Honeybees have haplodiploid sex determination. In humans, an X chromosome and a Y chromosome
means that you’ll be a male (typically). Two X chromosomes will be a female. But bees do things
differently; the queen bee will lay a ton of eggs, and these unfertilized eggs will each have one sex
chromosome. If a male worker bee fertilizes an egg, it will develop into a female bee. Otherwise, the
unfertilized eggs develop into males. Thus female bees have two sets of sex chromosomes (we term
them ‘diploids’) and male bees only have one set of sex chromosomes (haploids).
What is Parthenogenesis?
The word parthenogenesis originates from the Greek language meaning virgin birth. Parthenogenesis is
a form of reproduction where the unfertilized egg will develop into a DRONE BEE. This asexual
reproduction occurs in various species in nature.
How Parthenogenesis was discovered?
J. A. Janis wrote that a new QUEEN BEE will hatch from an ordinary fertilized egg. He also claimed that
an unmated QUEEN BEE will lay eggs from which will only be born DRONE BEES.
Important Research Task and Experiment
J. A. Janis performed an experiment and discovered that in late beekeeping season a selected hive with
the young BEE LARVAE and WORKER BEES and without the QUEEN BEE produced a new QUEEN BEE that
could not mate at all. Janis wrote about this with excitement particularly when this QUEEN BEE laid eggs
into the WORKER BEE cells from which hatched only small DRONE BEES.
Also J. A. Janis denounced A. G. Schirach's thought that from any egg will be born a WORKER BEE.
Fertilized or Unfertilized Eggs of Bees
Fertilized eggs will develop into a QUEEN BEE or WORKER BEE but this depends on the size
and type of the cells and on the composition of food fed to the BEE LARVAE by the
WORKER BEES. The QUEEN BEE cells are the largest built by WORKER BEES on the
The DRONE BEES are always born from unfertilized eggs. The drone bee cells are 15 percent larger than
the worker bee cells.
Kinship and Bees
The QUEEN BEE mates with numerous DRONE BEES high in the air. The polyandry in honey bees and the
phenomenon of parthenogenesis creates a superorganism in a beehive colony. The WORKER BEES who
share the same father (DRONE BEE) are called SUPER SISTERS because they are more closely related to
each other than their SISTERS who have different fathers (DRONE BEES).
Types of Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) in a Hive
1. The QUEEN BEE is the only mated female in a hive.
2. The WORKER BEES cannot mate with the DRONE BEES.
3. The DRONE BEES are male bees and mate with a virgin QUEEN BEE high in the air outside her hive.
Age of Worker Bee is Important
Newborn WORKER BEES clean out the honeycombs two days after their birth. During the next three
weeks these bees perform various duties that run to a precise timetable. Afterwards they fly out to
collect pollen or nectar or water and propolis which they will eat or use or store in their hive.
Complicated Flowers and Bees
What came first on Earth? Was it a bee or a flower? Complicated flower structures require bees with the
exact body sizes and tongue lengths to pollinate them. The Echium vulgare is an example: it bears purple
tubular flowers which allow only the bee (Apis mellifera) to reach their nectaries. This is an example of
an excellent interaction between honey bees and flowers. Without honey bees there would be no
flowers and without flowers there would be no honey bees.
Pollination and Honey Bees
Any beekeeper is very valuable for keeping honey bees by his or her contribution to
pollination. It is not easy to place a money value on it. This pollination is very important
that even farms that raise cows depend on honey bees to help grow quality Alfalfa for
them. Alfalfa plants pollinated by insects other than honey bees will produce a yield of
125 lbs. (57.7 kg) of seeds from the 2.5 acres (1.11 hectare) compared with a yield of 441 lbs. (200 kg)
when alfalfa plants will be pollinated by the honey bees.