Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Drones flying

Here he is, my first drone of the season (or at least the first one I have seen flying).  The drones are the males of the beehive.  Unlike the worker bees and the queen, who are all female, the drones have no stinger.  Ahh, you say, that is why she is holding him in her hand!  I wish this picture was more clear, but this guy would not stand still for me.   The fact that drones are out flying tells me that the hive "feels" (for lack of a better word) that the season is far enough along that the hive size is building fast enough to expect swarms soon.  The drones serve no purpose other than to mate with new, flying queens.  Those new queens start appearing in the spring, either to replace old queens who are not performing, or to start up new housekeeping in mom's old hive after the older queen mother has moved off with a swarm.  New queens need drones, so that is what the hives produce.  It is just another sign of spring