Sunday, 26 April 2009
How hard can it be?
You'd think that it would be easy to spot a queen bee. It's not. See the photo below. It's just one part of one side of one frame - and there are 11 frames in the brood box.
The bee in the box is a drone. A fat boy. Wider than the rest. These are the males - with just 16 chromosomes (vs the workers 32).
He's just there "to keep the ladies happy" (quoting a book).
He just eats until he decides to go and fly at mating time. If he's lucky (sic) enough to mate with a queen, his reproductive organs explode during the process, and he dies. Sometimes the queen can be seen returning to the hive, having been mated, with the important bits of drones hanging out, so to speak.
If he doesn't get to mate, he gets shoved out of the hive in the Autumn, to die. He's a useless mouth to feed, so he gets the boot.
Tough life. I feel his pain. :-)