With less than a one percent chance of successful reproduction, and a percent chance of dying after mating, male honeybees have it tough. But recent evidence suggests that human activity—including land development, electromagnetic pollution, and use of neonicotinoid pesticides—is making it even harder for honeybees to reproduce, to the peril of the species. Every spring these males, also known as drones, fly out to congregation areas, mid-air ballrooms where thousands of young bees gather from miles around to show their stuff. Each seeks to mate with a virgin queen, a week-old female destined from birth to found her own hive. Queens can lay 2, eggs on a good day. Each queen will mate with about twelve of her suitors, fewer than one percent of the males in attendance. The surviving bachelors buzz from one congregation area to another until they die at about six weeks of age—or until the arrival of fall, when resources grow scarce and worker bees decide to permanently evict their deadweight brothers. Drone corpses litter the ground outside the hive. Now, agricultural pesticides could be making this seemingly bleak life even more difficult. During her nuptial flights, the honeybee queen accumulates sperm in a special chamber in her abdomen called the spermatheca.
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By Felicity Morse Newsbeat social media producer. If you're not in the mood for romance this 14 February, spare a thought for these animals. From exploding testicles to post-coital cannibalism, the bees and insects of the animal kingdom will never ever receive roses and chocolates from their mates. The male honey bee is one example. His penis is doomed to be ripped from his body along with his intestines when he goes looking for love. During the mating flight, several male bees, called drones, will be selected from thousands of others in their colony to mount the virgin queen bee mid-flight. After copulating, the end of his penis rips off, his testicles explode and he falls to the ground dead, his abdomen severed from his body. His sole purpose is to mate with the queen, so even if he does survive this brutal amputation, he will be ejected from the hive, useless. Though bizarre, the honey bees explosive copulation is thought to make evolutionary sense as the tip of the penis remains in the queen, stopping another male from mating with her and allowing his genetic material to be passed on.
Sex is crazy you guys. From penis-fencing flatworms to the frantic love-dance of the Birds of Paradise to the beast with two backs we're all so busy making. In the spirit of celebrating the peculiar pantheon of sexual experiences that glut our good Earth, let us turn to the drone— the male honey bee. Drones develop from unfertilized eggs layed by the aptly named "laying worker bees" ; drones cannot sting and they don't get up to any other readily recognized "bee behavior" like nectar and pollen gathering, nursing or hive construction. Oh no. These sort of lucky bastards exist solely to get. Drones gather at "congregation areas" or mating sites, hailing from all different hives—sometimes gathering in numbers as large as 25, The queen bee mates with several drones during her mid-air, orgiastic copulation sesh; this ensures her female offspring will have multiple fathers with a variety of genetic origins.