Neil Pont

Wildlife Photography

"My Blog has moved - click on this link"


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, you forgot something.


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


Reply supreme hoodie
19:24 on 18 June, 2021 
I want to show my admiration for your kindness for individuals that need help with this particular situation. Your very own commitment to passing the solution all around was certainly useful and has without exception made regular people much like me to realize their aims. Your insightful suggestions denotes much to me and even more to my fellow workers. Many thanks; from all of us.
supreme hoodie
Reply golden goose outlet
19:22 on 18 June, 2021 
My wife and i got absolutely lucky that Edward managed to conclude his investigations with the ideas he received from your web page. It's not at all simplistic to just choose to be giving out solutions which some other people have been trying to sell. And we also take into account we need the writer to thank for that. The main explanations you have made, the straightforward site menu, the relationships you will aid to engender - it's everything incredible, and it is making our son in addition to us recognize that this subject is pleasurable, and that is particularly essential. Thanks for all the pieces!
golden goose outlet
Reply curry 7
19:22 on 18 June, 2021 
Thank you a lot for giving everyone an extraordinarily remarkable possiblity to read articles and blog posts from here. It is usually very beneficial and as well , full of amusement for me and my office colleagues to search your site particularly thrice in one week to read through the new issues you have. And lastly, I'm just actually happy considering the unbelievable things you serve. Certain 3 tips on this page are undeniably the very best I have had.
curry 7
Reply off white
19:20 on 18 June, 2021 
I happen to be writing to let you be aware of what a impressive experience my cousin's girl enjoyed browsing your web page. She picked up a wide variety of pieces, with the inclusion of what it's like to possess an excellent coaching mindset to make other individuals smoothly grasp a number of advanced issues. You undoubtedly surpassed people's desires. I appreciate you for presenting such powerful, safe, educational and also cool tips on your topic to Emily.
off white
Reply golden goose
19:20 on 18 June, 2021 
I want to show my love for your generosity for people who actually need help with that niche. Your personal dedication to getting the message all through came to be pretty insightful and have specifically empowered employees like me to get to their objectives. This informative publication signifies so much a person like me and even more to my mates. Best wishes; from everyone of us.
golden goose
Reply kyrie irving shoes
19:17 on 18 June, 2021 
I together with my friends ended up checking the good suggestions from the blog and then then I got a terrible feeling I had not thanked the website owner for those techniques. Most of the young men happened to be for that reason thrilled to read them and have in effect undoubtedly been loving those things. Many thanks for simply being quite considerate as well as for pick out this kind of helpful subjects millions of individuals are really wanting to be informed on. My very own honest apologies for not saying thanks to earlier.
kyrie irving shoes
Reply lebron james shoes
19:00 on 18 June, 2021 
A lot of thanks for all of your work on this web site. Ellie really loves getting into internet research and it is simple to grasp why. We notice all regarding the powerful means you give both interesting and useful techniques via this web blog and in addition welcome contribution from website visitors on that subject matter and our girl is certainly learning so much. Have fun with the rest of the year. You're the one performing a really good job.
lebron james shoes
Reply golden goose sneakers
18:59 on 18 June, 2021 
I want to show thanks to the writer for bailing me out of this instance. Just after looking out throughout the world-wide-web and obtaining advice that were not powerful, I thought my life was well over. Existing minus the approaches to the problems you've fixed through this guide is a serious case, as well as ones which might have in a wrong way damaged my career if I hadn't discovered your website. Your primary natural talent and kindness in handling a lot of things was tremendous. I don't know what I would have done if I had not encountered such a subject like this. It's possible to now look forward to my future. Thanks a lot so much for this specialized and results-oriented guide. I won't be reluctant to suggest your web sites to anyone who wants and needs guidelines on this problem.
golden goose sneakers
Reply bape clothing
18:58 on 18 June, 2021 
I needed to put you a very little remark so as to give thanks again for all the magnificent knowledge you've documented in this article. It is so seriously open-handed of you giving freely what exactly a number of us might have supplied as an ebook to earn some cash on their own, especially given that you could possibly have done it in case you desired. These solutions additionally worked as the easy way to fully grasp that the rest have a similar passion just like mine to understand good deal more when considering this condition. I am certain there are numerous more pleasant situations in the future for individuals that scan your blog.
