3.5.5. Spermatozoa in the spermatheca

To obtain spermatozoa or check their presence:

1. Anaesthetize the queen, and kill her (see section 2.1.2. on immobilising, killing and storing adult Apis mellifera in the BEEBOOK paper on miscellaneous methods (Human et al., 2013)).

2. Dissect quickly in 0.15 % salt solution.

3. Remove the spermatheca.

4. Put the spermatheca into a drop of the salt solution in a watch glass or on a microscope slide.

5. Tear open the spermatheca with needles.

If spermatozoa are present they will emerge as a creamy mass with something of the appearance of a tuft of cotton wool.

6. Spread this out with needles and examine under a microscope with 16 mm objective or higher power. See Fig. 30.

Alternatively:

1. Pinch off the top of the abdomen.

2. Pick out the spermatheca (easily seen with the naked eye).

3. Burst it under a coverslip.

4. Examine under a microscope with 16 mm objective or higher power. See Fig. 30.