... After looking into the life expression of the queen bee and the worker bees, let us complete the picture by observing the drones.
These plump, amiable, gentle males are physically the largest and heaviest of the three kinds of bees in the hive. They have much larger feelers and much larger eyes than the workers; you can even hold them in your hand and they won't sting you since they have no 'weapon' at all! Their very distinguished important role within the hive seems to be limited to mating with the queen. And not all of them; only a few will perform that task. They are almost the opposite of worker bees: they don't work at all, they can't even feed themselves; the workers feed them. To an observer they play a very passive role among all the 'busy bees' until the 'right' sunny day. Then they fly up about 500-600 feet into the air, hovering in mysterious locations that attract drones from a radius as wide as eight to ten miles. The young queen fly up to these 'meadows in the sky', up and beyond the cloud of drones, followed by the lightest and strogest of them. Up to a dozen can mate with the queen - and die. The queen returns to the hive with enough semen to normally last her a lifetime, four to five years....
From Towards Saving the Honeybee by Gunther Hauk