Drones in an Age of Excess

I’m not talking about the drones that fly and spy in the sky on search and destroy missions… I’m talking about the drones in the queendom of apis mellifera. Larger in stature than their sisters, they have big heads, no stinger, and eat three times their sisters weight in the hive. The drones only role is to mate with the queen, impart their sperm for the next generations of workers and loll around the hive until the powerful mating instinct pulls them into the air to consummate their powerful urge for sex. Upon mating, they will have done their job.

William Longgood (The Queen Must Die: And Other Affairs of Bees and Men (NY: NY, W.W. Norton and CO, Inc., 1985) sees the drones as the epitomy of male chauvinism, with their huge bodies taking up space in the hive, no foraging capability or any other helpful qualities around the house, biding time until their lusty day in the sun with the virgin queen. Meanwhile they consume vast amounts of resources that the girls are working tirelessly to provide.


One of the unfortunate realities (that is, for drones) of honeybee life is the girl’s response to those who become a burden to the hive. They do not tolerate such skull duggery and excess for long. In the end, their luck runs out after mating season is over. The sisters kick out their brothers.

Hamid Bouchickhi wrote an article entitled “Healthy businesses can’t thrive forever in sick societies”. As a Business School professor he has some astute things to say about the increasing illnesses pervading our society— unemployment, precariousness, poverty, dislocation of social and family ties, solitude, suicide, and the rise of xenophobia.

Like any crisis, the one we live in is producing its scapegoat. Instead of addressing the structural problems generated by an increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, professional politicians are convincing the people that their difficulties are caused by immigrants, Muslims, Chinese and other incarnations of Sartre’s famous phrase ‘Hell is the other’…

Because they are at the forefront of wealth creation, economic agents (managers, shareholders, investors, entrepreneurs, workers, union leaders) must fully realize that they cannot prosper for long in a sick society.

We are living in the age of excess.

The highest office in this country will be held by a billionaire with a vast empire of wealth, suddenly given the” keys to the kingdom” and a window into ultimate power. Surrounded by a cabinet, with its own mass of billionaires, they are busily working with a congress to shield public eyes from the marriage of power and Mammon (look it up). Of course, Trump is only the manifestation of decades of eroding transparency around monied interests and power in the halls of Washington D.C. We are now having a mirror held up to see the sickness of greed paired with power which has been growing for a very long time. Back in 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. already identified materialism as one of the 3 evils. Pair that with the absolute power of militarism and racism, it creates a wicked brew that will destroy a society. Unless we stay vigilant as the people….we must all guard our own lives against excess.

The girls know what to do. When such a hunger overtakes the community’s resources, destroying the next generation’s future, they do not stand for it.

Blessed are you, Lord God, who in these your creatures, the bees, grant us a living example of industry and unity of purpose. Pour down your blessing upon them; curb their desire to swarm; grant them freedom from disease and abundance of nectar in the blossom, that by the sweet savor of their honey we may bless you in the joy of festal days. Glory to you, O Lord, glory to you.

—- The Community of the Servants of the Will of God, Crawley, England


2 thoughts on “Drones in an Age of Excess

  1. Jacqueline Freeman, in The Song of Increase, describes drones more like ‘priests’ or communicators. She says they are the only bee whose role involves going from hive to hive, sharing news.


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