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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Buderim, Queensland, Australia
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    187

    Default What Drone Sperm Volume Does an AI Queen Get

    When a queen is artificially inseminated, what sperm volume is she injected? The equivalent of how many drones when she is naturally mated?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Jacksonville, NC
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    254

    Default Re: What Drone Sperm Volume Does an AI Queen Get

    Depends on the desired outcome...But, genearlly speaking, 8-10 micro liters per single insemination. Some protocols, go for less semen volume, that is 2-3-4, micro liters, given in multiple insemination sessions.
    A good, sexually mature drone, would yield about 1 micro liter of semen. So, you would need to successfully collect 8-10 sexually mature drones as an equivalent of the semen volume she would otherwise get in an open mating stint...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    3,178

    Default Re: What Drone Sperm Volume Does an AI Queen Get

    From what I have seen the volume keeps rising. and has increased again in the past year. Likewise the number of drones a virgin is thought to mate with has also increased..again. Two years ago it was common to hear they mate with as many as 10 to 12 drones on average. Just a couple of months ago I was reading an article that now says it may be more like 20 on average. and far more than that in some cases.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Jacksonville, NC
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    254

    Default Re: What Drone Sperm Volume Does an AI Queen Get

    You are right Daniel Y...but...
    The question I have, is what volume of drone semen can a queen's spermatheca hold...Are the queens sperm holding volume increased lately? Bigger queens, larger reproductive apparatus?
    A lot of those drones , that age wise are mature, might be just "shooting blanks"...so the queens might be mating with more drones, but...that does not mean all those matings will contribute with a full micro liter of viable semen to the queen's spermatheca. Clearly, there is something that contributes to lower drone fertility lately... That could be low volume, no volume at all, or simply dead or mostly dead semen. The utility of AI/II, among other things... is to identify those "blank shooters".
    Now, I cannot give you any "peer reviewed" studies on that, just my personal observations.
    I've been "squeezing" a lot of mature drones this year...and there is no semen on that mucus...yet, those drones are flying... looking for a queen to mate.
    Just my 2 cents...

    P.S. Question for Daniel Y: Are you increasing the insemination dose also? Thanks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    3,178

    Default Re: What Drone Sperm Volume Does an AI Queen Get

    What the volume of the spermathica is I am not sure. I don't know that I have ever seen it mentioned. I suspect the 8 to 10 ml was arrived at due to the size of the spermathica. I think the changes in dosages has been arrived at due to observations and what produces a better quality fertilized queen. Avoiding the blanks. It does suggest that maybe the spermathica has a way to select what sperm it is filled with though. just maybe.

    I am in the process of getting my equipment and training for II. So I don't have to worry about increase. decrease. fertility of my drones and all that just yet. I saw your post and simply had the thought that you are venturing into the misty darker crevices of beekeeping. where your questions don't necessarily have answers. at least reliable ones. It is still in discovery.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    726

    Default Re: What Drone Sperm Volume Does an AI Queen Get

    There has been work done with different amounts of semen and comparing that to the amount of sperm actually stored in the spermathica. Note that when you inject the semen, you are doing so into the oviducts, not the spermathica. Sperm normally migrates into the spermathica in the 48 hour period after insemination or mating. Only about 10% of the sperm received is actually stored in the spermathica.

    Bigger queens often has to do with the queen having more fully developed ovarials. I don't believe the size (storage capacity) of the spermathica is affected. It's a very small round organ.

    In my experience the recommendation was 8ml. How many drones that represents varies significantly depending on the amount of semen each drone has and the insemination skill harvesting the semen. A single drone could produce as much as approximately 1ml, but in practice I've found you rarely get drones that productive or can't harvest the full amount for one reason or another.

    In addition, there is some mixing that occurs in the collection tube (see Joe Latshaw's work for reference on this). Mechanical mixing can also be done but it can be very easy to damage the long tails of the sperm.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Jacksonville, NC
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    254

    Default Re: What Drone Sperm Volume Does an AI Queen Get

    Right you are tarheit

    Indeed, when a queen is inseminated( or mated for that reason) the semen is deposited into the oviducts...and like you say, then it migrates and ends up being stored in the spermatheca. Some of it anyways...Because ultimately, the number of viable, normal, sperm cells that reach the spermatheca is what matters. Either via open mating or via AI.
    Harbo mentions in his work that with natural matings, queens retain aprox. 5.7 million sperm cells in their spermatheca. In order to get close to that via AI, he says, smaler volumes of semen ( 2.5 micro liters), have to be given multiple times.

    Lots of factors at play no doubt...very complex...very fascinating.

    But my reply was trying to follow up on Daniel Y's observation that lately, it takes more drones to mate/inseminate a queen than it did before.

    I hope, I did not imply that the semen is injected in the spermatheca...that is why I said, ... "Are the queens sperm holding volume increased lately? Bigger queens, larger reproductive apparatus?"

    Peace! Out to "probe" some more queens.

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