Monday, 3 June 2013

a field studied with red eyes

Honeybee drones observed in hive 2nd June 2013

Drones with red eyes is a phenomenon we had not seen or noticed before our hive inspections yesterday. We were alarmed and as a conscientious field student 'our man in E17' did some research to find an explanation and allay his and our fears. The top image is of a drone with black eyes as we would expect and next down is an image of a drone with reddish eyes - a red I thought quite ruby or rubine even if a little tarnished. The phenomenon does not, as far as I am aware, signify any disease. Drones can have eyes other than the 'wild type' black because they develop from unfertilised eggs and thus recessive genes are expressed.

A field worker explains in some more depth here -

The increasingly red eyed field student returned to the allotment this evening and admired the Brussel sprouts of the Rubine Red variety growing with what seems to be a refreshing health and vigour. When the stems and veins started turning black the field student feared another alarming metamorphosis was taking place.

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