entirely genetic in origin. being white eyed they cannot see and therefore never pass on this trait directly. there is a similar genetic combination that produces red eyes but them boys can see and they do pass on their genetic make up. quite startling to open up a hive and seen numbers of these poor guys all lookin' a bit like zombies.
Real cool, Tec.
Now, playing devils advocate, How do you (we) know for sure that these drones are blind? I realize that with most animals-that is the indicator-but how do we know for sure?
Great pics, though.
good question gunsmith. can't say I have done any test myself or asked my wife how you might even design a test to tell for sure. I can tell you I read in Wilson's 'Honey Bee Biology' the details of both the snow eyed and the red eyed drones. I am assuming (I know, I know... yep, yep, yep) that Mr Wilson knows his stuff about bee biology.
I think (can't recall all the detail) the snow drone eyes is a double recessive characteristic and the red eye is a single recessive. If the snow drone males did mate then you would see quite a bit more of both snow drone eyes and red drone eyes... that is the genetic probabilities involved would give you more of both so that neither combination would be rare.