Research taken from The Fresh Honey Cookbook by Laurey Masterton
As long as we have owned our business, I have known very little about bees. Even with the little I did know, I found fascinating. As we are bringing the colonies to our property, and we spend time caring for the bees, I love everything about them, and find them to be so industrious, and amazingly complex.
We all love the queen bee of course, but, what about a great job the drone bee has? The drone bees are the only male bees in the colony, so their one job is to mate with a virgin queen of another colony. The drone has sight receptors on their eyes interspersed with scent receptors to enable them to locate a queen when she is out on her mating flight. Although the drone’s job certainly seems to have its perks, he will sadly meet a lonely end. Once he mates with the queen, he will die, leaving his reproductive portion of his body behind.
All of the newly hatched drones stay in the hive in the spring, when honey making is active, to ensure that the genetics of their colony is spread to other hives. However, when the temperature drops, and production slows, things do not work out so well for the drones. Their only job is to mate, and they do not help with housekeeping, foraging, collection of nectar or pollen, or care of the queen. The other bees will no longer be willing to support the non-productive members, and send the drones out of the hive to die in the cold. Either way, it doesn’t end well for the drone.