with the female, then they mate in flight. The first intercourse may not bring results, but if the uterus is full, then it compresses the chamber, breaking off the mating organ of the male. Thus, it turns out that the male dies, and the female falls to the ground with him. After that, the uterus rises and flies into the hive.Thus, the male who fertilized the female last dies.

Also, once a season, males fly far from the hive to find females from other distant hives. This is necessary in order to exclude the relationship of offspring between females and males from the same family. Fertilization by several insects of one queen leads to the mixing of genetic material, which means it contributes to the breeding of he althier offspring.

Role in the hive

Drone can be useful inside the hive too. According to the latest data from beekeepers, it turned out that flying males are able to push worker bees to work. This property is psychological in nature.

If the drones stay for the winter, they are suitable for heating. They huddle together, cover the brood with their bodies, thereby providing warmth. It looks like a sacrifice for the sake of the future family, so it is wrong to consider drones suitable only for breeding.

Males are important for every bee colony at different stages of development. These are the same worker bees, but with different tasks. Males do the work of inseminating the uterus, that is, they are responsible for future offspring. The he althier and more efficient the individuals and the queen, the better the future looks for a particular bee colony.

Interesting facts

A lot of interesting facts have been collected about bee families:

  • most honey is harvested in Siberia;
  • worker bees see poorly, but drones have maximum vision - they need it at the stage when they track down the queen;
  • bee colonies increase 2-3 times over the summer;
  • The acute sense of smell of males allows you to smell the uterus at a distance of up to 1 kilometer.
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