A honey bee drone quiz

Drones arise from haplodiploidy so they have no father.

Since I haven’t posted a quiz for a couple of years, I decided to resurrect the one on honey bee drones. The quiz is just for fun and I’m not collecting names or any personal data. This quiz is a trial run, mostly to see if I can get the new software to work.

Just answer all the questions and click “Submit” at the bottom. With any luck, you should immediately see your score and an explanation of the correct answers. You should also be able to comment, just like in a regular post. On to the drones…

A honey bee drone on a blade of grass. Take the honey bee drone quiz and test your knowledge of the male part of the colony.

A honey bee drone on a blade of grass. Take the honey bee drone quiz and test your knowledge of the male side of the colony. Pixabay photo.

In order to see the answers at the end of the quiz, please respond to all questions.

What is a drone?

How many times can a honey bee drone mate?

In comparison to a worker bee, a normal drone has how many chromosomes?

Where do drones mate with queens?

What is a drone congregation area?

In a healthy and mature honey bee colony, how much of the brood comb is designed to raise drones?

Because drone cells are so large, they are never used for honey storage.

Drones have more body segments and antenna segments than workers.

What is a drone comet?

What is a drone layer?

What is a mating sign?

What is a diploid drone?

How many times can a drone sting?

The spermatheca is an organ in the drone where sperm cells are produced.

Compared to worker bees, how long does it take a drone to develop from egg to adult?

What is the special relationship between honey bee drones and varroa mites?

What is a drone fly?

Drone evictions occur in the spring just as virgin queens begin to emerge. Unless the workers evict the drones, they won't go out to mate.

What is drone trapping?

Honey bee queens are polyandrous, which means each queen mates with many drones.


  • Rusty,

    I am not smarter than a fifth grade beekeeper! (70%) On another note, I have noticed a notoriously dangerous fault of mine while checking my bees during warm spells in the winter months. I have found that it is very easy to close up a hive in a hurry without closing it up properly. On more than two occasions I have placed the outside cover over the hive leaving it slightly ajar. Just this week I did it to two of my hives leaving them like this overnight. During the coldest months, this could certainly cause death to the hive. The bees are the first to let me know that something is wrong, as they fly about the next day in a panic, if it is not too cold for them to fly. This could be a tragic mistake for any of us who do not take the time to be thorough. Thanks for all of your comments and information.

    Second year beekeeper,
    Ron German
    Roca, NE

  • I was worried about that first question!!! But as you can see, I aced the quiz…except for those I missed???

  • Yeah I got 80%…(Oops didn’t read one question right should have had about 85%)…Not too bad for a first year beekeeper that has never attended a course and just learns things off the internet. I learned a few things I’ll remember for next time around.

  • Thanks for the quiz. I got 75% but half of my answers were guesses. I learned a lot! I am fascinated to learn drone congregations are 12 to 34 meters in the air. Why so high? And, from how far away do drones come to a particular area?

    • Alice,

      Those are both good questions. I don’t know why they are so high, but somewhere I read (I think is was in The Hive and the Honey Bee) that drones will fly about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to a DCA.

      • Fascinating that they “know” where to go and when. Learning about bees has become my favorite pastime. 1.5 miles…so much for those who claim that they have a certain breed/variety of honey bees. I guess that’s why I see so many different colors of honey bees in my boxes!

  • Thanks for the quiz. I knew the things I was a little shaky on and I was right! This is a helpful tool to show what one needs to brush up on!

  • I thought that drones had additional antenna segments but didn’t think they had an additional body segment so I put false (bzzzzzz).

    Fun quiz.

  • Sorry. I live in Fremont Co. But I enjoy the e-mails and info. Liked the test. I have listened to just a bunch of the talks from the National Honey Show but you had info in the test I hadn’t heard. Still scored an 80%.

    Thanks to all of you.

  • Ron,

    Use a laundry marker and put a line where the top joins the box when properly fitted…quick glance around the box after putting lid on…if you clearly see the line…the lid is not on and you will know which side is not down.

    I did like the first question as it made me feel more comfortable knowing this is a bee sight…otherwise the guesswork would have been much more difficult…since I have known a few drones especially a few teachers in school environments in an already boring but required class of study…don’t get me wrong…love school.

  • I guessed a few and got 71%. I got a couple wrong that I really should have known. Learn something new. Claire in Melbourne, Australia

    • Brian,

      Are you serious? After seeing this, I took the quiz again to test it, and I got 100%. Do you know which question caused the problem?

  • Nice quiz and it made me really think on things we just assume. I feel we spend too little time on drones in our beginner classes. Enjoy all your post and learn something from each. Keep them coming. Got 85% and should have known the ones missed.

  • A fun quiz! The technology worked well. It would be fun to see the distribution curve on the scores. I got 65% and learned the most about drone/bee genetics and natural history. I didn’t realize varroa mites showed a preference for drone cells, I did know they reproduced more successfully in drone cells. So I assume a controlled study was done with mites given a Y maze or some such choice to define their preferences?

    • Charles,

      I read that there is a drone pheromone that attracts the mites. And that makes sense because evolution would favor those mites that could detect drones cells since, as you say, they reproduce more successfully in those cells due to the longer brood cycle.

  • 70%, not very good Rusty, and why is it that when we take a multiple choice test and then see the answers we always say “oh dear, I knew that, how did I manage to get that one wrong!!” Ho hum. I enjoyed it though.

    Weather update: it’s turned seriously cold in the UK, bit worried now, poor bees!

