How Do Bees Mate?


The Colony

  • The reproductive cycle of bees is unique, and is fundamentally interconnected with the caste system of bee colonies. Within any colony, there are three types of adult bees: the queen, male drones and female workers. A colony will typically have only one queen who lays all the eggs. Female workers are sterile and do not reproduce. Male drones mate with the queen to produce offspring.

Mating and Laying

  • The actual mating process usually occurs above ground in mid-flight, and results in the death of the drone as he expends semen. Bees practice internal fertilization and penetrative mating. When the queen lays her eggs, she lays them in the cells of a wax honeycomb built by workers. Eggs are laid one to a cell, and may be fertilized or unfertilized. Unfertilized eggs develop into male drones (yes, this is a highly unusual form of reproduction!) while fertilized eggs develop into females. Fertilized eggs are produced through mating with drones, which may or may not come from the same hive.

Hatchlings and Genetics

  • Within a few days, eggs hatch. At this point, the hatchling is in larvae form and resembles a tiny white worm. After about a week, the larvae enter the immobile pupae stage and their comb cells are capped by the workers. After another 8 to 10 days or so, a mature bee will emerge from the cell.
    There is no genetic difference between a queen bee and a female worker bee. The difference is developmental. When a new queen is needed, workers will feed a single new female bee a substance called royal jelly while she develops in a specially enlarged comb cell.

Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • What Are Carpenter Bees?

    Carpenter bees are best known for digging into trees and exposed wood. Although the bees can cause damage over time, they are...

  • Why Do Bees Pollinate Flowers?

    Pollination is the term used for the sexual reproduction and fertilization of one plant by another. Most plants require pollination from another...

  • How Do Bees Make Their Beehives?

    The way that bees make their beehives is an extraordinary achievement for such tiny insects. Different types of honey bees make their...

  • Life Cycle of Bees

    Bees gather nectar to make honey and pollinate vegetables, flowers and fruits that make them essential to our ecosystem. The life cycle...

  • How Do Flowers & Bees Help Each Other?

    Bees and flowers have a symbiotic relationship. The bees are dependent on the flowers for food and the flowers need the bees...

  • The Life of a Queen Bee

    A queen bee plays an important role in her hive. She is the only bee with completely developed reproductive organs and is...

  • How to Raise Queen Bees

    Raising queen bees can be a lucrative and rewarding experience. However, it can also be a confusing process, leaving many potential bee...

  • The Best Honeybee Breed for Beginners

    Beekeeping can be a rewarding hobby; you become more in touch with nature, you will have a steady supply of honey, and...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Build and Grow a Salad Garden On Your Balcony

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!