Insemination of the Honey Bee Queen


Instrumental Insemination of Honey Bee Queens


Diagram of honey bee queen insemination from Sue Cobey’s fact sheet, “Insemination of the Queen”


Insemination Techniques

  1. Eversion of the Honey Bee Drone Endophallus for Insemination
  2. Semen Collection for Artificial Insemination in Honey Bees

    1. Saline Recipe
  3. Insemination of the Honey Bee Queen
  4. Field Dissection of the Honey Bee Queen Spermatheca


UC Davis bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey with a frame of banked queens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC Davis Department of Entomology)


These pages are brought to you by Susan Cobey at

For classes in instrumental insemination by Susan Cobey, see: The UC Davis entomology website


To expose the vaginal orifice of the queen, the abdominal plates are separated using a pair of hooks or forceps. The large sting structure is lifted up and dorsally.



The valvefold, a stretchy flap of tissue covering the median oviduct,is bypassed. Semen is inserted directly into the median oviduct.



The syringe tip is used to bypass the valvefold.The tip is slipped beneath the valvefold and liftedventrally. The angle of the syringe, and a slight “zigzag” movement is used to maneuver around the valvefold.



Position the syringe tip dorsally above the “V”, defining the vaginal orifice. Insert the tip about

0.5 mm, slightly forward of the apex of the “V”. Positioned correctly, the tip slips easily past the valvefold without resistance. Insert the tip another 0.5 to 1.0 mm into the median oviduct.



Bypassing the valvefold allows passage of the tip into the median oviduct. Test placement of the tip, preceding the insemination with a drop of saline, then insert a measured amount of semen, 8 to 10 µl is the standard dose per queen.



With practice, the insertion of semen is preformed quickly and precisely, requiring only seconds per queen.

There are a variety of tools to choose from. Use is based on personal preference.

Download a .pdf: Insemination of the Honey Bee Queen

EN Español : Inseminación de la Reina