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Hive update: week 3

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) – Our bees are keeping up their busy work.

The workers are taking advantage of the nice weather to gather pollen and nectar. Those ingredients are used to make honey and feed the young.

In an earlier post, we told you about the ’round the clock toil of the worker bees. In this post, we’ll explain the role of the drones.

Drones, unlike the queen and the workers, are all male. Their primary job is to mate with the queen. That may sound great, but their lives are short and often brutal.

Next to the queen, drones are the largest bees on the colony. They can be distinguished by their large eyes and longer legs. During the spring, they will gather with other drones in a competition to mate with queens from various colonies. The drones don’t fight, however. Instead, they attempt to fly as close as they can to the airborne queen to complete the mating process. When the job is done, the drone usually dies.

But death can occur in another way.

When the autumn chill descends upon the colony, and foraging slows down, the honey supply becomes limited. During this time, the drones become a burden on the colony. The workers bees will starve the drones to weaken them. Then, in a seemingly savage act, the workers lead the drones to the colony entrance and fling them to the ground where they will succumb to starvation and the elements. Indeed the life of a drone is fraught.

For more information on bees and the important work they do, check out the Southwest Honey Company in Fort Wayne.





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Brien McElhatten

Brien McElhatten anchors the evening weekday newscasts at ABC21. He also hosts and produces the ABC21 Daily podcast.

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