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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/KingsQuestVAbsenceMakesTheHeartGoYonder http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/king_antony.png]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:[[https://www.combatbugs.com/bug-files/why-are-there-no-%E2%80%9Cking%E2%80%9D-ants And we thought ants live in a matriarchal society...]]]]-]

->'''Adam:''' Today we are MEN!\\
'''Barry:''' BEE men!
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/BeeMovie''

It's a fact that throughout history, mammals including humans have dwelled in mostly patriarchal societies where the males are dominant and females are primarily childrearers. In most organized parts of the insect world, on the other hand, [[LadyLand the females rule]]. In those colonies, females -- or sometimes the genderless -- are the only ones who have any semblance of a life with a job and purpose, and are responsible for all the work involved in running things, such as building, foraging, defending from outsiders, and most especially creating eggs for the continuation of the Swarm. The males? They are mindless drones who are programmed to only have sex and then die - or are eaten (or sometimes both).

When an insect society [[BeePeople like that of ants or bees]] is depicted in fantasy media, the hero of the story will usually be... a male worker? The fact that the workers in Hymenopteran social insect colonies (ants, bees, wasps, etc.) are all females (albeit sterile), and the only males exist to fertilize the queen and [[OutWithABang quickly die after this mission is complete]], sometimes by [[GroinAttack the queen ripping the male's genitalia out of his body]], seems to have no bearing on the need for making the hero a male. After all, you NEED a "Male Lead" who can go out on adventures and save princesses. And as the only actual males in an anthill spend their entire lives doing nothing but providing the queen with a constant supply of genetic material... makes it hard to set up any kind of adventure-hooks.

Fiction also tends to show an even or near even split between males to females, when there are barely a few hundred males for thousands of females in most insect societies due to the nature of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplodiploid_sex-determination_system how sexes are decided.]] And don't expect the "exist solely to have sex and die" thing to get anything more than a passing DoubleEntendre. It probably doesn't help that, in common slang, a "drone" is someone or something who works mindlessly, so a lot of people think that "worker bees" (the sterile females who [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin work]]) and "drones" (the males who do a different kind of work) are just different names for the same thing.

Another reason for this trope is that all insect movies necessarily anthropomorphise their subjects, including by imposing human gender roles on them; often this extends to related tropes like NonMammalMammaries. Any fully accurate depiction of a society of sentient insects would be extremely creepy, with none of the characters being remotely sympathetic. Unlike giving insects human speech, faces, family structures, etc., however, this trope can [[ObligatoryJoke bug people]] because it doesn't seem as necessary -- there's no reason the protagonist and main supporting cast of a story ''have'' to be male, so casting a creature that would biologically be female as a male is seen as a less [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality Acceptable Break From Reality]].

On its way to becoming a CyclicalTrope. More realistic portrayals of insect societies sometimes appear in works mining it for social or political commentary, or in science fiction intentionally using its unfamiliar nature to make insectoid aliens feel more strange.

This trope also applies to biting male mosquitoes, when in reality, only female mosquitoes bite.

A subtrope of ArtisticLicenseBiology. Can be combination of SomewhereAnEntomologistIsCrying and MostWritersAreHuman. Subtrope of AnimalGenderBender. Can be an example of the TheSmurfettePrinciple.


!!Played straight:

