Mating is fundamental to most organisms, although the physiological and transcriptional changes associated with this process have been largely characterized only in Drosophila melanogaster. In this study, we use honey bees as a model system because their queens undergo massive and permanent physiological and behavioural changes following mating. Previous studies have identified changes associated with the transition from a virgin queen to a fully mated, egg-laying queen. Here, we further uncouple the mating process to examine the effects of natural mating vs. instrumental insemination and saline vs. semen insemination. We observed effects on flight behaviour, vitellogenin expression and significant overlap in transcriptional profiles between our study and analogous studies in D. melanogaster, suggesting that some post-mating mechanisms are conserved across insect orders.