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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How do bees actually mate? My birds and the bees moment

Yesterday I was pretty sick.  Massive headache and swollen eyes. I get that about once every 3 months and yesterday was the day. Could not write a thing, but my active mind was still active as always.
So, I thought getting some fresh air might help, and it was a nice, warm, sunny day.  Clear blue sky, not a cloud to be seen. I made my way out to the deck, grabbed a deck chair and just closed my eyes for an hour to try to beat the headache. Didn't work, but it felt good anyway.
As my eyes were closed I could hear the birds chirping to each other. I also heard a bee buzzing by me, as I have planted many flowers in the backyard.
That got me thinking of the song "The Birds And The Bees"
The line in that song I always remember is: 

 Let me tell you about the birds and the bees and the flowers in the trees and the moon up above and a thing called love
Let me tell you about stars in the sky and a girl and a guy and the way they kiss on a night like this
when I look into your big brown eyes its so very plain to see
that its time you learned about the facts of life
starting from a to z

 Of course, I am 47. I have kissed many girls and had more than my share of sex as the years have gone by. I don't need any lessons in the birds and the bees. I got that talk anyway when I was 10.
I know what my equipment is and how to use it on a woman with her equipment. There was that time when I wondered as a young guy if I would know where to put it, to find the hole. And what if I missed and couldn't get it in the hole? But, luckily for me, when the time came, I didn't miss.
Anyway, back to the birds and the bees. I started to look at the bees in the garden and wondered how they mated. I mean, dog and cats and horses and gorillas have obvious sex organs and we can see how they do it. For the most part, they do it exactly how we humans do it. In some cases, sadly, they last just as long as we do, but that is a story for another blog.
But bees? How do they do it? I can't see any sex organs on a bee and I have (not to my knowledge) even seen two bees mate. I am sure they do, because there are always more bees, but how?
So, today, as I was feeling better, I decided to find out about the real birds and bees.
Here is what my research came up with. 

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.

I think the thing we should take note of here is that only one female bee gets to mate and any male that mates with her and expends his semen dies as a result. In the bee world, only the Queen bee "gets some" and the male bee dies if he cums. I have new respect for those bees. Talk about paying the price to get laid.

1 comment:

  1. Informative. Information I quasi knew as I've been married as long as you've been.

    The one fact I did not know was the male bee giving his all like the grasshopper or the BW spider species.

    Your song brought me in and home - fun.


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Daily profile about a specific artist,their life, their work and their impact