Queen Bee Mating Roles

During the mating flight the queen the drone’s penis bulb is discharged by eversion of the penis into the queen’s vaginal pouch. After mating the queen separates from the drone and the male penis bulb remains in the female. The organ is torn from the male at the penis neck. The queen may mate with several drones during the flight. The spermatozoa are discharged in the distended lateral oviducts. Once back at the hive, the workers remove the penis bulb from the queen. The spermatozoa are then moved into the vagina and then the spermatheca gland where they remain for the productive life of the queen – up to 5 years. If the queen “runs out of semen” she will only lay unfertilized drone eggs.