Instrumental Insemination of Queen Bees


Honey Bee Picture Gallery

  1. Bee Pollinating Avocado Blossom

  2. A Honeybee Sitting on a Naked Lady

  3. Instrumentally Inseminating a Queen Bee

  4. Strange Drone Bee Mutations

  5. Beeing Intimate with a Flower

  6. A Cordovan Queen with Her Eggs

  7. Carniolan Bee on a Poppy

  8. Bee Making Orange Honey

  9. Honeybee Enjoying a Water Lily

  10. Honey Bee Taking a Sip of Water

  11. Italian Queen Bee Being Fed

  12. Queen Bee Hatching from a Queen Cell

  13. Apple Blossoms Pollinated by Honeybee

  14. Africanized Honeybee Queen

  15. Queen Bee being Marked and Clipped

  16. Varroa Sensitive Hygiene VSH Queen

  17. Honey Bee Queen Cells

  18. Bee Pollen and Bee Bread

  19. Multiple Bees Working a Camellia

  20. Queen Bee Introduction

  21. Grafting Queen Cells

  22. Honeybees and Gourd Art

  23. Ancient Egyptian Bee Hieroglyphics


Tom Glenn artificially inseminating a queen beecollecting drone honey bee semenInstrumentally insemination of queen bee


Honey bees are the only insect which can be instrumentally inseminated. The technique is over 50 years old. It is the only reliable way that the mating of queen bees can be controlled for breeding purposes. Normally a queen will mate in flight with 10 to 20 random drones high in the air and up to several miles away from their home colony.

Today honey bee breeders have selected disease resistant lines of bee, with traits such as Varroa Sensitive Hygiene, or VSH. This trait allows the bees to thrive without chemical treatments by using the bees' own behavior to keep Varroa mites from reproducing. This achievment in bee breeding was only possible with the use of instrumental insemination.

In the above photos, Tom Glenn is collecting the semen from a drone bee, then inseminating a virgin queen with the collected semen from many drones. The process is very humane towards the queen, as she is put to sleep with carbon dioxide during the procedure. She wakes up in a few minutes and within days she is getting on with her job of laying her own weight in eggs every day, about 2,000 eggs. About five million sperm to fertilize all these eggs is stored in an organ called a spermatheca. The sperm stay alive for years until they are used, 5 to 10 at a time when each egg is layed.

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