[[folder: Advertising ]]
* Honey Nut Cheerios and Nasonex feature anthropomorphic male honeybees as their mascots.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Antz}}'' portrays [[GenderIsNoObject males and females among both soldiers and workers]]. The hero, naturally, is male.
* ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife'':
** Females rule the colony, and while some see many of the minor workers as female that doesn't detract from the fact the movie centers around a male worker.
** Played with when a (male) fly makes a pass at Francis, who responds: "So, being a ladybug automatically makes me a girl, huh?"
%% The blood-drinking creature in the bar is a tick, not a mosquito.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAntBully''. At least they had the decency to make the Queen huge and immobile. It does depict a ''male'' Glow-worm. Glow-worms are wingless ''female'' fireflies--males are winged beetles.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Gallavants}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/BeeMovie'':
** A lawyer points out that the main character's parents are actually siblings to make bees look bad. This is even more stupid when you consider that all bees in a generation share a common mother in the queen, and the father would be some drone who died after mating. The protagonist Barry as well as the "pollen jocks" are all male, even though all worker bees are ''female''.
** Later in the movie, a mosquito (obviously male) complains that he's always being slapped for sucking a person's blood. Male mosquitoes are rarely seen and only feed on plants. It's the ''female'' mosquitoes that feed on blood. They need the protein for their eggs.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The TV movie ''Mansquito'' (oh yes; it's a Film/SyFyChannelOriginalMovie) has a human-mosquito hybrid killing people and drinking their blood. Problem is it's a '''man'''squito, so he's not growing any eggs and shouldn't require blood at all. While this COULD be written off as the radioactive gunk also changing his gender (if it can make a mammal part-insect, why not?) it enters flat out ridiculous territory when he begins pursuing a WOMAN who has been mutated to a lesser extent. And while even that could be written off as a twofer GenderBender, the fact that SHE also craves blood completely extinguishes the possibility for any amusing Fanon theories.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* Hesiod's poem ''Literature/{{Theogony}}'' has a misogynistic passage comparing women to drones and men to worker bees, ever so slightly [[AnalogyBackfire undermining]] its attempt to imply gender roles are immutable. So this is OlderThanFeudalism.
* Not so much averted as flatly denied with the Priest-Kings of Gor. They are giant hyper-intelligent ants, and apart from the hyper-intelligent science, their culture follows that of ants in detail (they communicate by scent, tolerate dangerous parasites in their nest for the sake of their euphoric secretions, on occasion turn themselves into living storage jars for food, etc.) EXCEPT that they're all male apart from one queen, and are as given as Gorean human males to making comments about the irrationality of females. But given that this author has defined a new standard for misogyny, anything else would be unthinkable.
* Literature/TheFirstMenInTheMoon: Despite being described as similar to ants, the Grand Lunar is referred to as a male by the narrator.

[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]
* ''ComicStrip/TheFarSide'': Gary Larson received many complaints after drawing a cartoon showing a male mosquito coming home saying "What a day! I must have spread malaria across half the country!" It's the female mosquito that sucks blood. His response: "Of course, it's perfectly acceptable that these creatures [[ArbitrarySkepticism wear clothes, live in houses, speak English, etc.]]"
* The ants in ''ComicStrip/{{BC}}'' don't even have a hive structure; anthills contain family groups of mom, dad, and one or more kids. The mom isn't a huge queen either, she's just an ant with [[TertiarySexualCharacteristics eyelashes]].

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* The Colony, [[EvilKnockoff Colony Xtreme Force]] and [[PsychoRangers The Swarm]] are all made of males. Though the official Wrestling/{{Chikara}} position on gender is that there is no difference between males and females in wrestling, [[HeManWomanHater Xtreme Force detests women]].
* The Hell Ant Machines of IWA Japan are all men.

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** There's a race of insect-like creatures called Dromites. Dromites are genderless with the exception of the Grand Queen and Elected Consort, both of whom are responsible for populating the entire city hive. Also, the Queen and her Consort are elected every year, so how exactly the dromites gain sexual characteristics is unknown. However, it does resemble real life in that neither the Grand Queen or the Elected Consort does much, so ruling is presumably left to the normal dromites.
** The ant-like Formians have an immobile queen (who also has very powerful magic abilities), male "myrmarch" caste of field leaders and consorts, and sexless worker, soldier and slaver castes.
* While the Tyranids of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' are genderless, the most powerful units are referred to as male (Broodlord, Swarmlord...). Every 'nid is spawned from seldom-seen units called Norn Queens.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/MisterMosquito'' is yet another example of the "blood-sucking male mosquito" subtrope.
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3'', The Pain refers to the hornets he controls as his brothers, and actually uses the queen to direct their attacks from the backpack he carries.
* Charmy (a rarely-seen character from some VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog games) is a male bee with a stinger. He's also a 'child' despite not being a larva.
* In ''VideoGame/KingsQuestV'', Graham encounters a colony of ants led by ''King'' [[IncrediblyLamePun Antony]].

