Drones

worker bees

worker bees

My father introduced me to the mysteries of the colony of honey bees that lived inside one of his hives.  There were thousands of worker bees, all females that had been stunted so they could not be egg layers.  They nurse larvae, clean the hive, protect the hive by stinging. They gather nectar and pollen from flowers as they pollinate them. They air-condition the hive by using their wings to fan air through the hive. Truly, they are the workers of the hive.

Drone bee

Drone bee

Then there are the drone bees. They are the males and are much fewer in number.  They do no work, except that a few of them will impregnate one bee to become the egg-layer of the hive known as the queen. 

When a hive becomes over crowded,  the workers select some eggs to give special treatment.  They feed the larvae from those eggs a special food called royal jelly and build an easily recognized longer cell so the larvae can develop into fully grown egg-laying females.

Queen honey bee

Queen honey bee

Before the first “princess” emerges from its cell, the old queen leads a swarm of bout 60 percent of the bees out of the hive in search of a new home. This is the way a colony reproduces.After the swarm is gone, the first of the young potential queens emerges from the cell.  She leaves the hive on a maiden flight followed by the drones.  The drones that fly as high the young queen are given the privilege of mating with her.  She extracts from the drone(s) as many sperm as she can. The drones die, but she returns to the hive with the ability to lay fertilized or unfertilized eggs at will for the rest of her life.   The fertilized eggs hatch into worker bees, the unfertilized become drones 

To summarize:  worker bees work,  queen bees lay eggs, and drones wait to mate.  Each lives for the good of the hive and performs valuable service in the surrounding environment. 

I write this to raise a complaint about the misuse of the term “drone” by the US military.  It seems to me that to name the most lethal weapon in the military’s store house a “drone” blasphemes creation and the Creator.  I look forward to the time when these deadly man-made drones lose their stings and are guided only by men and women of good will.  

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About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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