What is the origin of the phenomenon that individuals incapable of reproduction survive in an ant or bee colony??
When charles darwin developed his theory on the origin of species, ant and bee colonies were initially a thorn in his side. In the first edition of the "origin of species" he even admitted this: an individual that cannot reproduce reduces its fitness to zero in darwin’s model and was therefore no longer allowed to play a role in evolution. Of course, the naturalist could not miss the insect states – so he resorted to the amption that close-knit family ties could play a role. In addition, the advantages of a common food procurement and defense were obvious for him, too.
The phenomenon that some animal species go so far in their division of labor as to leave sexual reproduction to a few specimens is called eusociality. Depending on how broadly one understands the term, not only some insects belong to the eusocial creatures: even naked mole rats (see naked mole rats: africa’s wild wights) live in a community ruled by a queen.