The uterus is the only female in the bee family that has full genital organs, and drones are individuals that are required for its fertilization. Mating is carried out in mating flight and has several features. The process is important to control, and using some methods it is possible to improve the quality of bee colonies and conduct selection work.
Nuptial flight of the uterus and drone
Before the mating flight, the uterus performs several indicative circuits. This happens approximately on the 3-5th day after it leaves the mother liquor. Mating flight is carried out on the 7-10th day and takes no more than 20 minutes. Dates may shift in bad weather.
The uterus mates with several drones (up to 6-8), therefore it can repeat the flyby. This is done only in warm weather - the air temperature should be at least 25 degrees.
Drones during mating flight gather in several places at a height of 10 meters. They calculate the infertile uterus by the aromatic secretion secreted by it. Bees do not mate above water, because they fall in the process.
Uterine Fertilization: Process Features
Drones inject sperm into the paired oviducts of the uterus, from where they enter the receptacle. During mating, several million sperm accumulate. They are stored in the uterine receptacle throughout its life.
Sperm contains seminal vesicles of drones. During mating, it under pressure enters a special channel, from where it enters the paired oviducts of the uterus. The advancement of sperm is provided by mucus secreted by the drones adnexa.
The uterus needs a certain amount of sperm (5-7 million). If in one round she does not get the right amount of sperm, then the process repeats.
If mating does not occur within a month, then the ability of the uterus to it is lost. She becomes a drone and stops crashes.
Mating and fertilization in bees are separate processes. During the mating season, the uterus only receives sperm. She uses them in the future to fertilize eggs from which the uterus and working bees will emerge. Drones are obtained from unfertilized eggs.
The uterus is most active in the production of offspring for the first 2 years. Then the number of eggs laid is reduced, the process begins later and ends earlier (spring-autumn period). An increasing number of eggs are unfertilized. In this case, the uterus is called hardened and strive to replace.
Mating of queens and drones must be controlled. To organize breeding work and fulfill its plan, a drone barrier is created. It provides mass selection and purebred breeding, due to which the bee colonies improve.
To create a drone barrier in early spring, drone families are organized, providing the best conditions for intensive drones cultivation:
- a sufficient amount of feed (protein and carbohydrate);
- high-quality insulation of the nest;
- installation of special drone cells.
No more than 5 drone families are organized, from where up to 3 thousand individuals will be released. This is necessary so that the uterus can find a suitable partner. Otherwise, the search can take her to another apiary, which violates the meaning of breeding.
When organizing drone families in full-fledged bee families, drones must be destroyed by timely elimination of brood. Such a measure is an excellent prophylaxis of varroatosis, since the peak of the varroa tick population falls on the mass exit of drones from the brood, where the parasite develops.
How to treat bees for varroatosis can be found in the next article .
Double change of uterus
This technique is used to quickly change the breed of bees . First replace the uterus - a new individual should be the desired breed. Her offspring will be raised by local nurse bees. Replacing all bees will take approximately 40 days.
Mating hatched queens with drones will produce offspring of mixed breed. This only applies to queen bees and worker bees. Drones will appear exclusively of a new breed, since eggs for their breeding are not fertilized.
During the year, all the uterus in the apiary is replaced by individuals removed from the uterus of a new breed. Replace before autumn. The next year, they take the uterus of a new breed (not related to the first one), and the last year’s individuals are replaced with uterus from its offspring.
Drones that are received from the first non-related uterus will mate with the new uterus. This avoids mating, and at the end of the season all bees will be of a new breed.
During the double replacement of the uterus, it is necessary to exclude the flight of drones from another apiary - a radius of 5-6 km is taken into account. Another option is to replace all the queens in this territory. Old bees-educators and drones will inevitably influence the new breed, but such an influence will provide only better adaptability to local conditions.
Evening mating drone with a uterus
The flight of drones stops at about 4-18 p.m. The exact time is detected by observing the summer for several days. Evening mating can only be organized on warm days when the air temperature is between 20-25 degrees.
The following work is required:
- sexually mature infertile uterus in the nucleus and bee colonies with sexually mature drones during the day should be in a dark, cool room;
- when the summer cessation of summer drones should be taken out to the site, which is illuminated by the sun, the letok turn to the west;
- provide dressing or spray the frame with warm syrup;
- after flying around the uterus and drones, close the doors and put them in a cool room;
- repeat this algorithm for several days, putting the nucleus always in one place.
Such stimulation is carried out until mating takes place.
Arranging random mating points
The flyby of a barren female is limited to a radius of 5 km. To control breeding work, random points are organized. For them, you need to choose areas where bees and drones are missing.
The uterus and drones are delivered to the selected points in the required quantity. When the mating is completed, the heads of families must be selected, and infertile barren young females should be planted in the nucleus. It is allowed to remove them in the same area. Here you will learn the methods and rules for the withdrawal of queens.
Instrumental insemination of the queen bee
This type of uterine fertilization is attractive because of the ability to select the most suitable drone. The process begins with the cultivation of high-quality drones that are marked when leaving the cell. Selected individuals should be large. It is also necessary to select and tag quality queen bees.
For instrumental fertilization, laboratory conditions are necessary, including the presence of a special machine, a binocular microscope, and ensuring the optimum temperature. Mandatory disinfection of instruments (using iodine solution) for the prevention of melanosis.
Before fertilization, all uterus are examined to cull damaged animals. Further work is being carried out:
- preparation for surgery - flying around drones and the uterus within the laboratory;
- rocking the abdomen of the drone for ejaculation - you must act carefully;
- semen collection in a special syringe;
- placing the uterus in a special tube and installing it on the machine;
- opening with special hooks of the chamber with a sting;
- the introduction of sperm into the genital tract of the uterus;
- placing an individual in a cell.
The uterus is returned to the bee colony when its ovaries mature. The seeded individual is planted in a specially created layering. It should have one small street of young bees and a ripe printed brood. It is possible to plant in a large layering or a family with a uterus taken in a few hours. A new individual must be planted in a mesh isolator.
Instrumental insemination is performed in a special laboratory. This method is appropriate for large-scale apiaries conducting breeding work.
Fertilization of queen bees is necessary for the reproduction of bees and the continued existence of the apiary. Mating with a drone is carried out in mating flight. Control of this process is necessary, especially when conducting breeding work. Several methods are used - you need to choose the appropriate option in accordance with the goals and capabilities. About reproduction methods, read here .