The drone is the only male bee in the hive. He develops from unfertilized queen’s eggs and the difference between the worker bee and the drone is that he can’t sting. You could easily recognize the drones because they have large eyes and bodies. Even the queen bee does not have such large eyes as the drone. However, the body of the queen is larger than the body of the male honeybee. The drones are exorcised by the worker bees during the autumn and they do not return in the hive until late spring. That is typical for places with cooler climate.
All that the drones have to do is procreation. The worker bees have to feed the male honeybees and they should also take care of them, in case the queen dies and a virgin queen bee takes her place. The virgin queen bee should mate with the drone. The place where the drone mates with the queen is really interesting. It is called ‘Drone Mating Area’ and it takes place in the midair, maybe two or three hundred feet in the air. However, he dies right after mating because the most important part of his body is torn away. They are similar to the worker bees about that because the worker bees die after stringing.
The drones are also known as really lazy bees that cannot even take care of themselves. All that they have to do is to procreate and that is why they are tolerated in the hive. The drones could even mate with a queen from different hive because they start leaving the hive and the colony just few days after becoming a bee, but their job is to spread the hive’s genetics. Another interesting fact is that the life expectancy of the unmated drone is maybe about ninety days. When it comes to protecting the hive, the drones are useless because as we all know they do not have a stinger. It actually turns out that the mating is the biggest goal in the life of the drone and also his only reason for existing. However, it is true that they play very important role in the hive.
In fact there is not a useless bee in the hive. They all have a particular job that they have to do. So we cannot say that the drone is useless for the hive because the male honeybees do one really important thing – they spread the hive’s genetics. They do not gather nectar or pollen as the worker bees, but they could help a lot when they sense that the temperature in the hive is not proper. They could actually work as ventilation because they could generate or exhaust heat by using their wings to move the air. When they have to generate heat, all that they have to do is to shiver. Although they do not have a stringer, they could also help if some intruders disturb the hive or the nest. They will use their wings again, so that they could disorient them.