While ‘natural beekeepers’ are employed to thinking of a honeybee colony more in terms of its intrinsic value on the natural world than its capability to produce honey for human use, conventional beekeepers and also the public in particular are much more prone to associate honeybees with honey. This has been the explanation for a person’s eye directed at Apis mellifera since we began our association with them just a few thousand years back.
In other words, I suspect most people – should they think of it whatsoever – tend to think of a honeybee colony as ‘a living system who makes honey’.
Before that first meeting between humans and honeybees, these adaptable insects had flowering plants as well as the natural world largely to themselves – give or take the odd dinosaur – and also over a length of ten million years had evolved alongside flowering plants coupled with selected people that provided the best quality and amount of pollen and nectar for their use. We could assume that less productive flowers became extinct, save for those that adapted to using the wind, rather than insects, to spread their genes.
For all of those years – perhaps 130 million by some counts – the honeybee continuously developed into the highly efficient, extraordinarily adaptable, colony-dwelling creature that we see and meet with today. Through a amount of behavioural adaptations, she ensured a high degree of genetic diversity inside the Apis genus, among which is the propensity with the queen to mate at some distance from her hive, at flying speed at some height from your ground, with a dozen roughly male bees, which have themselves travelled considerable distances using their own colonies. Multiple mating with strangers from foreign lands assures a qualification of heterosis – fundamental to the vigour of any species – and carries a unique mechanism of selection for the drones involved: merely the stronger, fitter drones have you ever gotten to mate.
A rare feature of the honeybee, which adds a species-strengthening competitive edge on the reproductive mechanism, is the male bee – the drone – arrives from an unfertilized egg with a process known as parthenogenesis. Because of this the drones are haploid, i.e. just have one set of chromosomes based on their mother. As a result implies that, in evolutionary terms, top biological imperative of creating her genes to future generations is expressed in her own genetic purchase of her drones – remembering that her workers cannot reproduce and they are thus a genetic stalemate.
Hence the suggestion I created to the conference was a biologically and logically legitimate means of about the honeybee colony is really as ‘a living system for producing fertile, healthy drones for the purpose of perpetuating the species by spreading the genes of the most useful quality queens’.
Considering this type of the honeybee colony provides us a wholly different perspective, when compared to the typical standpoint. We can easily now see nectar, honey and pollen simply as fuels for this system and the worker bees as servicing the demands of the queen and performing every one of the tasks needed to guarantee the smooth running of the colony, for your ultimate purpose of producing excellent drones, that may carry the genes with their mother to virgin queens from other colonies far. We are able to speculate as to the biological triggers that can cause drones being raised at certain times and evicted or even got rid of other times. We are able to take into account the mechanisms that may control facts drones as a percentage of the entire population and dictate any alternative functions they own inside hive. We could imagine how drones appear to be able to get their approach to ‘congregation areas’, where they appear to collect when waiting for virgin queens to give by, when they themselves rarely survive greater than a couple of months and rarely from the winter. There is certainly much that individuals still are not aware of and might never completely understand.
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