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B.C. man records bumble bees having 33-minute "threesome" (VIDEO)

It might "bee" the first time you've seen an insect "three-way"
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Photo: Parthenogenesis Man / YouTube

While it might "bee" the first time you've seen an insect "three-way," a UBC professor says the freaky event might happen more often than you think. That said, it is still a pretty rare event. 

A video shared on YouTube shows two bushy bumble bees engaged in a "three-way" romp, though it is a little bit easier to make out each insect toward the end of the footage. They aren't thrashing around, but they appear to be stuck together, gently moving. 

The video is entitled "Longest bee sex of 2020 by far, caught on camera" - and for good reason - they go at it for a whopping 33 minutes. By comparison, typical bee sex takes place mid-flight and is over in a matter of seconds. 

Shared to YouTube by Parthenogenesis Man, he explains that he caught the event on top of a mixed paper recycling bin in Richmond. He adds, "A half-hour apis sex is equivalent to a man and woman entangled for 4.75 days before male ejaculation. Bees only get to live for 122-152 days on average."

Leonard Foster, UBC Professor and bee researcher, tells Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone interview that this kind of event, while extremely rare, is reported about once a year.

"People seem to capture these things on film and one surfaces every year or so. In nature, it probably happens extremely rarely," explains Foster. "Because of what's going on there's probably a higher likelihood that someone would capture this on film."

Foster adds that bees normally mate mid-flight, but when three bees are involved, they fall. Typically, he says one male and one female mate and it is over quickly. It is also quite violent, and the male often dies. 

"They both somehow managed to get their sexual organs into the female, and they got stuck that way and couldn't get apart. There's no reason for bees to have sex for 30 minutes," notes Foster.

"Something has gone horribly wrong for everyone involved." 

From Mid-May until the end of September, bumblebee and honey bee queens will mate with drones. Bumblebee queens mate with a number of males, while honey bee queens mate with two to four-dozen males in the early stages of their adult life. 

The queens then carry the semen from this mating period for the rest of their life until they need to fertilize their eggs. In fact, they may hold it in their bodies for a matter of years, and they choose when they want to lay their eggs.