"Accidental" drones

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Sep 4, 2011
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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was inspecting a colony this afternoon which had produced beautiful frames of capped worker brood, but with perhaps half a dozen drone cells randomly dotted around.

This seems like an odd behaviour to be intentional to me. If the colony needs/wants drones (which as a swarm from earlier this year seems doubtful though not impossible), it's hard to imagine that a few per face of comb are useful. "Fixing" the comb pattern after a single drone-sized cell would seem to be more work than is required when they're drawing their own comb from starter strips, too. Why not draw all the drone cells you want in a single space (or several spaces with multiple cells in each)?

I'm wondering if it's more likely that once in a while the queen unintentionally lays an unfertilised drone egg in a worker cell after which point the house bees fix things up as best they can. I don't believe I've ever heard anyone mention this as something that can happen though.

Any thoughts?

How about this for a theory:
Workers are always produced from fertilised eggs. This is Diploid as it has two different genes.
Drone are produced from unfertilised eggs. This is Haploid as it has one gene.
But if an egg is fertilised with two genes but those genes are the same then a Diploid drone will result.

I assume (guess really) that those random drone are an accidental meeting of the identical genes.