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 - http://beeinformed.org/2012/04/3939/
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.