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  1. #1
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    Default Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    I say not.

    Concepts like "queen," "male," and "female" are anthropomorphisms.

    The drone carries the sperm (gamete) of his mother. He is entirely a creation of his mother. The drone has no father and can have no son.

    Although the drone is functionally a male, the virgin queen is actually mating with the mother of the drone.

    The entire order Hymenoptera (bees, ants, wasps) is one of the oldest insect orders and probably pre-dates the evolution of "male/female."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    Seeing as the mother is diploid: one gamete from her "mother" and one gamete from her "father" then a drone has a 50% probability of being derived from a "grandmother" gamete or a "grandfather" gamete (assuming no genetic mixing during the pre-meiotic mitotic divisions of the germ cells).

    So, while a drone may not be able to give rise to a "son", he certainly could give rise to a "grandson".

    Also, the order Hymenoptera is actually a relatively recent insect order and so is considered "newer" on the evolutionary scene. The fact that they are holometabolus alone (have a pupal stage, among other things) is evidence of this--unlike the more primitive insect orders like the Odonates (dragon/damselflies) and Blattarids (roaches). That being said, they have been around much longer than the hominid line, of which we are the tip.

    Anyway, back to your question: they do mate as defined by the delivery of gametes by the drone to the queen spermatheca (the organ where she stores sperm). Do they "enjoy" it? Now that is an anthropomorphism.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    ...... wow

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    MethowKraig;
    It's not April first, yet.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    Quote Originally Posted by MethowKraig View Post
    "anthropomorphism"
    Makes you glad we don't do it like they do it.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post
    Do they "enjoy" it? Now that is an anthropomorphism.
    But is enjoyment a chemical response to fulfilling a biological need? Enjoyment seems to be more than an anthropomorphism in grooming and play in many... mammals. Likewise, although a colony can continue to live without a queen (but not reproduce) it gets 'demoralized' (another anthropomorphism?). On an individual level bees seem to need or dare I say enjoy being in the company of other bees.

    Enjoyment must have a function, no?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    I stand corrected on the evolutionary age of Hymenoptera. I mis-read Wikipedia.

    But I still say the virgin is mating with the mother of the drone.

    The drone is just a delivery mechanism.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    Ultimately we are all delivery mechanisms for our parents so, in that sense, you are right.

    The function of "enjoyment" is probably to keep things working they way they are supposed to but we may be one of the few creatures that are actually aware of the sensation and can reflect upon it after the fact.

    Anyway, one has to wonder about some mating mechanisms--like with bed bugs. Traumatic insemination can't be that enjoyable for the females (the male actually punctures the female exoskeleton to deliver sperm).

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrbbees View Post
    Makes you glad we don't do it like they do it.
    Imagine trying to say that while you are drink. "Would you like to go "anthropomorphism"? You would be setting their alone with the bar locked up for the night before you got your tongue around it.

    The Honey be is without a doubt a strange creature when it comes to the passing on of genes. the father is eliminated that is true. but the grandfather is as much a factor as the grandmother with the mother just being the mixing pot. The great unknown factor is teh Drone. given any queen could have mated with dozens. Passed the traits of any single of of those to the particular daughter and then an unknown quantity of those genetics are then passed on to the grand daughter. Any given queen could be anything from 0 to 100% the genetics of their grandfather.

    To simplify it I like to think of a Drone as an egg with wings and the ability to mate. The genes it posses are only the genes possessed by it's mother but a random combination of her genes. and half of her genes came from a drone. A Drone that was once again nothing more than an egg with wings and a few extra parts.

    It would seem that the drone then plays little roll in the genetics of the colony. but the opposite is not only true but true to a multiplied factor. If you look at the entire genetic makeup of a colony. the queen contributes only one full set of genes. while the drones she mated with could add as many as a dozen or more complete and distinct sets of their own. Each set of Drone genes is complete and self contained so it is not part of one drone and part another that is getting passed on to a worker or a virgin queen. but the full set of genes from any one of the multiple sets of drone genes. Producing multiple virgin queens increases the likelyhood that all drones that mated with that queen will pass on and survive to produce a future colony.

    With control over a queen you can control one set of genes in the future colony with control over the drones you have control over anywhere from a hand full to 20 or more sets of genes. In II they may mix the genes of 200 or more drones for the semen that they use to fertilize virgin queens with. That is a lot of genetic diversity in one small package.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    rones are a colny's testicles.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  11. #11
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    Yeah Mark, How woudl yo like to be able to send you testicles out to do their thing while you stayed home and watched football and drank beer? You want to go fishing but the wife wants the lawn mowed. Who gets to stay at home and work? I think the bees are onto something here.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    What does what I want to do have to do w/ the way things work in a beehive? I don't watch football, drink beer (very often), fish or mow lawns.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  13. #13
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    What does what I want to do have to do w/ the way things work in a beehive? I don't watch football, drink beer (very often), fish or mow lawns.
    Bees don't mate in the hive. You gotta learn to relax a little Mark.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post

    I like to think of a Drone as an egg with wings and the ability to mate.
    Really?
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    I think ya'll have way to much time on your hands.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    Quote Originally Posted by Broke-T View Post
    I think ya'll have way to much time on your hands.

    Johnny
    Really? I'm actually in the middle of working on a talk to be given next Saturday as part of the "festooning" festival at Boston University - "Family Values" in the context of the beehive. "Fatherless Sons", "The Girls Have Two Mommies", "Blended Families" and "Heather (the hive) Has Thirty Mommies (if she's lucky)" are concepts we cover in bee genetics and breeding talks but from a more serious perspective. ("Potty Mouths", "Women in Combat" and "Family Planning" will also be covered in my talk as well as "Barefoot and Pregnant", "Unsafe Sex" and "Promiscuity Leads to STD's (Significantly Tougher Descendants)" and many other topics.)

    I'm with Methow - drones are the physical means for the genetics of two queens to get together...the drone provides the physical means to insert the genes. All of his sperm are identical to his own genes and his genes are only coming from his mother. You need an outtie for the innie, hence the drone, the physical extension (literally) of the queen.

    Now to the plant aspect: the bees are actually participating in inter-kingdom sex-for-hire. Plants are rooted and can't get together so some employ the pollinators, by means of pollen and nectar as currency, to swap their DNA. So...the "workers" practice chastity among their own kind but salad-ize flowers outside the home.

    As for the anthropomorphizing, we're human, so that's what we do. If we didn't, I would have no talk on Saturday

    Ramona

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    "workers" practice chastity among their own kind but salad-ize flowers outside the home".

    Sound like it is going to be an interesting and entertaining presentation.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post
    Do they "enjoy" it?
    I imagine they would describe it as "heavenly."

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    Jrbbees - Only those of us in the Mile High Club do it like the bees do it, but we'd have to do it outside the airplane. WEEEEE!.

    Ramona - You're HOT! Wish I could attend your lecture. If there is an effort to record it, we'd love a post, or a live feed.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Does a virgin queen actually mate with a "male" bee?

    After skipping thru this, I am in complete agreement with Johnny (broke t). You'll have way too much time on your hands. Just my $.02 worth. Most of us understand the breeding methods and genetic distribution of the honeybee. What some of you are doing is taking many of us out of our comfort zone with your Doctoral way of explaining a very simple process. Make sense?
    So much to learn, so little time!!

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