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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went to the farm yesterday to check the bees in my top bar_cathedral hive. They have survived the winter, which is a first for me since I lost my first few hives by not treating them.

Huge combs, very active hive coming in with pollen and putting up nectar, etc. Then yesterday i saw the first drones--100s of them I guess making their first flights. The queen has a great laying pattern of worker brood, and now has some pretty big patches of drone brood. There are about 15 total of these big cathedral combs in the hive and they are all covered in bees, with them making new white wax combs towards the box ends.

So I was wondering, who calls the shots on when and how many drones she is to lay? the bees have to build the proper size cells. I would guess the queen knows which egg to lay depending on the cell size she backs into. I have read that a natural hive lays 10-15% drones to spread their genetics. Think the bees decide how many drone cells to build based on their estimate of the size of their colony, or does the queen have a say?

This came to mind when i read a post on here that someone said they had a drone laying queen...... and made me wonder how the queen decides and communicates to the workers to build certain drone cells and how many.

The little I know about bees, the more I think the queen isnt such a great job in the hive--she is just an egg layer, a well fed worker with the special talent but can be replaced by the decision of the hive when she slacks off. She is always one fresh egg away from being fired. The hive is nothing without her, but she can be replaced. I dont think she calls a lot of the shots in a hive, at least not as many as I originally thought and maybe not even about the drones. Of course i am probably wrong.....

BUT, the queen is safe from me anyway and the bees will decide all of this. I spent 30 minutes looking for her and havent seen her yet. I have yet to perfect that talent. Guess I need to mark her one day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
THANKS for the links. they were very helpful. I never knew bees were so pessimistic when queenless--only building drone comb during that time in order to spread genetics in case they find themselves hopelessly queenless, regardless of the queen cells they have made. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Amazing how they make these decisions. All about survival, growth, and reproduction. The health of the hive as well as the season dictates which of these modes the hive is in. .


Thanks again.
 

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I believe being the queen is the best job in the hive. Yes, you are 1 egg away from being fired but that could be years away. You get fed regularly, and in winter everyone wants to keep you warm. Being a forager, you work your wings off until they don't work any more and you starve to death. An then, you only get about 40 days or so of flying if the weather is nice. Drones spend their lives being bored with nothing to do except wait for an unmated queen to fly by and if you do get to do your job, you are a goner. If you don't mate, the women kick you out of the house at the first signs of winter and you are homeless. Soon, you are either frozen to death or you have starved. I would say that being a queen is a pretty good deal in comparison. Being any bee is a tough life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess it depends on perspective, and again from the human perspective as well as the individual. longevity aint necessarily living. i would rather be a free man for 3 days than a slave for 5 years.

The queen has her every need met, as in putting fuel in a tractor. but the minute she quits then she is done. She is kept warm, yes, a perk. Day in and day out, sticking your butt in a hole decided by someone else, laying a egg, never any privacy, everybody literally keeping a pheromone eye on you. Same old grind day after day, having one party your entire life and then off to the endless grindstone for the rest of your life, and that life dependant on your production. Never getting out unless you swarm, which may be your greatest dream. In many cases, beginning your life in a cage and sold and mailed to faraway places; Introduced to unknown hives that may kill you if you cant win them over in 4 days, only to be used for your egg laying prowess by strangers for their own ends. Now I'm depressed.

the drone, the party animal who is used by the system with the siren's song of sex. yea, We have a great deal for you!! We will feed you and house you --all you have to do is mate!! I am so lucky to be a drone, until you read the fine print. Only later to realize you are just another male gobbled up by the hive agenda, and cast out and killed when they have no further need of you. But hey! you spread the genes, or at least you tried. so thanks for your service and get the h... out.

Now the worker. Variety! various jobs, progression, and learning opportunities--making the real difference in the society and doing the heavy lifting. they break the glass ceiling and make their way out of the hive and into the light, even if comparatively for a short while. They have a certain independence, a certain free will, and are out in the world living and flying, doing or dying, at their choice. Flowers, nectar, pollen, and maybe stopping to smell a few flowers along the way, or at least having the chance to do so. At least in my mind, some semblance of freedom. Yea, the queen has her perks, but i would rather be the worker bee and wear out rather than rust out. meanwhile, the queen just laid another egg, and another, and another..... another egg needed at cell table 227.....

You are correct--it must be tough to be a bee. At least from this perspective. Now the bees probably look at humans and think our lives totally suck. :) ha
 
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