While ‘natural beekeepers’ are employed to considering a honeybee colony more regarding its intrinsic value on the natural world than its capacity to produce honey for human use, conventional beekeepers and the public most importantly less difficult prone to associate honeybees with honey. This has been the reason behind the interest provided to Apis mellifera because we began our connection to them only a few thousand in years past.
Put simply, I suspect most of the people – whenever they think of it in any way – usually make a honeybee colony as ‘a living system who makes honey’.
Just before that first meeting between humans and honeybees, these adaptable insects had flowering plants along with the natural world largely privately – more or less the odd dinosaur – well as over a lifetime of ten million years had evolved alongside flowering plants and had selected those that provided the best quality and amount of pollen and nectar because of their use. We are able to believe that less productive flowers became extinct, save if you adapted to working with the wind, rather than insects, to spread their genes.
For all of those years – perhaps 130 million by a few counts – the honeybee continuously developed into the highly efficient, extraordinarily adaptable, colony-dwelling creature that people see and talk with today. Using a quantity of behavioural adaptations, she ensured a top a higher level genetic diversity inside Apis genus, among which is propensity from the queen to mate at a long way from her hive, at flying speed and also at some height through the ground, having a dozen approximately male bees, who have themselves travelled considerable distances from their own colonies. Multiple mating with strangers from outside the country assures a degree of heterosis – important to the vigour of any species – and carries its mechanism of option for the drones involved: only the stronger, fitter drones ever get to mate.
A silly feature from the honeybee, which adds a species-strengthening edge against their competitors on the reproductive mechanism, could be that the male bee – the drone – is born from an unfertilized egg by way of a process referred to as parthenogenesis. Which means the drones are haploid, i.e. have only a bouquet of chromosomes produced from their mother. Therefore means that, in evolutionary terms, top biological imperative of creating her genes to our children and grandchildren is expressed in her own genetic investment in her drones – remembering that her workers cannot reproduce and therefore are thus a hereditary dead end.
Therefore the suggestion I created to the conference was that the biologically and logically legitimate strategy for regarding the honeybee colony can be as ‘a living system for creating fertile, healthy drones when considering perpetuating the species by spreading the genes of the best quality queens’.
Thinking through this type of the honeybee colony provides for us a completely different perspective, when compared with the standard viewpoint. We can now see nectar, honey and pollen simply as fuels just for this system along with the worker bees as servicing the requirements the queen and performing all the tasks necessary to ensure that the smooth running from the colony, to the ultimate function of producing top quality drones, that will carry the genes with their mother to virgin queens using their company colonies far. We can easily speculate regarding the biological triggers that create drones being raised at certain times and evicted or perhaps killed off at other times. We are able to consider the mechanisms that will control the amount of drones like a percentage of the entire population and dictate how many other functions that they’ve inside the hive. We can easily imagine how drones look like able to get their method to ‘congregation areas’, where they appear to gather when looking forward to virgin queens to pass by, once they themselves rarely survive more than around three months and hardly ever with the winter. There exists much we still have no idea and could never fully understand.
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