The “Battle of the Drones”

  • Karl von Frisch


Long before starting to build their first queen cells, the worker-bees have constructed some drone cells, from which the first drones are due to emerge about the beginning of May—“ lazy, stupid, fat, and greedy”, according to the German poet Wilhelm Busch. Indeed they do not attempt to take any part in the collection of food, an activity for which they are not properly equipped by nature, anyhow. Most of them are too indolent even to help themselves to their own share of the hive’s food stores, leaving it to the worker-bees to feed them. The brain of the drone is smaller than that of both worker and queen—we are not left in any doubt as to the intellectual inferiority of the male in this case. The necessity of fertilizing the queen is the sole justification of the drone’s existence—each queen requiring but a single drone for this purpose. And yet extravagant nature produces hundreds and hundreds of drones in each colony fated to perish again without having ever gained their object in life; a fate which they share with many a living creature.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1954

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl von Frisch
    • 1
  1. 1.MunichGermany

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