The study shows that a little more than three quarters of the males perish after two hours of exposure to a temperature of 4°C, while no worker bee dies.
The group of scientists expected that this level of mortality would indicate a lower amount of stress survival proteins. Against all expectations, the data reveal that male bees have a high level of these proteins.
They are able to handle low-intensity stressors, but are easily pushed over the edge as they deplete their resourcessays Alison McAfee, postdoctoral fellow and lead author of the study.
Fortunately, their life is rather quiet. Their only role is to mate with a queen.
As far as we know, they don’t do anything else useful in the colony, says the bee fertility expert. They don’t clean the hive. Often they cannot even feed themselves and depend on the workers.
However, this work is essential for the sustainability of beekeeping operations.
There are economic consequences of not having enough male bees or having too many with low fertilityadds the researcher.
Global warming exposes these pollinators to increasingly difficult conditions. That is why
it is important to know that male bees are so sensitive to this kind of environmental stressconcludes Alison McAfee.