Neil Pont

Wildlife Photography

"My Blog has moved - click on this link"

Blog

The birds and the bees - well, bees anyway...

Posted on 24 July, 2020 at 17:45

A day late again!  I need to get back into my routine....

Today's blog is built around something we saw in our garden for the first time: bumblebees mating.

There are 4 stages in the lifecycle of a bumblebee:
1. Queens emerge from hibernation and start a new colony (she has been fertilised the previous year, before hibernation)

2. Workers (females) are produced and start to forage; the colony develops and grows
3. Unfertilised eggs (males) are laid and worker larvae develop into new queens
4. Males and new queens mate

When the adult males emerge they spend a few days in the nest, but do no work, and then they leave the nest for good and forage for themselves. They can often be seen sheltering under the heads of flowers when it rains or when it gets dark.

New queens emerge about a week or so after the males. The new queens leave the nest to forage for themselves, returning to the nest for shelter, but they do not add to the existing nest provisions. When the new queen is ready to mate she flies to where the attractant chemical has been deposited by the male and waits for a suitable mate. Then the two mate - as in these pictures of the Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius)


The adult male bumblebee (in common with most adult male insects) has only one function in life - that is to mate. He will fly in a circuit depositing a queen-attracting scent pheromone produced from a gland in his head in suitable places, usually in the morning, and replacing the scent if it rains. Different species have different preferred flying heights for this, and different queen attracting scents.

The pheromone is used to scent-mark prominent objects (tree trunks, rocks, posts, etc) on the circuit which is usually a few hundred metres long. The scent of some species can be detected by some humans. Usually the males patrol at species specific heights.


Mating usually takes place while resting on the ground or on vegetation. At the start of mating the male grabs on to the queen's thorax to get himself into the correct position.

In order to mate the female must extend her sting so that the male can insert his genital capsule.


The time taken for matings varies widely from 10 minutes to 80 minutes. The sperm is transferred within the first 2 minutes of mating, and the bees are in a rather vulnerable position, so why do they continue for so long? Well, after the male passes his sperm into the queen he pumps a sticky mixture into her genital opening. This genital plug takes time to harden, and once hardened can completely or partially block the entry of sperm from other males for up to three days. So even though the two are in a vulnerable position, it is in the interest of the male to hang on to ensure that his genes have a good chance of being passed on to the next generation, and as most males don't even manage to mate, and those that do usually just mate once, he wants to be sure his genes will be passed on.

New queens usually search for a hibernation site soon after mating.


I'm not sure we would have been looking so closely at what is happening in our garden if it weren't for "lockdown". 
Food for thought...

It was great to deepen our understanding of how 'nature' works.

Categories: 2020

Post a Comment

Oops!

Oops, you forgot something.

Oops!