bape clothing
Reply chrome hearts online store
18:57 on 18 June, 2021 
I intended to create you a little bit of note to help say thanks a lot as before considering the great secrets you have provided above. It is quite strangely generous of people like you to give unhampered exactly what a lot of people might have offered for sale as an ebook in order to make some cash on their own, most notably considering the fact that you could possibly have tried it in case you desired. These strategies in addition acted to be the great way to be sure that someone else have a similar eagerness really like my own to know the truth a lot more with respect to this matter. I am certain there are a lot more enjoyable opportunities in the future for individuals that read carefully your website.
chrome hearts online store
Reply off white jordan 1
18:57 on 18 June, 2021 
I enjoy you because of your entire effort on this website. Ellie really loves making time for internet research and it's really simple to grasp why. A lot of people hear all concerning the dynamic method you create vital solutions on the web site and in addition improve response from some other people on this area then our girl is without question being taught a lot of things. Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the new year. You are doing a useful job.
off white jordan 1
Reply jordan 6
18:56 on 18 June, 2021 
A lot of thanks for all your valuable work on this blog. My daughter delights in engaging in investigation and it's easy to see why. Most of us notice all regarding the lively ways you offer vital tips and tricks by means of this blog and welcome participation from visitors on that issue then our own princess is now discovering a lot. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. Your doing a remarkable job.
jordan 6
Reply a bathing ape
18:35 on 18 June, 2021 
I must express my thanks to the writer just for bailing me out of this type of scenario. As a result of researching through the the net and meeting thoughts which are not helpful, I figured my entire life was well over. Existing minus the answers to the difficulties you have resolved through your main article content is a crucial case, as well as the kind that could have negatively affected my entire career if I had not discovered your web blog. Your training and kindness in playing with all the pieces was excellent. I don't know what I would've done if I hadn't encountered such a step like this. It's possible to at this time relish my future. Thank you very much for this skilled and amazing help. I won't think twice to refer the blog to anyone who should get recommendations about this subject.
a bathing ape
Reply kyrie 7
18:28 on 18 June, 2021 
My spouse and i were joyful that Emmanuel managed to conclude his reports with the ideas he grabbed through your site. It is now and again perplexing to just always be handing out guides that many some people could have been making money from. We fully grasp we have the writer to be grateful to because of that. Those explanations you've made, the easy website navigation, the relationships you help foster - it is mostly awesome, and it is assisting our son in addition to the family recognize that this subject matter is pleasurable, which is especially indispensable. Thank you for the whole lot!
kyrie 7
Reply supreme t shirt
18:27 on 18 June, 2021 
I simply wanted to thank you very much once again. I'm not certain the things I could possibly have achieved without the type of smart ideas provided by you regarding that theme. It has been a traumatic concern in my view, however , seeing your skilled strategy you treated the issue made me to leap over delight. Extremely happy for this help and in addition hope that you are aware of an amazing job your are carrying out educating most people thru a blog. I'm certain you haven't got to know all of us.
supreme t shirt
Reply supreme clothing
18:26 on 18 June, 2021 
I am just commenting to make you know what a useful encounter my wife's child experienced reading through your webblog. She figured out such a lot of things, which include what it's like to possess a very effective coaching heart to make the others without problems grasp a variety of hard to do things. You truly surpassed our own expected results. Thank you for coming up with the good, trusted, informative and in addition fun tips about your topic to Emily.
supreme clothing
Reply supreme
18:24 on 18 June, 2021 
I needed to create you the very little note so as to thank you very much as before just for the wonderful basics you have documented at this time. It has been really seriously generous with you to convey without restraint precisely what many of us would've supplied as an e-book to earn some money for themselves, most notably since you might well have done it in the event you decided. The smart ideas in addition acted to be a fantastic way to be aware that the rest have a similar desire like my personal own to understand great deal more with regard to this problem. I am sure there are numerous more pleasant opportunities up front for individuals who browse through your blog.
Reply Payday Express
18:01 on 18 June, 2021 
direct lenders for bad credit
Reply Kids Golf Wear
17:56 on 18 June, 2021 
Reply Christmas Gift Card Boxes
17:10 on 18 June, 2021