Drone Bees

17
Jun/08
0

Drone Bees
How is the Queen in a bee colony chosen? And how can it live longer than the drones?

A queen bee can live for up to 4-5 years.
The drones live only 40-50 days.

The queen secretes chemicals which prevent the other females from breeding. If the queen dies, the levels of these chemicals fall and several females will mate with the drones to produce fertile eggs. The bee larva are fed a special food called royal jelly. It contains hormones which cause the young bees to mature into queens. The first queen to emerge as an adult then kills any developing queen. If two emerge together they fight until one is killed.

Queen bees mate only once with several drones and then store the sperm in their abdomens. They can choose to lay fertile or infertile eggs. The infertile eggs develop into drones. Since the eggs only carry the queen's DNA, her sons are actually male clones of herself.

Body cells reproduce themselves according to structures on chromosomes called telomeres. Every time a cell divides, it looses a telomere. When the last telomere is gone, the cell can no longer divide. Some cells can go on dividing indefinetly and some can never divide. The drones have very few telomeres because they are designed only to mate once and then die. The queen maintains a low population of drones in the colony should the hive need to reproduce itself.


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