According to John Grigg, Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> Anything that helps the group survive improves the
> An example: Drones help a beehive survive. Just because they don't produce
> does not mean that they are an evolutionary dead end. Their evolution was
> crucial in the survival of hive-based groups. By having non-reproducing
> workers do all the engineering and work, this frees up the breeders to do
> nothing but breed. Neither could survive without the other. People who
> think that the breeders are highly evolved while the drones are unevolved,
> deviant evolutionary mistakes, is not recognizing the full range of
> evolutionary processes. Evolution developed the entire hive structure to
> allow the propagation of each succeeding generation.
The difference is that drones share many of the genes with the queen and with the other bees. I'm not sure of the details, but they may even all be clones of each other. At least that's how it is with ants. It is because the workers share so many genes with the reproducing organisms that group selection works effectively with hive insects.
Without such close kinship, group selection has a weak effect and will tend to be dominated by individual selection. An individual who reproduces will tend to have more of his genes propagated than one who does not but who benefits the group as a whole.