March 3, 2024

If You Listen Carefully, You Can Hear A Bee Ejaculate

It’s 2023 and you know you can hear bees ejaculate. The explosive way in which they transfer sperm is what causes the “pop” of bee copulation, and if it makes you uncomfortable you should know that the male drone is feeling much worse.

Drones, which are male bees, come into this world with one purpose. They have no stinger, so they can’t protect themselves, they don’t collect pollen, so they can’t feed themselves and instead rely on help from female worker bees. The only thing they know how to do is screw up, but that doesn’t end well.

When the queen reaches sexual maturity at seven days old, she takes to the air for a pre-nuptial mating flight, known as a “nuptial flight”, releasing irresistible pheromones as she does so. This lies in the drones hot on the tail of the queen, eager to pass on her sperm.

Sperm transfer in bees is an uncharacteristically violent process, and like many other mating rituals among insects and arachnids, the males come out worse. Hitting the back of the queen, the drone’s endophallus (the bee’s answer to a penis) explodes into her buzzing chamber creating a pop sound that is – amazingly – audible to the human ear.

That’s right, you can hear a bee ejaculate.

When an endophallus bursts into your hit room, it seems like a rough thing, but the queen will continue on her nuptial flight to mate with another dozen or so drones, so it doesn’t affect them too negatively. The men on the other hand, hoo boy.

“The endophallus is stored inside the body of the drone,” Jamie Ellis, professor of entomology at the University of Florida, told Snopes. “During storage, the endophallus is inverted or turned inside out. The endophallus is forced out of the abdomen when the drone mates with the queen.”

“At this point, the inside of the endophallus when it is in the body is the outside of the endophallus when it is pushed out of the body. It takes a large part of the hemolymph of the drone to remove the endophallus from the body. Thus, the evergreen drone becomes paralyzed and eventually dies as a result of pushing out its endophallus and copulating with the queen.”

Talk about going out with a bang.

Unfortunately, the explosive nature of bee sex is not limited to reproductive events, as research has found that intense heat waves sometimes lead to – and this is a direct sign here – bees “explosively ejaculating to death”. The heavy news came from the University of British Columbia back in 2022.

Here, the researchers showed the devastating effect of heat on drones, causing them to behave in a way that forces them to ejaculate, release the giant endophallus from their abdomen and cause fatal injury.

“When drones die from shock, they spontaneously release,” said Dr. Alison McAfee, a postdoctoral fellow at UBC’s Michael Smith Laboratories and an expert on bee health. statement. “They have this elaborate endophallus that comes out and is about the size of their own belly. It’s huge.”

Fortunately, simple solutions such as providing a cooling station in the form of a feeder full of sugar syrup, or tying a Styrofoam cover to hives, are enough to reduce the risk of them dropping out prematurely.

Some bees only get one hit of love in this life, we owe it to them to take it into account.

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