The Drone Bee
The drones are the male bees in the colony. Their sole function is reproduction. Drones who succeed in mating with a queen during her nuptial flight perish in the act.
Drones are larger and heavier than the workers, but not as long as the queen. It is easy to identify a drone by its large compound eyes that come together at the top of the head.
Usually several hundred to several thousand drones are present in a colony during the active foraging season. The young drones are fed by the workers; the older drones feed themselves honey directly from the storage cells. During the season, should the food supply diminish for any reason, workers waste no time in ejecting drones from the colony. After the first heavy frosts in the fall reduce the supply of nectar and pollen, the colony preparing for winter begins to drive the drones from the hive. They soon starve to death.