A Hive of Sexuality: Love and Reproduction in Bee Colonies

Bees do it differently, that’s for sure. It is still a hive of sexuality: love and reproduction in bee colonies are just handled differently. A drone with a big penis buzzing around in the hope of getting some action, but sticking to the drone’s special territory. A virgin queen driven to find love in a drone’s desire, flies by and releases her special perfume, Pheromone No 5. The drones go wild and follow her in hot pursuit. When love comes to town for one acceptable drone bee it is on for young and, well, young.

The virgin queen opens herself for his endophallus and he inserts it into her vagina. Remember when you were young being told about the birds and the bees; well it is all true, shocking but true. Now, this is sex to die for, literally, because when he pops his load, and that pop is so loud that humans can hear it, his schlong explodes after ejecting all that sperm into her and our hero dies. That is what you call going out with a bang or a pop, maybe even a snap or a crackle.

The no longer virgin queen honey bee is not as stopped in her tracks as our fallen drone, no, she may mate with another fifteen or twenty drones after that first encounter. Talk about fatal attraction for our hapless male drones, as she makes her merry way through them in a single afternoon. Love and other bruises makes us all good losers; as the brave drones prove. When the queen bee has finished her romping she returns to the bee colony and struts her stuff. The worker bees who before did not give her the time of day are now mightily impressed. They are in her thrall. Love and sex have transformed our queen bee.

These worker bee attendants clean her, feed her and stroke her; and even remove the last broken penis from her vagina. What are friends for, hey? These devotee bees will follow her for the rest of her days. All that semen inside her will make its way through an oviduct and into a part of her called the spermatheca; she can hang onto that store of semen for up to five years. When our queen states laying she only fertilises the smaller cells with the sperm, as these are intended to become worker bees. The larger cells remain unfertilised and they become drone bees, as drones are clones. She lays up to around fifteen hundred eggs per day and that is the be all and end all of her job.