Beekeeping folklore explained sudden appearance of aggressive behavior in a hive as a change in the genetic makeup of the workers, specifically which drone’s sperm was used to fertilize those worker eggs laid by the queen. It was thought that the queen would fertilize the eggs with the sperm of different drones at different times because she stored those different sperm in layers inside her body, resulting in changes of the worker population over time. Research has shown that the queen, after completing her mating period, mixes together the sperm of all the drones with which she mated and stores the mix in her spermatheca. Somehow in that mixing process, her body sustains those sperm and keeps them viable for years. So, she does not store the sperm of individual drones separately and her female offspring are of maximally mixed genetics from the beginning of her laying period. Such diversity appears to greatly benefit each colony.
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