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'':
** Inferno in believes himself to be a soldier ant, but seems to identify as male. Since he also recognizes Megatron as male despite calling him "my queen", this may simply be an attempt to reconcile reality with his insect delusions.
** [[ButtMonkey Waspinator]] is a male Predacon whose wasp mode contains a stinger.
** Just to add to hilarity, Tarantulas and Waspinator were both mistakingly referred as females in earlier episodes of the french dub.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/BitsyBears'' pilot cartoon, the Bitsy Bears create a fake "bee king" to trick Bramble into releasing the beenapped bees. Bramble never calls them on it, but this could be because they launched their plan in the middle of the night, and she was still half-asleep.
* One of the vintage animated sequences on ''Series/SesameStreet'' shows a young male bee sent out on his first nectar-collecting expedition by his mommy and daddy bees. It wouldn't have been any harder for the writers to get it RIGHT by creating a young female worker being instructed by the queen and a worker aunt or older sister. (Depiction of an alternative family in a children's show? [[SarcasmMode MADNESS.]])
* A 1942 cartoon of ''WesternAnimation/BarneyBear'' had the eponymous hungry bear using a female windup doll to lure the bees away from their hive so he could abscond with their honey ([[TertiarySexualCharacteristics with lipstick, long blond hair, curvy hips and all]]).
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'', mosquitoes suck blood and prepare to lay eggs. Between their gruff voices and casual use of "man," they sure sound like they should be capable of neither.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* Early beekeepers assumed that queen bees were male, and called them kings, until someone had the bright idea to dissect a "king" under a microscope to find out what made them different and found ovaries.
* While bees, ants, and social wasps in real life obviously avert this trope, [[TermiteTrouble termites]] actually play it straight. Termites aren't related to bees, ants, and wasps, so they evolved eusociality completely separately. For example, reproductive male termites don't die after sex--they spend the rest of their lives in the nest with the queen, and are called "kings". The workers can also be either male or female.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* Averted in ''ComicBook/ClanApis'' which portrays a bee hive realistically (apart from all the [[AnimalTalk talking]]). The only male bee depicted is perfectly okay with his [[OutWithABang sole purpose in life]]. The other insects have accurate gender roles as well: The Dung Beetle is male, the Praying Mantis is female etc.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Averted in ''[[WesternAnimation/DotAndTheKangaroo Dot and Keeto]],'' where Keeto the mosquito informs a [[IncredibleShrinkingMan shrunken]] Dot that she doesn't have anything to fear from him -- he's a ''male'' mosquito and as such isn't going to try drinking her blood.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* Averted, interestingly, in Literature/TheBible, in Proverbs 6:6. Considering when that particular book was written and translated, it's probably a manifestation of noun gender (the Old English, Latin and Hebrew words for ant are all feminine, not neuter and thus anything other than "her" would be a grammatical error).
--> "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise!"
* Averted in Creator/RudyardKipling's ''The Mother Hive'', an undisguised AuthorTract that grabbed the stock metaphor and ran with it to the very end ''without'' derailing by usual general interpretation failures. Workers are always referred in feminine gender, queen does not exactly publishes decrees (and goaded into activity by workers), drones get mentioned at all exclusively in the contexts of mating flights, swarming or development anomalies.
* Averted in ''Literature/EmpireOfTheAnts'' by Bernard Werber, in which it's clearly explained that drones die after they mate. One of the main characters of the non-human [[TwoLinesNoWaiting part of the story]] is a drone ant, but [[spoiler:he dies before the mating flight]].
* Averted in ''Literature/TheHeroicAdventureOfHerculesAmsterdam''; no male ants actually appear, but they apparently serve as slaves for females. At one point the Queen actually exiles a female worker into slavery, accusing her of secretly being a "weak" male in disguise.
* Averted in ''The Merro Tree'' by Katie Waitman. There is a sentient hymenopteroid race, the H'n'kae (who are among other things famed for unarmed combat). The worker and warrior castes are entirely made up of females; only a very few males exist at all; the queen is the only H'n'kae who lays eggs and is very very large indeed.
* The mosquito trope is averted in Creator/ChinaMieville's ''Literature/TheScar'': There is a race of sentient humanoid mosquitoes; the males are nectar-eaters and their wings are silent. The females are sanguinivorous, their wings drone when they fly, and they are widely feared. Both sexes are intelligent (and frighteningly so), though the blood-hunger in females makes it difficult for them to converse with any blooded creature long enough to gain a common language.
* Averted in the ''Literature/EndersGame'' series: the Formics are a very accurate depiction of an insect colony, albeit one of intelligent, alien insects.
* Averted with the bloodsucking mosquito in the Creator/DrSeuss story, ''This is Ann''. Ann, whose full name is Anopheles Mosquito, is correctly shown as female.
* Averted in the children's book, ''Ned Kelly And the City Of the Bees.'' The main bee character is female, and the drones do die in the end.
* Averted in ''Literature/TheBees'' by Laline Paul; the main character is a female worker bee called Flora 717, and bee gender roles are accurately portrayed with her hivemates.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Oddly, averted in ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars''. The pseudo-insectoid Hiver race consists primarily of sexless warriors and workers. The [[HiveCasteSystem breeding caste]] consists of princesses who are absolute rulers as well as egg-layers, and princes whose duties consist largely of mating with the princesses, as well as trying to claim glory and achievements to prove they're worth mating with. It actually mirrors genuine colony insects quite well, albeit with the addition of sapience and culture, and the divergences are {{justified|Trope}} because they're not actually insects, but rather extraterrestrial life-forms which resemble Earthly insects, but also have important distinctions -- they have an internal skeleton, for instance. (Oh, and cheese gets them drunk.)
* Averted in, at least ''[[VideoGame/DonPachi DoDonPachi: DaiFukkatsu]]'' where it is revealed that Hibachi, the eponymous [[InfernalRetaliation Angry]] [[TrueFinalBoss Boss]] [[BeeAfraid Bee]], is female. Whether this is true for the previous four games or not is unknown.

