The original photo for this post has been replaced with one that shows clearly what drones look like.
I took a closer look at the small number of photos we took during my first hive inspection on July 31st. I looked closely to see if I could spot the queen. I couldn’t, but I did notice a drone bee. So for your edification, here’s a drone bee. Drones are easy to spot because they’re thick and have a big black head. Drones are male bees whose only purpose is to mate once with a queen. If they don’t mate (and then die), they just hang around the hive and get fed. All the drones are kicked out of the hive to freeze to death as winter kicks in because they’re useless over the winter.
What happens to bees in the winter? Do they hibernate?
The bees huddle together for warmth and slowly eat away at their honey reserves over the winter. Many will starve or freeze to death, but they rebound in the spring once the queen starts laying up to 2000 eggs a day.
Ahh, the life of a drone bee. . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDkLSjsiqlM