Project Description

(Last Updated On: 24/05/2017)

The Male Honey Bee

Drone, Apis Mellifera

A study in Macro

The drone bees are the only male bees of a colony of honey bees. They can be easily identified from the workers, first of all by the pair of large bulging compound eyes. Furthermore, they are larger than the workers yet smaller than the queen. Also, there are fewer males in the hive in comparison to the workers and are rarely seen outside of the hive except in mating season where they seek out a young queen to mate with. As many as 20 or more males will mate with a virgin queen during her nuptial flight when he will perish in the act.

Some detailed images, click on a thumbnail below to enlarge

The Numbers

Probably up to a thousand drones are present in a colony during the peak season. The workers feed the young drones while the older drones will feed themselves honey from the storage cells. Since the sole purpose of the drones life is to reproduce, he becomes expendable outside of the mating season consequently they will be driven out of the hive by the workers as the winter season approaches and food becomes a scarce resource.


Identifying the drone is easier when you know how. The characteristics include:

  • large compound eyes

  • wider abdomen

  • no stinger

  • only exists to reproduce