The Drone Honey Bee

Comprehensive Overview of Apis mellifera Drone Development, Biology, and Interaction with The Queen

Author(s): Lovleen Marwaha * .

Pp: 1-17 (17)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815179309123010003

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


The male honey bees, the reproductive caste of the colony, develop through haploid/diploid parthenogenesis. The drones develop from haploid/ diploid unfertilized eggs produced by parthenogenesis or from diploid fertilized eggs having identical sex alleles, formed after sexual reproduction, with more probability when the queen honey bee mates with the drones of the same hives. Therefore, two types of drone honey bees, based on ploidy, are common in colonies, e.g. haploid or/and diploid. The number of drone honey bees staying in the colony varies according to protein resources and the strength of the worker honey bees. Generally, the haploid drone eggs/larvae laid by workers are removed by the nurse bee due to cannibalism. The above-mentioned eggs/larvae are marked with certain specific hormones that act as markers for cannabalic removal of the same. Further, the development of drones is influenced by colony temperature; hence overall development can be completed within 24-25 days. The purpose of drone life is to produce sperm and mate with the queen. The queen attracts the drone's honey bees toward herself with pheromones 9-ODA, 9-HDA and 10 HDA. The drone number and fertility depend upon the colony's environmental conditions, genomic possession and available food in the colony. The specific chapter provides deep insight into the development of drones, the biology of drones, the reproductive system, and the mating behaviour of particular castes. Subsequent chapters highlight morphometric characteristics of drones, development, mating, reproduction and artificial drone production.

Keywords: Haploid and Diploid Drones, Parthenogenesis, Developmental Synchronicity.

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