The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

31410 Comments

Reply kyrie 7 shoes
18:56 on 12 February, 2021 
My husband and i got so satisfied that Raymond could conclude his web research via the ideas he had out of the web page. It is now and again perplexing to just find yourself giving out guidance which often men and women might have been selling. And we understand we have the writer to appreciate because of that. The explanations you've made, the simple website menu, the friendships your site make it possible to foster - it's most excellent, and it's really leading our son in addition to us recognize that that matter is brilliant, which is certainly rather indispensable. Many thanks for the whole thing!
kyrie 7 shoes http://www.kyrie7.us
Reply kyrie 6
18:55 on 12 February, 2021 
I wanted to send a remark to be able to say thanks to you for all of the splendid tips and tricks you are posting here. My incredibly long internet investigation has at the end of the day been recognized with reasonable points to go over with my guests. I 'd claim that most of us visitors are very much fortunate to exist in a great place with many perfect professionals with great solutions. I feel somewhat happy to have encountered your web pages and look forward to really more enjoyable minutes reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.
kyrie 6 http://www.kyrie6.org
Reply supreme
18:55 on 12 February, 2021 
I simply needed to thank you very much once again. I do not know the things I would've sorted out without these recommendations shown by you concerning that problem. It absolutely was a very hard issue in my position, however , taking a look at a skilled way you solved it made me to weep with contentment. Now i am thankful for this assistance and have high hopes you really know what an amazing job you are carrying out educating most people using a blog. Probably you haven't got to know all of us.
supreme http://www.supremes.us.org
Reply supreme outlet
18:55 on 12 February, 2021 
I not to mention my pals have already been checking the nice tricks on your web blog and the sudden developed a terrible feeling I had not thanked the blog owner for those strategies. These ladies had been certainly happy to study them and have in effect in fact been having fun with those things. Many thanks for really being considerably accommodating and also for obtaining some tremendous ideas millions of individuals are really desperate to be aware of. My very own sincere apologies for not expressing appreciation to earlier.
supreme outlet http://www.supremeclothingstore.com
Reply curry 5
18:54 on 12 February, 2021 
I wanted to type a simple remark in order to appreciate you for all of the fantastic tips and hints you are showing on this site. My rather long internet research has at the end of the day been compensated with awesome details to exchange with my classmates and friends. I 'd assume that we readers are very fortunate to exist in a superb network with so many special people with valuable pointers. I feel really fortunate to have seen your entire webpage and look forward to so many more fun moments reading here. Thanks a lot once more for all the details.
curry 5 http://www.curry5.us.com
Reply kyrie 6
18:48 on 12 February, 2021 
I am commenting to let you understand what a terrific encounter my child went through viewing your web page. She came to understand some pieces, including what it's like to have an amazing helping nature to have many others with no trouble know just exactly chosen problematic issues. You undoubtedly surpassed people's desires. Many thanks for showing those powerful, trusted, educational and as well as fun tips about this topic to Jane.
kyrie 6 http://www.kyrie-6.com
Reply nike sb
18:12 on 12 February, 2021 
Thanks for your entire effort on this site. My niece really loves setting aside time for research and it's really easy to see why. A lot of people hear all about the compelling mode you offer rewarding ideas on the blog and even strongly encourage participation from visitors on that area of interest and our simple princess is becoming educated a whole lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You have been carrying out a first class job.
nike sb http://www.sbdunk.us
Reply kyrie 6
18:02 on 12 February, 2021 
My wife and i felt quite joyous when Peter could do his inquiry through the entire ideas he got when using the blog. It's not at all simplistic to just happen to be giving away thoughts people today may have been selling. We really do understand we now have you to be grateful to for that. All of the illustrations you made, the straightforward blog navigation, the friendships your site aid to create - it is most superb, and it's really leading our son in addition to the family reckon that that content is entertaining, which is extraordinarily fundamental. Thank you for all!
kyrie 6 http://www.kyrie6.org
Reply yeezy
18:01 on 12 February, 2021 
I must express some appreciation to you for bailing me out of such a situation. After browsing through the the web and getting tricks which are not helpful, I was thinking my entire life was gone. Being alive devoid of the strategies to the issues you have fixed by means of your site is a critical case, and those that might have adversely affected my career if I had not come across your blog post. The knowledge and kindness in playing with all things was useful. I don't know what I would've done if I had not come across such a subject like this. I can also now look forward to my future. Thanks a lot so much for this expert and sensible help. I won't be reluctant to suggest the website to any person who would need recommendations about this problem.
yeezy http://www.supplyyeezy.us
Reply moncler
17:59 on 12 February, 2021 
I and my friends happened to be digesting the nice key points on the blog and so the sudden got an awful suspicion I had not expressed respect to the web site owner for those secrets. My people appeared to be as a consequence joyful to see all of them and have now without a doubt been having fun with those things. Appreciation for actually being well helpful and then for considering varieties of superb subject matter most people are really eager to know about. Our own sincere regret for not expressing gratitude to earlier.
moncler http://www.moncler--outlet.us.com
Reply kd shoes
17:59 on 12 February, 2021 
Thank you for all of the labor on this web page. Gloria really loves working on investigation and it's easy to see why. A number of us notice all concerning the powerful medium you offer insightful thoughts via the web site and in addition invigorate participation from some others on this concern while our daughter is now being taught a lot. Enjoy the rest of the new year. You have been conducting a pretty cool job.
kd shoes http://www.kevindurant-shoes.us.com
Reply Lisacal
17:57 on 12 February, 2021 
india pharmacy tadalafil
Reply pandora
17:47 on 12 February, 2021 
I precisely wished to say thanks once again. I do not know the things I would have carried out without the secrets shared by you over that area. It absolutely was a real intimidating concern in my position, but encountering the professional way you managed that forced me to jump with gladness. I will be grateful for this guidance and as well , trust you realize what a powerful job you are carrying out training many others through your website. I am certain you haven't got to know all of us.
pandora http://www.pandorasbracelet.us
Reply bape
17:44 on 12 February, 2021 
I simply needed to thank you so much once more. I am not sure what I could possibly have created in the absence of these pointers shared by you concerning that problem. It was a real difficult scenario in my circumstances, nevertheless viewing the specialised approach you treated that made me to weep with happiness. Now i am thankful for this support as well as believe you recognize what a powerful job you're undertaking training most people all through a blog. More than likely you've never met all of us.
bape http://www.bapehoodie.us
Reply Cat Eye Gel Polish
16:47 on 12 February, 2021 
Reply jordan 11
16:12 on 12 February, 2021 
I and also my pals were actually viewing the excellent guidelines from the website and suddenly I got a horrible suspicion I never thanked the website owner for them. Most of the ladies were glad to read through them and have now certainly been loving those things. Appreciate your genuinely indeed kind and then for utilizing this sort of fabulous issues most people are really eager to discover. My very own honest regret for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.
jordan 11 http://www.jordan11retro.us.com
Reply yeezy
16:09 on 12 February, 2021 
I simply had to thank you so much once again. I'm not certain the things that I might have done in the absence of those aspects documented by you concerning this area. It seemed to be an absolute frightful dilemma in my position, nevertheless understanding your specialized form you handled that forced me to jump with contentment. I am thankful for the support as well as sincerely hope you really know what a powerful job that you're undertaking educating the mediocre ones all through your blog. Probably you've never come across all of us.
yeezy http://www.yeezys700.com
Reply yeezy boost 350 v2
16:07 on 12 February, 2021 
I have to point out my admiration for your kind-heartedness for persons that have the need for guidance on this one area. Your special dedication to getting the message all through had been quite significant and have constantly enabled folks much like me to achieve their pursuits. Your warm and friendly recommendations entails a lot to me and additionally to my fellow workers. Regards; from all of us.
yeezy boost 350 v2 http://www.adidasyeezy350v2boost.com
Reply kenzo
15:54 on 12 February, 2021 
Thanks a lot for providing individuals with an extremely nice chance to read in detail from this site. It can be very enjoyable plus jam-packed with amusement for me personally and my office acquaintances to visit your web site at the least 3 times in one week to read through the new things you have got. And indeed, we're at all times contented with your fabulous creative ideas served by you. Certain 2 areas in this posting are undeniably the simplest we have ever had.
kenzo http://www.kenzoclothing.us
Reply off white shoes
15:23 on 12 February, 2021 
I want to voice my respect for your kind-heartedness in support of men who have the need for assistance with your situation. Your personal dedication to passing the message along had become extremely functional and have regularly enabled women much like me to realize their pursuits. The useful guidelines implies a whole lot a person like me and a whole lot more to my office colleagues. Best wishes; from each one of us.
off white shoes http://www.offwhiteshoes.us.com
0