Mating

In nature, mating of drones and queens occurs in flight. The queen mates only at one early period of her life, during the so-called nuptial flight(s). About seven days after she emerges from her cell as an adult, she is considered sexually mature and will leave the hive to mate. A queen mates with about 17 drones (5). Queens are believed to fly to a location known as a drone congregation area (DCA) to mate. To this day, it is not possible to predict with certainty what geographical condition or other attributes are needed to establish a DCA. The results of recent work done with radar suggest that DCAs may be busy intersections in a complex network of drone pathways. Drones injure themselves mortally during mating, after which they fall to the ground and die.

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