1. Introduction

The natural mating behaviour of honey bees presents a unique challenge to control. Queens are highly polyandrous and mate in flight with an average of 10 to 20 drones (Tarpy & Nielsen, 2002) at congregation areas consisting of 10,000 to 30,000 drones from diverse genetic sources (Koeniger 1986). Instrumental or artificial insemination (I.I.) is an essential tool that provides complete control of honey bee mating for research and breeding purposes (Laidlaw, 1977).