Drone Bees Job: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Elizabeth Hance

Elizabeth has taught elementary and middle school special education, and has a master's degree in reading education.

In this lesson, you will learn about an important bee in the hive: the drone bee. Although their lives may be short, the job of the drone is important to the survival of the hive.

What's the Buzz?

The drone bees are some of the largest bees in the hive, perhaps smaller than only the queen
drone

Chances are you've heard the familiar buzz of a honeybee, perhaps as it flew from flower to flower. Or maybe you've swatted one away when it got too close! But unless you have gotten close to a beehive, the structure in which bees live, you probably haven't seen a drone bee. And if you do, don't worry - drones don't have stingers, so even if they do swarm and seem scary, they won't sting you. You also won't see drone bees buzzing from flower to flower. Drones do not gather nectar or pollen, and they don't build the hive.

Working from Home?

So what work do drone bees do all day? What do they contribute to the hive? Drones only have one job: to mate with, or fertilize, a queen bee. But drones can't do their work from their home hive; they usually mate with a queen from a different home. Drones will fly from hive to hive to meet a queen bee from another hive. In this way, drones help keep hives diverse.

From the side you can see how large the eyes of a drone bee are
drone

Drone bees need some special skills to get their work done. First, they have especially good eyesight and larger eyes than other bees. Their eyes are almost twice as big as other bees', and they help them mate while they are still flying. And if the temperature gets too cold, drones can shiver to help warm up the hive. They can also use their wings like fans to cool the hive down.

Droning On

You can tell this is not a drone bee because it is gathering nectar from a flower
drone

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