Drone behaviour inside the nest

For the first few days after emergence drones are fed by workers which are in age 4-6 days [1] see also [2]. During this time drones stay in the centre of the nest [3][4]. Maturation of drones can take up to 12 days after emergence [5]. Older drones spend more time on honey stores which are at peripheries of the nest. They walk on the combs, beg for food and groom themselves [4] but most of the time they remain inactive [1]. Drones older than seven days are not fed by workers and feed themselves from honey stores [1] but never collect nectar from flowers even if they are starving. Presence of drones can help in nest thermoregulation [6]. Some drones leave the nest with swarm [7][8] but do not fill their crop with honey [9].
Younger drones received more vibration signals from workers than older drones [10]. Drones receiving the signal had slightly lower thorax weight in comparison to drones at the same age not receiving the vibration signal [11]. After receiving the signal drones increased activity and interacted with workers more often [10]. The vibration signals occurred more often in the morning and there was no relationship between vibration signal and drone flight [10].

References

  1. Free J.B. (1957) The food of adult drone honeybees (Apis mellifera). British Journal of Animal Behaviour 5:7-11.
  2. Stout T.L., Slone J.D., Schneider S.S. (2011) Age and behavior of honey bee workers, Apis mellifera, that interact with drones. Ethology 117:459–468.
  3. Free J.B. (1960) The distribution of bees in a honey-bee (Apis mellifera L.) colony. Proc. Roy. Entomol. Soc. London (A) 35:141-144.
  4. Ohtani T. (1974) Behavior repertoire of adult drone honeybee within observation hives. J. Fac. Sci. Hokkaido Univ. (ser. 6) 19:706-721.
  5. Ruttner F. (1966) The life and flight activity of drones. Bee World 47:93-100.
  6. Kovac H., Stabentheiner A., Brodschneider R. (2009) Contribution of honeybee drones of different age to colonial thermoregulation. Apidologie 40:82-95.
  7. Burgett D.M. (1971) A study of the behavior of drones in swarming honey bees Apis mellifera L. MSc thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca.
  8. Avitabile A., Kasinskas J.P. (1977) The drone population of natural honeybee swarms. J. Apic. Res. 16:145-149.
  9. Burgett D.M. (1973) Drone engorgement in honey bee swarms. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 66:1005–1006.
  10. Boucher M., Schneider S.S. (2009) Communication signals used in worker–drone interactions in the honeybee, Apis mellifera. Animal Behaviour 78:247–254.
  11. Slone J.D., Stout T.L., Huang Z.Y., Schneider S.S. (2012) The influence of drone physical condition on the likelihood of receiving vibration signals from worker honey bees, Apis mellifera. Insectes Sociaux 59:101-107.