Drone eviction

honey bee drone eviction

Honey bee worker dragging a drone out of the nest.

At the end of foraging season workers can evict drones from their colony. In temperate climate this happens in autumn. Workers stop feeding drones, deny them access to honey stores and drag them from the nest [1]. Workers are more aggressive towards older drones [2][3][4]. More drones are removed from the colony during favourable weather [1]. It can take even few weeks to remove all drones from a colony [1]. Under starvation conditions drones are removed from colony faster [1][5]. Eviction of drones can be induced by preventing workers from foraging [6]. On the other the eviction can be delayed by feeding the colony in autumn [6].

Evicted drones starve to death because they do not collect food from flowers even if it is available.

Drone eviction does not occur in queenless colonies [7][8]. In one study drone eviction was not observed in queenright colonies [7]. This was probably caused by presence of food sources until late autumn.