  • Well, I guess I’m a B student too. I’m just waiting to get started in my second year as a beekeeper, and the snow is blowing out of the north like crazy and its minus 13 Celsius. I’m in Northern British Columbia and just getting organized and building feeders that I salon this site as well as shims. So not a carpenter. So far the girls are out on nice days, and I hope some of them are. making it back home, there are lots of dead ones on the snow.
    I like this site for the info as well as the humour.

  • Got 80%!

    I was put on the wrong foot by the 1st question and I made an estimation error at question number 6…….

    Must say I do like these kind of quizzes. They are a good refresher.

    Give us more of these, Rusty!

    • Peter,

      I can tell you two things. I have results with no names or emails attached. And the results are interesting. Very few 100%, but a few. Some as low as 20%. It’s hard to look at them all because there are 20 tests on a page and the pages go on forever. However, it seems like the average is around 60%. Most people who only get one wrong get the first one wrong.

      The other thing I can tell you is it took me forever to write that thing. I do plan to do more, maybe once a month, but I need to get speedier somehow!

  • Not a beekeeper yet didn’t take the test for score so no mentioned of how I did, but I did find knowledge about drone bees never heard in the past (don’t have friends who play with bees).

    I took the test 4 times…first time didn’t answer some questions not comfortable with…didn’t read directions fully (must answer all to get results)

    2nd time answered all that remained of the first test still missing about 2 and final test completed all…But the forth test was just to be sure I understood it all and passed it with no misses….
    For a non beekeeper I did OK from my perspective.

    I now know the difference between a drone bee and a drone non human flight device that’s a peeping tom around neighborhoods, or a danger to commercial aircraft.

  • 90%. Good quiz! Forgot drones have an extra body segment, not just extra antenna segment 🙁
    I like drones, such gentle creatures. Underappreciated, in my opinion.

  • Live and learn! Great quiz, thank you. You must have had great fun composing some of those alternatives answers 🙂

  • Well, I did terribly…but thanks for posting it! Whenever you make mistakes; you learn!! 🙂

  • 90% – diploid drones and the extra segments caught me out. Off to read more about diploid drones. Appreciated all the amusing answers!

  • Non beekeeper in South Africa here, but love your site and read regularly. 55% for me, but now know more about drones.

  • Rusty,

    I was planning to get a jump on things this year and rolled the dice on ordering my bee replacement packages for the second and third week delivery. In my mind I was thinking second week delivery meant second weekend of April, “silly me”. Second week meant second scheduled delivery just like it sounds, right? Which in this case is the first Saturday of April. Now why would I assume that meant second Saturday of April, Hum…. Now I’m starting to get a little nervous because this crazy apocalyptic weather pattern doesn’t seem to be letting up, and it sounds like another Armageddon type winter event is gearing up to hit us again this week in PA.

    Do you have any suggestions on how I should feed a new bee package if the temps don’t cooperate this April. I can install them in the hive by bringing them into my heated garage and keeping it just under 50. That will get them hived safely enough, but should I use sugar blocks to feed once placed back outside if its too cold for syrup? I plan to place as many dead out frames of partly capped honey toward the center of the hive for them to cluster on. I should have about 4 frames per hive with honey, the rest are drawn out but empty. Maybe I’m just being a worry wart but at $145.00 per package I need to ensure a safe install.

    I kind of hoping the weather pushes them back a week, but as of now they are still on for April 7th as week two. I think I’ll be okay for my second package of week 3 the temps are usually stabilizing by that time around here. One week makes all the difference up here on the mountain. This is too nerve wracking, any more I only order for week four delivery. Thanks.

    • Jeffrey,

      It sounds like you have enough honey frames to get them started. Put the frames on either side of the brood frames, though. Not in the middle. Then, to be on the safe side, you could put a small sugar block just above the cluster. That way they stay warm and clustered in the center, have honey on both sides, and an emergency brick on top. That should work. You don’t need to bring them inside unless it makes you feel better.

  • Great quiz!! I didn’t do as well as I thought, but I sure did learn a lot. Thanks for the quiz and answers. Hope you will do another one soon!

  • I got 65%, not bad considering I won’t even get my bees until late uk spring! ?
    Thanks for posting it it helps me to learn.
    Many thanks, Graeme in Somerset, England

  • I just got 100%. Yay me!

    This just means I remembered all the ones I got wrong over a week ago, AND all the ones I got right. (Still, yay me, right?)

    I loved the first question because I love wordplay, but it also served as a reminder to read everything before answering.

    Even though I say more quizzes please, I appreciate it’s really easy for me to say that someone not me should do work, so instead of saying do more quizzes I say do as many quizzes as you find entertaining.

    • Roberta,

      It took me all this time to decide on a topic for the next quiz, but as of last night, I got it. That’s the hard part. We’ll see how it goes.

  • 95%. I, too, forgot that drones have an extra body segment so thought that was a trick question! Great learning tool. Can’t wait for the next one. Thanks for all you do!

  • 85%, just entering my second year. I wanted to leave one question blank, because I’ve never heard of a drone fly 🙂 Turns out I made a good guess on that one, although bad guesses on a couple others. I’ve been reading up on drones a lot lately, because of some of the behaviors in my hive. Looks like most of the info stuck.

  • Terrific quiz, Rusty. Thanks! I keep returning to your site as I learn so much. You provide very clear explanations and tackle topics I often find it hard to get good information on. Shout out from Australia btw!??

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.