What Happens to Male Bees When They Mate?

Ashley | 05 - 26 - 2021

The limited copulation opportunities for males lead to an increased sperm quantity and quality, ensuring a definite pregnancy in many species.  So, here is what happens to male bees when they mate.

Do Male Bees Die after Reproducing?

Yes, male bees like honey bees, wasps, and orb weavers die immediately after mating. The death is usually due to being physically incapacitated rather than due to sexual cannibalism in these species. 

How Do Bees Reproduce?

Before answering the question “How do bees mate?” knowing the members of a beehive is necessary:

Which Bee Dies After Mating?
  • A. Drone Bees
  • B. Queen Bee
  • C. Worker Bees
  • D. All of the Above

Queen bee is the only fertile female in the colony. Drone bees place a fertilized egg that is less than 3 days old in a vertically hanging cell inside the hive. This larva is fed royal jelly throughout her larval period and grows to become the next queen bee. 

While fertilized eggs become female worker bees, the remaining unfertilized eggs produce male drone bees. The females gather nectar, whereas the only purpose of a drone bee is to impregnate the queen.

The male drones and the queen mate in a similar fashion as any other insect. While the drones die after mating, a queen can mate only once. She collects 100 million sperms and stores them in her oviduct, out of which the fertile ones move to her spermatheca which will be used for reproduction. 

Do Male Bees Die After They Mate?  

Stinging causes female worker bees to lose their bowels because the stinger and their digestive system are connected. Drone bees are equivalent to worker bees but instead of stingers, it is their endophallus or bee testicles. So yes, male bees die after they reproduce.

Do Bees Explode When They Mate?

When the abdomen of male bees detaches from the queen it may look like the bee’s testicles exploded and caused the bee’s death. But actually, it is the endophallus stuck inside the queen that causes the male bee’s abdomen to rip open, killing it.

Male Animals That Die after They Mate

  • Australian Red Back Spiders
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Marsupials like Kalutas
  • Black Dragon Fish 
  • Furcifer Labordi Chameleons

Your bee-time quiz starts now.

Read Next