Stop Press: In the Apiary : Late July : Eviction Notice

Eviction Notice

Every year, the thrifty worker bees gang up on their free-loading half-brothers, the drones, and evict them from the hives. The female home-maker bees are jealously guarding their winter stores against the voracious and high-maintenance males, whose utility expires with the end of the queen-mating season. This normally happens in late Summer / early Autumn, as forage becomes scarce. The females chivvy the drones out of the hive with nippy bites, even de-commissioning the wings of persistent asylum seekers. Dainty and deadly. No mercy is shown. Starvation or predation await the astonished drones…

The strange thing in the Bermondsey Street Bees apiary this week has been that this process has already begun! What a year 2013 has been  – rotten weather early on, setting nature back 3 weeks from its normal cycle – until July ushered in a 3-week heatwave which put everything onto fast-forward. And now this !

But before you feel too sorry for the drones, it is worth bearing in mind that a living drone is, by definition, an unsuccessful drone. The fact that the drones’ lower abdomens are ripped out by the Queen during their airborne mating (with a “pop” like a champagne cork, apparently!) means that drones die the instant after they have passed on their genes to the Queen.

So guys, one way or the other, when you gotta go, you gotta go…


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