Why Queen Bees are So Darned Promiscuous
by Corey Binns
Seeking extra mates costs a promiscuous queen honeybee energy and time, and it puts her at greater risk of predation and catching venereal diseases. But it doesn't stop her.
For a healthier hive, the queens have sex with multiple males, according to a new study. While one male drone provides all the sperm a queen needs to be fully inseminated, she'll mate with a dozen or more.
So why is this wanton behavior worth the hazards?
"Evidently, one important reason is to generate diverse offspring, something that produces a colony that has higher disease resistance than a colony with offspring from just one father," said Cornell University biologist Thomas Seeley.
Seeley and North Carolina State University entomologist David Tarpy found that a colony fathered by more than one male was better equipped to fight off the infectious American foulbrood disease.
Yeah, it's good for the hive....that's my answer too.
4 years ago