But in a hive in good condition, male eggs do not come from the workers ; they are laid by the queen, who places them in appropriate cells longer and larger than the others. And this suggests the question as to whether or not these male eggs are parthe-nogenetic like those of the fecund workers.
This was, in 1835, the idea of a Silesian beekeeper, Father Dzierzon, who afterward advanced it in his "Theory and Practice of the New Friend of the Bees." He writes:
The queen is fertilized once for all on her nuptial flight. Once returned into the hive with a quantity of spermatoza which fills her seminal receptacle, she occupies herself with her function as an egg-layer, fertilizing the eggs from which come the females (workers and queens), giving out parthenogenetic eggs when she wishes to produce males. And as the cells of the females are quite different from the cells of the males, and as she lays in each kind an egg of the appropriate sex, it is necessary to admit that she has a power of choice which permits her to lay the eggs of one or the other sex at will.
Such is Dzierzon's theory. It has a bearing which extends quite beyond the limits of bee-keeping, and we must examine a little more closely its two essential points.