[[folder: Webcomics]]
* Averted in ''Webcomic/DemonStreet'', where all the giant ants are female.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/TheCatInTheHatKnowsALotAboutThat'' where all of the ants, bees, and wasps appear to be female.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* Averted in Russian language, where a drone is called "трутень" (truten'), and its second meaning is "The one not doing any physical work", which is essentially what drones are. Polish "truteń" has the same two meanings. Loan words, Russian "дрон" (dron) and Polish "dron", are used in the meaning ''unmanned aerial vehicle''.
* The Spanish word "zángano" (dron) also has the second meaning of "lazy" and has male grammatical gender while "abeja" (Bee) is a female word.


[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''Creator/SparkPlugEntertainment'' plays it straight with ''Plan Bee'', which features both male and female worker bees and has a male worker as its protagonist, but averts it with ''An Ant's Life'', where all worker ants are depicted as female.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* Literature/PerryRhodan, due to its nature as an extreme LongRunner written by a team of authors, sometimes averts this trope and sometimes plays it straight. In one memorable case, however, it manages to get ''this'' correct but still mess up. In one storyline shortly after the Earth has been teleported across the galaxy (long story), we're introduced to the dominant species of the sector (insectoid; beelike, to be specific) with a slightly disturbing scene [[ShownTheirWork where drones are rounded up and executed by the workers after having fulfilled their duty while the queen muses on how lucky she was to have been, among other things, fed the right kind of nectar so she won't have to take care of that]] - then switches over to a lengthy explanation of how [[YouFailBiologyForever the insects developed because there's too little cosmic radiation in that sector of the galaxy]] [[EvolutionaryLevels for mammals to evolve quickly enough, causing insects became sentient first]].
* ''The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper Feast'' accurately portrays Lizzie Bee as a female worker (although it maintains human gender stereotypes by dressing her as a milkmaid, complete with panniers, presumably of nectar). On the other hand, Harold the Herald is a male gadfly who likes "a morning cup of blood". (The "Nature Notes" at the back of the book correct this.)

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* Looks to be averted at first in ''TabletopGame/StarFleetBattles'' with the insectoid Seltorians, in that the ships are crewed by female workers, but then has them led by 'Sages' who were male 'Rams' that the Queen never got around to mating with, and suddenly survived, became long lived, and much smarter than all the females (Then again, these ''are'' aliens).
* Played with in ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' with the [[BeePeople bee-inspired]] [[WomensMysteries thriae]], an [[OneGenderRace all-female species]] of which only the [[HiveCasteSystem queens]] are fertile. (They [[YouCantGoHomeAgain keep]] male volunteers [[GenderEqualsBreed from other species]] in the hive for breeding purposes.)

[[folder: Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon'', the Ultra Beast Buzzwole, based off a mosquito, resembles a male bodybuilder with muscles formed from blood sacs. Similarly, its counterpart Pheremosa, based off a cockroach, resembles a female supermodel, with a slender body and a hair-like carapace that extends beyond its abdomen. However, only female mosquitoes suck blood, and only male cockroaches are thinner than the females, with a carapace that extends beyond their abdomen. Though both of them are genderless, this feature is likely more of an excuse to make them non-breedable than anything else. However, seeing as how both ''are'' [[EldritchAbomination Ultra Beasts]], this may very well have been [[IntendedAudienceReaction invoked]] in order to make them more bizarre and off-putting.