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 yeezy boost 350
12:45 on 25 October, 2021 
A lot of thanks for each of your hard work on this website. My mom take interest in working on internet research and it is easy to see why. Most people hear all regarding the dynamic form you make sensible solutions by means of the web site and therefore recommend contribution from other individuals about this theme while our own simple princess is really becoming educated so much. Enjoy the rest of the year. You are always carrying out a really good job.
yeezy boost 350 http://www.adidasyeezyboost350.us.com
Reply moncler coat
12:44 on 25 October, 2021 
I really wanted to post a quick comment so as to appreciate you for these splendid secrets you are showing at this site. My considerable internet investigation has at the end been paid with awesome facts to share with my relatives. I would express that we website visitors are undoubtedly fortunate to be in a magnificent community with very many perfect professionals with very helpful strategies. I feel very lucky to have used your web pages and look forward to so many more fabulous moments reading here. Thank you once again for everything.
moncler coat http://www.monclercoat.us.com
Reply moncler
12:44 on 25 October, 2021 
I wanted to draft you a bit of note just to thank you so much again for the beautiful pointers you've shown on this page. It's simply pretty generous with you to deliver easily precisely what most of us could possibly have distributed as an ebook to earn some bucks on their own, most importantly considering the fact that you might well have tried it if you ever decided. Those points additionally worked to be the fantastic way to understand that other people online have the same passion just like my very own to understand whole lot more in regard to this issue. I believe there are millions of more pleasurable instances in the future for many who take a look at your blog post.
moncler http://www.monclersoutletstore.com
Reply yeezy 500
12:44 on 25 October, 2021 
I just wanted to compose a small comment to express gratitude to you for all of the magnificent facts you are showing at this site. My considerable internet search has at the end of the day been recognized with brilliant facts and techniques to write about with my relatives. I would express that we visitors actually are unquestionably lucky to exist in a fantastic site with very many marvellous individuals with interesting hints. I feel truly blessed to have encountered your entire webpages and look forward to some more awesome moments reading here. Thanks a lot once again for all the details.
yeezy 500 http://www.yeezy-shoes.us.org
Reply lebron shoes
12:44 on 25 October, 2021 
I want to convey my gratitude for your generosity for men who really want help on this one field. Your real dedication to getting the solution around has been extremely powerful and have regularly allowed folks just like me to arrive at their ambitions. Your personal informative facts signifies this much a person like me and especially to my colleagues. Thank you; from all of us.
lebron shoes http://www.lebronjames-shoes.us.com
Reply yeezy
12:40 on 25 October, 2021 
I and also my friends happened to be going through the excellent secrets and techniques on your web page and immediately I had a horrible suspicion I never expressed respect to you for those secrets. My ladies appeared to be certainly excited to read all of them and have seriously been taking pleasure in these things. Appreciate your turning out to be simply kind and then for choosing variety of fine guides most people are really desirous to be aware of. My very own sincere regret for not expressing appreciation to sooner.
yeezy http://www.yeezy-supply.us.org
Reply comunidadmh
11:24 on 25 October, 2021 
limited domenik hixon mens jersey chicago bears 87 road white nfl nike air max tavas ltr svart hvit 4 years old girl party dress oshkosh overall dress 76ers city edition hat for uk jordan fly 23 negro
comunidadmh http://www.comunidadmh.com/
Reply yeezy
11:23 on 25 October, 2021 
I happen to be commenting to let you understand what a wonderful encounter my friend's child had reading through the blog. She noticed numerous things, which include how it is like to have a marvelous helping mindset to make the mediocre ones quite simply have an understanding of a number of tricky things. You truly surpassed her desires. I appreciate you for offering these good, dependable, educational and in addition cool thoughts on your topic to Kate.
yeezy http://www.yeezyboost380.us.com
Reply supreme shirt
10:54 on 25 October, 2021 
I would like to point out my affection for your generosity giving support to women who actually need help on this one study. Your personal dedication to passing the message up and down turned out to be exceptionally significant and have continually allowed men and women much like me to attain their pursuits. Your invaluable hints and tips means this much to me and extremely more to my mates. Thanks a lot; from each one of us.
supreme shirt http://www.supremeshirt.us.com
Reply yeezy
10:48 on 25 October, 2021 
I definitely wanted to construct a simple note to appreciate you for these remarkable steps you are showing here. My prolonged internet look up has at the end been honored with excellent suggestions to exchange with my great friends. I 'd tell you that many of us website visitors are really blessed to live in a superb website with many awesome professionals with beneficial hints. I feel truly blessed to have encountered your entire webpage and look forward to many more excellent moments reading here. Thank you once again for a lot of things.
