Castes
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Thread: Castes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    High Point, NC, USA
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    14

    Default Castes

    Studying for a test. I'm finding conflicting information. Are Honey bees a 2 or 3 caste system??? Is it just the Queen and workers; or Queen, Workers and Drones?

    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Huntersville, NC, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Castes

    There are 3 castes. One queen ( usually), thousands of infertile female workers and about 15-20% of that number in male drones.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    Default Re: Castes

    I don't believe that drones are referred to as a "caste", but a gender (= males).

    Queens and workers are two castes of female honeybees. Female honeybees have 32 chromosomes, as they are made from fertilized eggs (= {a sperm + an egg}) This is referred to as being diploid. Drones have 16 chromosomes, as they are made from unfertilized eggs (drones have no father). This is referred to as being haploid.

    The difference between queen caste and worker caste in the female honeybees is the food they are given at birth during the larval stage. A steady diet of Royal Jelly produces a queen from a fertilized (= female) larva. Lower grade food results in a worker female.

    There IS a 3rd possible caste of female - an emergency queen raised from a larva that was fed worker-grade food for a day or two, at which point Mama Queen dies unexpectedly at a time with no younger larvae nor eggs from which to make a high-quality queen, so the panicked workers feed royal jelly to a 3-day or maybe even a 4-day-old larva that has been fed worker -grade food for a day or two. The resulting "semi-queen" could be regarded as an in-between caste. Hopefully for the bees, she will mate and lay enough eggs for the bees to supercede the semi-queen with a good, full-blown queen in short order.

    So, technically, honeybees are "usually males + 2 castes of females, with a possible 3rd caste of female - the late decision emergency queen".

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    wnc
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: Castes

    Depends on which book you read. NC Journeymans test is looking for two for the answer.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Huntersville, NC, USA
    Posts
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    Default Re: Castes

    Caste usually refers to specific roles in a society, occupation and social interaction, and this matches with the drones (or males) who perform certain tasks only.


    There are two sexes, and possibly 3 genders. Male and female are actiallly sexes while man or woman would be gender. Just to complicate things a little more.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,571

    Default Re: Castes

    There are 2 honey bee sexes and 2 castes within the female sex: Queen and worker. Unfortunately, lots of literature refers to 3 castes. To add to the confusion, there are biological/scientific definitions of the word "caste" and social definitions of the word "caste," so it can depend on the context of the question. If the test you are studying for is a biology test, I think the most correct answer is that there are only 2 castes of honey bees: Queen and Worker. If it is not multiple choice, but free response, I would answer that there are 2 sexes, Male (Drone) and Female and that there are 2 castes within the Female sex: Queen and Worker.

    BTW: I have seen this question start a spirited multi-page argument on beesource, so you are probably going to get varying answers here.

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