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Mating behaviour of drone honey bees with queen models (Apis mellifera L.)

by Norman E. Gary, Jerry Marston
Animal Behaviour ()


. Wooden models of queen bees, when treated with queen pheromones and elevated (5 to 15 m), stimulated mating behaviour of flying drones. When sting chamber depths of 1.6, 4.8 mm or 'infinite' were tested at diameters of 1.6, 2.4, 3.2 and 4.0 ram, respectively, the 'mating' frequency for the respective diameters (all depths pooled) was 4.6, 20.0, 46.7 and 44.8 per cent (N = 240), respectively, for 762 drones that mounted the models. Sting chamber dimensions affected the degree of drone genital eversion. The median time between mounting and eversion was 2.4 s. Prolonged mount duration (median = 17.8 s) was observed when models had sting chambers too small to stimu- late eversion. The data document the brevity of mating and the open sting chamber requirement.

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