"As we sometimes find males smaller than they ought to be, and also queens more diminutive than usual, it was, desirable to obtain a general explanation, to what degree the cells, where bees pass the first period of their existence, influence their size. With this view, you have advised me to remove (Page 160) all the combs composed of common cells, and to leave those consisting of large cells only. It was evident if the common eggs which the queen would lay in these large cells produced workers of larger size, we were bound to conclude that the size of the cells had a sensible influence on the size of the bees. The first time I made this experiment, it did not succeed, because weevils lodged in the hive discouraged the bees. But I repeated it afterwards and the result was very remarkable.
"I removed the whole comb, consisting of common cells, from one of my best glass hives, and left that composed of males' cells alone: and to avoid vacuities, I supplied others of the same kind. This was in June, the season most favourable to bees. I expected that the bees would quickly have repaired the ravages produced by this operation in their dwelling; that they would labour at the breaches, and unite the new combs to the old. But I was very much surprised to see that they did not begin to work. Expecting they would resume their activity, I continued observing them several days; however, my hopes were disappointed. Their homage to the queen was not interrupted indeed; but except in this, their conduct to the queen was quite different from what it usually is; they clustered on the combs without exciting any sensible heat. A thermometer among them rose only to 81 degrees, though standing at 77 degrees in the open air. In a word, they appeared in a state of the greatest despondency.
"The queen herself, though very fertile, and though She must have been oppressed by her eggs, hesitated long before depositing them in the large cells; she chose rather to drop them at random than lay in cells unsuitable. However, on the second day, we found six that had been deposited there with all regularity. The worms were hatched three days afterwards, and then we began to study their history. Though the bees provided them with food, they did not carefully attend to it; yet I was in hopes they might be reared. I was again disappointed; for next morning all the worms had disappeared, and their cells were left empty. Profound silence reigned in the hive; few bees left it, and these returned without pellets of wax on the limbs; all was cold and inanimate. To promote a little motion, I thought of supplying the hive with a comb, composed of large cells, full of male brood of all ages. The bees, which had twelve days obstinately refused working in wax, did not unite this comb to their own. However, their industry was awakened in a way that I had not anticipated. They removed all the brood from this comb, cleaned out the whole cells, and prepared them for receiving new eggs. I cannot determine whether they expected the queen to lay, but it is certain if they did so they were not deceived. From this moment, she no longer dropped her eggs; but laid such a number in the new comb, that we found five or six together in the cell. I then removed all the combs composed of large cells to substitute small cells in their place, an operation which restored complete activity among the bees.
"The peculiarities of this experiment seem worthy of attention. It proves that nature does not allow the queen the choice of the eggs she is to lay. It is ordained that, at a certain time of the year, she shall produce those of males, and at another time the eggs of workers, and this order cannot be inverted. We have seen that another fact led me to the same consequence; and as that was extremely important, I am delighted to have it confirmed by a new observation. Let me repeat, therefore, that the eggs are not indiscriminately mixed in the ovaries of the queen, but arranged so that, at a particular season, she can lay only a certain kind. Thus, it would be vain at that time of the year, when the queen should lay the eggs of workers, to attempt forcing her to lay male eggs, by filling the hives with large cells; for, by the experiment just described, we learn, that she will. rather drop the workers eggs by chance than deposit them in an unsuitable place; and that she will not lay the eggs of males. I cannot yield to the pleasure of allowing this queen discernment or foresight, for I observe a kind of inconsistency in her conduct. If she refused to lay the eggs of workers in large cells, because nature has instructed her that their size is neither proportioned to the size nor necessities of common worms, would not she also have been instructed not to lay several eggs in one cell? It seems much easier to rear a worker's worm in a large cell, than to rear several of the same species in a small one, Therefore, the supposed discrimination of bees is not very conspicuous. Here the most prominent feature of industry appears in the common bees. When I supplied; them with a comb of small cells, full of male brood, their activity was awakened; but instead of bestowing the necessary care on this brood, as they would have done in every other situation, they destroyed the whole nymphs and larvae, and cleaned out their cells, that the queen, now oppressed with the necessity of laying, might suffer no delay in depositing her eggs. Could we allow them either reason or reflection, this would be an interesting proof of their affection for her.
"The experiment, now detailed at length, not having fulfilled my object in determining the influence of the size of the cells on that of the worms, I invented another which proved more successful.
"Having selected a comb of large cells, containing the eggs and worms of males, I removed all the worms from their farina, and my assistant substituted those of workers a day old in their place. Then he introduced this comb into a hive that had the queen. The bees did not abandon these substituted worms; they covered their cells with a top almost flat, a kind quite different from what is put on the cells of males; which proves, that they were well aware that these, though inhabiting large cells, were not males. This comb remained eight days in the hive, counting from the time the cells were sealed, I then removed it to examine the included nymphs, which proved those of workers in different stages of advancement; but, as to size and figure, they perfectly resembled what had grown in the smallest cells. I thence concluded, that the larvae of workers do not Acquire greater size in large than in small cells. Although this experiment was made only once, it seems decisive. Nature has appropriated cells of certain dimensions for the worms of workers while in their vermicular state; undoubtedly she has ordained that their organs should be fully expanded, and there is sufficient space for that purpose; therefore more would be useless. Their expansion ought to be no greater in the most spacious cells than in those appropriated for them. If some cells smaller than common ones are found in combs, and the eggs of workers are deposited there, the size of the bees will probably be less than that of common workers, because they have been cramped in the cells; but it does not thence ensue, that a larger cell will admit of them growing to a greater size.
"The effect: produced on the size of drones by the size of the cells their worms inhabit, may serve as a rule for what should happen to the larvae of workers in the same circumstances. The large cells of males are sufficiently capacious for the perfect expansion of their organs. Thus, although reared in cells of still greater capacity, they will grow no larger than common drones. We have had evidence of this in those produced by queens whose fecundation has been retarded. You will remember, Sir, that they sometimes lay male eggs in the royal cells. Now, the males proceeding from them, and reared in cells much more spacious than nature has appropriated for them, are no larger than common males. Therefore it is certain, that whatever be the size of the cells where the worms acquire their increment, the bees will attain no greater size than is peculiar to their species. But if, in their primary form, they live in cells smaller than they should be, as their growth will be checked, they will not attain the usual size, of which there is proof in the following experiment. I had a comb consisting of the cells of large drones, and one with those of workers, which also served for the male worms. Of these, my assistant took a certain number from the smallest cells, and deposited them on a quantity of food purposely prepared in the large ones; and in return he introduced into the small cells the worms that had been hatched in the other, and then committed both to the care of the workers in a hive where the queen laid the eggs of males only. The bees were not affected by this change; they took equal care of the worms; and when the period of metamorphosis arrived, gave both kinds that convex covering usually put on those of the males. Eight days afterwards, we removed the combs, and found, as I had expected, nymphs of large males in the large cells, and those of small males in the small ones."
>what about vice versa would i have a small drone?
Yes. Laying workers and failing queens do it all the time.
"nymphs of large males in the large cells, and those of small males in the small ones." --François Huber
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