The drones are males and their primary function is to mate with virgin queens. They are raised in specially constructed cells that are larger than the worker cells. Genetically, drones are haploid, having a chromosome number of 16, in contrast to the diploid status of workers and queens, which have a chromosome number of 32. In temperate areas, drones are produced in large numbers, usually beginning in March, and are maintained until the first killing frost. A typical colony in summer will have 1000 to 2000 drones. Populous colonies sometimes will keep their drones into late November. Some scientists suspect that drones have functions other than mating, but no evidence has been forthcoming to support this viewpoint.
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