CCPI is working with the Champlain College Apiary and Sustain Champlain to raise awareness about our campus apiary! We recently received a grant from the Green Revolving Fund to aid our efforts. This next post outlines what’s happening in the bee world!
All of us drone bees, including myself, got quite the awakening when Queen Betsy took her throne in the hive. None of us were really sure what our role in the hive entailed and, let me tell you, this was a horrifying way to find out.
It was the day after Bella left with half of our colony and moved to a cozy spot on the other side of town. I was glad to hear that part of the colony survived; we were all a little nervous when they left. Would they find a new home? Was Bella thin enough to make the flight? Now we’re just hoping they can make it through the upcoming winter.
But, I digress. A bunch of us drones were lazing around on flowers and sipping nectar and had given Evan the task of looking out for the new queen. We knew that someone had won the battle, but none of the workers would tell us who. They were all too busy making honey for the hive and feeding us–they didn’t have time to chat. Evan was more excited than any of us to find out: flying around from flower to flower, eating all the nectar and buzzing about how we were at a “hotspot” and were sure to run into the queen.
George, another drone bee, was only interested in mating with Queen Betsy because he had missed out on mating with Bella. What kind of attitude is that? He doesn’t care about helping the colony–he just wants the chance to be with the queen. It’s not our fault we were born just after Bella had finished her final nuptial flight. Of course, at the time, we didn’t know what was going to happen. We were all new drones, fresh out of the hive, and had never run into an elder drone. Now I understand why.
When Queen Betsy flew over the horizon, Evan buzzed his little heart out. Such a naive, determined little bee. He led a bunch of the drones into the sky and met with her around 300 feet in the air. I hung back on the flowers with the ones who fell asleep. I’d lost interest in mating when I found out I would be with Betsy; she wasn’t my type. But Evan was so excited. He just had to be the first one to mate with her.
It was horrifying to watch, actually. She flew towards him and I watched as they danced for a bit, buzzing around and mingling with each other. But when she flew away, I saw her take a piece of Evan with her. Literally. She took a piece of Evan with her. I watched as Evan fell out of the sky, spiraled through the flowers, and landed in a pile of dirt. I heard later from another drone that she ripped off everyone’s sex organs when she mated with them.
I buzzed over to Evan to see if he was okay, but his body was limp on the ground. I touched his wings gently with my foot, but they didn’t move. He didn’t buzz. He was gone. I looked up long enough to see six other bees fall to the same fate, including George. Serves him right.
As for the rest of us, we’ll be kicked out of the hive before the cold months come. We eat too much food and, in order for the colony to survive the winter and have enough to eat, we have to leave. But I’m grateful I didn’t fall to the same fate as Evan and George. They may have supplied Queen Betsy with what she needed to populate the colony, but I’m much more content lazing around on flowers, sipping nectar, and being fed by the worker bees. It’s an easier life.