On the discovery of the gender of drones and honey bees... [Archive] - Beesource Beekeeping Forums

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JohnBruceLeonard
01-12-2016, 01:38 AM
I read in Aristotle (On the Generation of Animals, Book III, Part 10) a complicated and ultimately inconclusive discussion of the genders of the various members of a bee colony, and I find myself wondering - given that no one, prior to very recent times, ever witnessed the copulation of bees, how did anyone ever induce the genders of drones and workers? I can imagine that some very attentive observer might have seen the queen depositing eggs, and inferred from this her gender; but the other two members? Perhaps someone saw a laying worker in action, and concluded from this that all workers must be female, and thus drones must be male? Otherwise, it seems it would really take a flight of brilliant intuition...

So much for utterly idle curiosity.

John

ToeOfDog
01-12-2016, 06:28 AM
I am not positive but believe Francis Huber's wife was a gifted dissecter and discovered that the workers were female. There is a copy of Huber's New Observations online if you want to read about his studies.

AR Beekeeper
01-12-2016, 07:41 AM
An English beekeeper by the name of Butler was the first to write a book that said the Queen was female, he saw her lay eggs, prior to that she was called the King Bee. In 1670 Swammerdam, a Hollander, dissected a queen and affirmed that she was female. He may have dissected drones and workers, but I have not read that he did.

Michael Bush
01-12-2016, 09:21 AM
>I am not positive but believe Francis Huber's wife was a gifted dissecter and discovered that the workers were female. There is a copy of Huber's New Observations online if you want to read about his studies.

That would be Christine Jurine, not Maria Aimée Lullin Huber his wife. Miss Jurine not only dissected workers and found their ovaries but made engraved the plates of them. No one had been able to find them before. She wrote one of the chapters of Huber's book as well as making quite a few of the engravings. She also discovered the wax glands and did plates of them. Her father was also a famous naturalist, Louis Jurine.

https://books.google.com/books?id=TgUNAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA176&lpg=PA176&dq=christine+jurine+naturalist&source=bl&ots=sAb0SPWRvt&sig=cgRpY5ORbM3i8isTfud1-Ti3FD4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1rv_G1aTKAhUCYyYKHdzpC8AQ6AEIIjAB#v=on epage&q=christine%20jurine%20naturalist&f=false

As far as the queen being female, you can find people grafting worker larvae to make queens and aware that the queen laid eggs at least as far back as Nicol Jacobis in 1568 in "Die rechte Bienen-Kunst."