Bees normally mate on the wing. The male bees’ (drones), genitalia explode on successful copulation and they drop dead from the sky.
It amused me to imagine how male bees they might feel about sex if they knew the outcome – performance anxiety would be an understatement!
Many beekeepers have reported poorly mated queens in recent years which they attribute to various (often dubious) causes. I think my ‘performance anxiety’ hypothesis is more compelling.
Specialist bee-breeders use artificial insemination, a procedure that involves flipping the queen upside down in a clamp, opening her up with hooks and inserting a mini turkey-baster packed with drone semen. It’s a tricky technique but if performance anxiety continues it’s one that all beekeepers will have to master!