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What’s the Lifespan of a Drone Honeybee?

Bees are an interesting and complex species, and their system works incredibly well. Even though the worker bees inside a hive are all females, there must be some males in the happenings, right? Yes—enter drone bees. Drone bees are the males of the honeybee world, but they don’t live for very long. Follow along to explore the lifespan of a drone honeybee.

They Live 30–60 Days on Average

The lifespan of all bees is relatively short compared with other species, as workers only live for four to six months. However, the lifespan of drone bees is especially short: 30–60 days on average. Many people don’t think an important part of the colony would die off so fast, but these male drones live long enough to carry out their purpose. That said, their lives depend on many factors—read on to learn more about their short but important lives.

They Have Just One Role

The one and only role of male drone bees is to mate with virgin queens during the spring/summer mating season. When young queens hatch, they must go on mating flights during the first few weeks of their lives. During this time, they mate with various drone bees and collect enough DNA material to reproduce for the rest of their lives. However, male drones die shortly after mating with a queen, as much of their body tears away when separating from the queen’s body.

The Workers Care for Them . . .

Because drone bees have only one purpose, they don’t have stingers to help protect the hive, honey stomachs or pollen baskets to forage, or the ability to produce honey. Therefore, they rely on the workers to care for them during mating season, and the workers feed and protect them willingly.

. . . And Then They Kick Them Out

Even though the worker bees care for the drones during mating season, their hospitality comes to an end when the weather begins to change. If there are still drones in the hive when summer turns to fall, the workers stop feeding them and kick them out to die. This sounds harsh, but the drones have no reason to remain in the colony after the mating season ends.

Bees are fascinating insects, and the inner workings of their colonies are like a fine-oiled machine; beekeepers just check in on them occasionally. After learning more about the lifespan of a drone honeybee, you might be more interested in keeping bees for yourself. Check out some bee nucs for sale in Billerica, Massachusetts, to get started!

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