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.

46877 Comments

Reply Spotloan
8:48 on 28 January, 2021 
lending com personal loan bad credit cash advance usa loan application
Reply Kiacal
8:47 on 28 January, 2021 
sildenafil canada cost
Reply Money Loan
8:25 on 28 January, 2021 
online payday loans direct lenders
Reply Best Online Loans
8:20 on 28 January, 2021 
loans for 1000
Reply yeezy
7:28 on 28 January, 2021 
I precisely needed to thank you so much yet again. I'm not certain what I would have undertaken in the absence of the actual tips and hints shared by you relating to my problem. It has been a very scary matter in my view, but spending time with this professional avenue you managed that took me to leap over happiness. Now i'm happier for your help and hope that you really know what a powerful job you are always carrying out instructing the mediocre ones with the aid of your web blog. Most probably you've never encountered any of us.
yeezy http://www.yeezys700.com
Reply longchamp handbags
6:20 on 28 January, 2021 
Thank you so much for providing individuals with an extraordinarily special possiblity to read in detail from this web site. It really is very great plus full of a good time for me personally and my office fellow workers to visit your website at a minimum three times in 7 days to find out the new guides you have. And lastly, I'm always satisfied with the cool principles you serve. Some 4 areas in this posting are clearly the most beneficial we have ever had.
longchamp handbags http://www.handbagslongchamp.us
Reply nike sb
6:11 on 28 January, 2021 
I precisely needed to thank you very much once more. I am not sure the things I would have taken care of in the absence of the advice revealed by you concerning such a industry. It had been a hard condition in my opinion, nevertheless understanding a specialized way you treated the issue made me to leap over happiness. I will be thankful for the help and as well , trust you know what an amazing job you are getting into instructing many people by way of your webblog. Most probably you have never met all of us.
nike sb http://www.sbdunk.us
Reply kenzo
5:51 on 28 January, 2021 
Thanks for all your efforts on this blog. Debby really loves engaging in research and it is easy to see why. I learn all regarding the compelling mode you render precious tips and hints via the web site and therefore encourage contribution from website visitors on the subject and our favorite princess is certainly discovering a whole lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. Your performing a first class job.
kenzo http://www.kenzoclothing.us
Reply jordan 11
5:38 on 28 January, 2021 
I enjoy you because of every one of your hard work on this blog. My daughter loves setting aside time for investigation and it's easy to see why. Most people notice all about the powerful mode you present informative guides through this web site and therefore increase contribution from visitors on the point and my child is now starting to learn a lot. Enjoy the rest of the new year. You are always conducting a fabulous job.
jordan 11 http://www.jordan11retro.us.com
Reply kyrie 6 shoes
4:46 on 28 January, 2021 
Thank you for every one of your labor on this website. Ellie loves doing investigations and it's easy to see why. I know all regarding the dynamic tactic you present very important suggestions on your blog and as well as strongly encourage participation from other ones on that content plus my girl is really understanding so much. Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the new year. You are always performing a powerful job.
kyrie 6 shoes http://www.kyrie-6.com
Reply steph curry shoes
4:23 on 28 January, 2021 
I needed to compose you the very small remark to be able to thank you so much as before for your beautiful tricks you have provided in this article. This is so tremendously open-handed of people like you giving publicly just what a few people could have marketed as an ebook in making some dough for their own end, especially considering the fact that you might well have tried it in the event you wanted. The guidelines additionally served to become great way to be sure that some people have the identical zeal much like my own to understand good deal more in regard to this problem. Certainly there are numerous more pleasant periods in the future for people who look into your blog.
steph curry shoes http://www.stephcurry.us
Reply kenzo
4:23 on 28 January, 2021 
I want to show my admiration for your kind-heartedness for those who must have guidance on this area. Your very own commitment to getting the message around appeared to be incredibly productive and have continuously permitted professionals like me to realize their aims. Your personal warm and friendly guidelines denotes this much to me and far more to my fellow workers. Thanks a ton; from each one of us.