yeezy http://www.yeezy350s.com
Reply golden goose outlet
10:48 on 25 October, 2021 
Thank you a lot for providing individuals with an extraordinarily terrific chance to read in detail from this site. It can be very lovely plus jam-packed with fun for me and my office acquaintances to search the blog the equivalent of three times a week to read the latest secrets you have got. And indeed, I'm just actually satisfied considering the incredible solutions served by you. Selected 1 tips in this article are definitely the most impressive we have ever had.
golden goose outlet http://www.goldengoosesonline.com
Reply supreme clothing
10:48 on 25 October, 2021 
I must show some appreciation to you just for bailing me out of this trouble. Right after checking through the search engines and finding concepts which were not productive, I was thinking my entire life was gone. Being alive minus the solutions to the issues you have solved through your main review is a crucial case, as well as ones that might have in a wrong way damaged my career if I hadn't noticed your site. Your own personal mastery and kindness in playing with all the details was very useful. I don't know what I would've done if I had not encountered such a point like this. I'm able to at this moment look ahead to my future. Thank you so much for your skilled and results-oriented help. I won't be reluctant to endorse your web blog to any individual who requires guide about this area.
supreme clothing http://www.supremes-clothing.com
Reply curry 8
10:48 on 25 October, 2021 
I simply needed to thank you so much all over again. I am not sure what I would have achieved in the absence of the aspects shared by you over my area. It was the hard setting in my circumstances, but viewing a new specialised form you resolved it forced me to cry over contentment. Extremely grateful for your advice and as well , have high hopes you comprehend what a powerful job you're doing instructing other individuals by way of a site. I am sure you've never come across any of us.
curry 8 http://www.curry8shoes.us
Reply air jordan shoes
10:47 on 25 October, 2021 
I want to show my affection for your kind-heartedness supporting those people that need help on this one question. Your special dedication to passing the solution along was quite helpful and have truly empowered many people just like me to reach their pursuits. The informative suggestions indicates much to me and even further to my colleagues. Warm regards; from all of us.
air jordan shoes http://www.jordansshoes.us.org
Reply yeezy boost 350
10:47 on 25 October, 2021 
I simply needed to say thanks yet again. I'm not certain what I could possibly have made to happen in the absence of the type of suggestions contributed by you regarding that topic. It was before a real terrifying circumstance in my position, nevertheless understanding a new expert avenue you managed it made me to jump over joy. I'm just thankful for this support as well as sincerely hope you realize what a powerful job you happen to be carrying out educating the rest through the use of a blog. I am sure you have never met all of us.
yeezy boost 350 http://www.adidasyeezyboost350.us.com
Reply curry shoes
10:47 on 25 October, 2021 
I am just writing to make you understand what a helpful experience our daughter undergone using your blog. She even learned so many things, including how it is like to have a great giving nature to have other folks without difficulty have an understanding of certain tortuous subject areas. You undoubtedly did more than her desires. Thank you for displaying the invaluable, trustworthy, educational not to mention fun tips about your topic to Emily.
curry shoes http://www.curry8.us
Reply off white
10:47 on 25 October, 2021 
I enjoy you because of all of your efforts on this blog. My mum loves getting into investigation and it is simple to grasp why. We learn all relating to the lively way you present simple strategies on your website and in addition foster contribution from the others on that concept plus our girl is without question starting to learn a lot. Have fun with the remaining portion of the new year. Your doing a splendid job.
off white http://www.offwhitehoodies.us
Reply kyrie 6
10:47 on 25 October, 2021 
I want to convey my passion for your generosity giving support to persons that have the need for guidance on this area. Your very own commitment to passing the message up and down had become rather advantageous and has consistently helped others much like me to get to their ambitions. The warm and friendly key points denotes a whole lot a person like me and still more to my mates. Thank you; from each one of us.
kyrie 6 http://www.kyrie-6.com
Reply kyrie shoes
9:40 on 25 October, 2021 
I want to express some appreciation to the writer for rescuing me from this type of matter. After researching through the internet and finding ways which are not helpful, I believed my life was gone. Existing without the presence of solutions to the issues you have solved by means of the blog post is a crucial case, and the kind that could have adversely affected my career if I had not come across your blog post. Your personal understanding and kindness in playing with almost everything was helpful. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't encountered such a thing like this. I can also at this time look ahead to my future. Thanks a lot very much for the expert and amazing guide. I won't be reluctant to suggest your web sites to any individual who desires guidance about this area.
kyrie shoes http://www.kyrieirving-shoes.us.com
Reply air jordan
8:57 on 25 October, 2021 
My wife and i have been delighted Emmanuel managed to deal with his inquiry because of the precious recommendations he had through your web pages. It's not at all simplistic just to choose to be giving out solutions which often other people may have been making money from. We really acknowledge we need the blog owner to give thanks to for this. The type of illustrations you've made, the simple blog menu, the relationships you help to foster - it's everything exceptional, and it's helping our son in addition to us imagine that the idea is awesome, and that is pretty pressing. Many thanks for all the pieces!
air jordan http://www.jordanshoes.us
0