Male Bees: Bad Boys in the Hive!

Of the thousands of bees in the colony, most are female. But in the warmer months, you will probably find several hundred male bees as well. Although they do not do anything related to the daily life of the colony, they play an important role in it. They are responsible for mating the virgin queens. If no male bees are available, new queens will not be produced and mated and the colony will be destroyed. Sometimes new beekeepers believe that having them in the hive is a bad thing. This is completely incorrect because for a well-balanced, well-fed colony, the presence of queen bees is a sign of overall hive health.

If these types of bees do not exist, honey production will be drastically reduced and the market for selling and buying honey will be disrupted.

What male bees do in the hive

The male does not do much inside the hive. He is basically resting and spending time – waiting for a hot afternoon to fly after the queens. He may help himself to taste the open cell honey or wait for one of the house bees to bring it to him. (I can say something about this but I will not say !!!) Unlike worker bees, male bees do not do any hive work. They do not eat for pollen or nectar. They do not do any work inside the colony such as raising young, caring for the queen or helping to produce honey.

Male bees are often replaceable

Even other members of the bee colony spend on male bees. They often grow at the edge of the nest. These males grow from eggs that have not been fertilized with semen. How amazing is it? The queen bee can lay unfertilized eggs that turn into adult bees. This is called parthenogenesis. Because they do not receive any genetic material from the father, the male bees are haploid. Like their diploid sisters, they have 16 chromosomes instead of 32. If the temperature drops too low and the bee clusters shrink, the babies may cool on the outer edge. Why is this attitude shaky towards the only male bees in the hive? This is because if they are lost, they can be easily replaced. It is easy to get more of them if needed.

What does a male bee look like?

We rarely see male bees on the farm, but beekeepers can often see them inspecting the hive. Often a male bee is mistaken for a queen by novice beekeepers. This is because most people know the queen bee is a bigger bee. Male bees are significantly larger than female workers. However, they lack the queen’s pointed belly. When looking for them, look for a bee with a thicker body and a round fuzzy back.

Male bee - Attar Khan

One of the most striking features of a male bee is the large eyes that cover the top of the head. They need extraordinary eyesight to care for the queen bee during mating.

Can male bees bite?

Male bees can not bite. Since they have no role as a colony protector, they do not need to be bitten.

These male bees, like their sisters, do not have a pollen basket and are only designed for mating.

Are male bees found in the colony all year round?

Most colonies do not have male bees throughout the year. When a bee colony wants to breed fertile males, the queen is asked to lay unfertilized eggs.

When we see male offspring in early spring, we know it is time for the bees to swarm. Good breeding patterns are actually a good sign. This indicates that your bee colony is strong enough to move towards the swarm.

Male bee larvae in the hive

From the beginning, male bees follow a different path than their bee sisters. Because they become larger bees, they need a larger cell. This gives them more space to grow to full size.


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