kenzo http://www.kenzos.us
Reply kyrie 6 shoes
4:23 on 28 January, 2021 
Thanks for your whole hard work on this web page. My mom takes pleasure in doing research and it's really simple to grasp why. My spouse and i hear all concerning the compelling means you make reliable tips and hints via this web site and even welcome response from the others on that point so our favorite child is without a doubt understanding a lot of things. Have fun with the rest of the year. You're doing a dazzling job.
kyrie 6 shoes http://www.kyrie-6.com
Reply bape
4:23 on 28 January, 2021 
I simply desired to thank you very much once more. I'm not certain what I could possibly have achieved in the absence of the actual ways provided by you over this field. It had become a frightening issue for me, but understanding the very expert approach you dealt with the issue took me to weep with fulfillment. I'm happy for the information and thus trust you comprehend what an amazing job you are always accomplishing teaching the rest through a blog. I am certain you have never met any of us.
bape http://www.bapehoodie.us
Reply hermes handbags
4:22 on 28 January, 2021 
I simply needed to say thanks again. I do not know the things that I might have worked on without these tricks revealed by you on such a situation. It truly was a very depressing dilemma for me personally, nevertheless finding out a new professional manner you handled that made me to jump over delight. Now i'm grateful for your help as well as hope you recognize what a great job you're accomplishing teaching the others through a web site. Most likely you have never encountered any of us.
hermes handbags http://www.hermes-handbags.us.com
Reply yeezy boost 350
4:22 on 28 January, 2021 
I would like to voice my admiration for your generosity for those people who need help on this particular study. Your very own dedication to passing the solution up and down became quite beneficial and has constantly helped associates much like me to attain their endeavors. Your valuable tips and hints signifies much to me and additionally to my office colleagues. With thanks; from all of us.
yeezy boost 350 http://www.yeezyboost350v2s.us
Reply cheap jordans
4:22 on 28 January, 2021 
I intended to post you that bit of note to be able to give thanks over again for these lovely advice you've contributed in this article. It was really tremendously generous with you to provide openly what exactly many individuals would've offered for sale as an e book to make some money on their own, and in particular considering that you might well have done it in case you considered necessary. Those strategies as well worked to be the great way to know that other people online have the identical dream really like my very own to understand a good deal more with regard to this issue. I'm certain there are lots of more pleasurable times in the future for individuals who read your website.
cheap jordans http://www.shoesjordan.us.com
Reply golden goose sneakers
4:22 on 28 January, 2021 
I as well as my pals were actually going through the best things from the blog and so unexpectedly got a terrible suspicion I never thanked the web blog owner for those techniques. My ladies became so joyful to see them and have in reality been using them. We appreciate you really being really accommodating and also for choosing certain incredibly good areas most people are really desirous to know about. My sincere regret for not expressing appreciation to earlier.
golden goose sneakers http://www.goldengoosesneakers.us.org
Reply adidas yeezy boost 350 v2
4:22 on 28 January, 2021 
I am only writing to make you be aware of what a impressive experience my cousin's princess experienced using your web site. She mastered lots of details, most notably what it is like to have a very effective helping mood to get many more easily know various hard to do issues. You actually surpassed visitors' desires. I appreciate you for displaying such interesting, dependable, explanatory and as well as easy tips on this topic to Mary.
adidas yeezy boost 350 v2 http://www.yeezy-v2.com
Reply supreme new york
4:21 on 28 January, 2021 
My wife and i have been quite lucky Jordan managed to finish off his analysis through the ideas he got using your web site. It is now and again perplexing to simply possibly be freely giving steps that many most people have been selling. And we all understand we now have the website owner to appreciate because of that. All the explanations you've made, the easy site menu, the friendships you make it easier to engender - it's got many sensational, and it is helping our son and our family know that that concept is awesome, which is certainly incredibly indispensable. Many thanks for all!
supreme new york http://www.supreme-clothings.us.com
0