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 off-white
1:14 on 19 June, 2021 
A lot of thanks for each of your hard work on this web page. My mum delights in participating in internet research and it's easy to understand why. We notice all concerning the powerful way you produce priceless guides on your blog and even strongly encourage response from people about this article so our daughter is without question studying a lot. Take advantage of the rest of the new year. You are always doing a very good job.
Reply off white hoodie
0:57 on 19 June, 2021 
I am also writing to make you be aware of of the helpful encounter our princess gained studying your webblog. She learned lots of details, not to mention what it is like to possess a wonderful coaching spirit to have the mediocre ones just fully grasp various advanced things. You truly did more than visitors' expectations. Thanks for offering such good, safe, informative and in addition cool tips on your topic to Janet.
off white hoodie
Reply moncler outlet
0:56 on 19 June, 2021 
My wife and i ended up being now ecstatic that Albert could finish up his investigations through the ideas he gained while using the site. It is now and again perplexing just to continually be giving for free helpful tips that many some others might have been making money from. Therefore we recognize we have got the writer to give thanks to for this. The explanations you've made, the simple site navigation, the friendships you will make it easier to instill - it's mostly terrific, and it's letting our son and the family reckon that the idea is thrilling, and that is highly essential. Thanks for all the pieces!
moncler outlet
Reply jordan 11
0:56 on 19 June, 2021 
I simply wanted to compose a small message to be able to express gratitude to you for some of the fabulous hints you are showing on this website. My incredibly long internet research has finally been honored with professional know-how to write about with my family and friends. I would point out that most of us visitors actually are truly lucky to dwell in a superb site with many brilliant people with very beneficial guidelines. I feel somewhat privileged to have used your entire website page and look forward to some more amazing minutes reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.
jordan 11
Reply hermes birkin
0:54 on 19 June, 2021 
I am also commenting to let you know of the extraordinary discovery my cousin's princess found reading through your site. She mastered so many details, most notably how it is like to have an excellent helping mindset to let certain people without problems completely grasp specified tricky subject matter. You truly exceeded readers' desires. Thank you for displaying the beneficial, dependable, edifying and easy tips on that topic to Lizeth.
hermes birkin
Reply jordans
0:53 on 19 June, 2021 
I want to show my gratitude for your kind-heartedness supporting men and women that should have help on that theme. Your personal dedication to getting the message all around ended up being certainly advantageous and have permitted men and women just like me to get to their targets. Your helpful useful information entails this much a person like me and even further to my mates. Regards; from everyone of us.
Reply kyrie 5 spongebob
0:10 on 19 June, 2021 
I would like to show my admiration for your generosity in support of women who absolutely need guidance on in this topic. Your special dedication to getting the solution across turned out to be pretty productive and have in every case made individuals just like me to achieve their endeavors. Your new important guide implies a lot to me and far more to my mates. Regards; from everyone of us.
kyrie 5 spongebob
Reply jordan 13
0:08 on 19 June, 2021 
Thanks a lot for giving everyone a very terrific opportunity to read in detail from here. It is often so good and stuffed with a good time for me personally and my office colleagues to visit your site no less than three times every week to read the fresh guides you have. Of course, I am just usually satisfied with the outstanding inspiring ideas you give. Selected 2 areas on this page are in truth the most effective we have all ever had.
jordan 13
Reply curry 8
0:07 on 19 June, 2021 
I am just writing to let you be aware of of the cool experience my wife's girl went through using your web page. She mastered many things, with the inclusion of how it is like to possess a great coaching spirit to get men and women quite simply thoroughly grasp certain hard to do subject areas. You truly exceeded our own expected results. Thanks for rendering these great, safe, revealing and also easy tips on this topic to Sandra.
curry 8
Reply supreme new york
0:07 on 19 June, 2021 
I actually wanted to type a remark to be able to appreciate you for the amazing ways you are placing on this website. My extended internet investigation has finally been paid with good quality knowledge to write about with my friends and family. I 'd state that that many of us website visitors are quite fortunate to dwell in a great site with so many wonderful people with very helpful guidelines. I feel quite happy to have encountered your entire web site and look forward to tons of more fabulous times reading here. Thanks a lot once more for everything.
supreme new york
Reply moncler
23:55 on 18 June, 2021 
Needed to send you a bit of remark so as to thank you very much the moment again over the unique views you've shared at this time. It's really extremely open-handed with people like you to offer freely precisely what a lot of folks would have supplied as an ebook to help with making some money on their own, mostly seeing that you could possibly have tried it in the event you considered necessary. Those points in addition acted as a good way to be aware that other people online have similar fervor really like my very own to figure out significantly more pertaining to this issue. I'm certain there are some more fun opportunities up front for people who check out your website.
Reply curry 7
23:48 on 18 June, 2021 
I am commenting to make you know what a nice discovery my wife's girl had using yuor web blog. She discovered several issues, not to mention what it's like to possess an excellent teaching heart to make other individuals easily completely grasp selected tortuous subject matter. You truly exceeded our desires. Thank you for imparting those insightful, healthy, informative and as well as easy thoughts on your topic to Ethel.
curry 7
Reply kyrie 6
23:48 on 18 June, 2021 
I needed to post you one little observation to finally give thanks the moment again for your personal striking views you have featured on this site. It's simply surprisingly generous with people like you in giving freely what exactly a few individuals could have made available for an ebook to earn some bucks for their own end, especially given that you might well have tried it if you ever decided. Those guidelines in addition acted to become a great way to be sure that many people have the identical zeal really like mine to understand more with reference to this matter. Certainly there are many more pleasant times ahead for individuals that scan through your website.
kyrie 6
Reply curry 7 shoes
23:45 on 18 June, 2021 
I really wanted to compose a quick remark in order to appreciate you for all the fabulous ideas you are giving out here. My time intensive internet lookup has at the end been honored with professional ideas to go over with my great friends. I 'd believe that many of us website visitors actually are undoubtedly lucky to live in a decent website with very many wonderful people with helpful opinions. I feel rather blessed to have encountered the website page and look forward to so many more cool times reading here. Thanks a lot once more for a lot of things.
curry 7 shoes
Reply 1.3ml 96 Deep Well Plate
23:39 on 18 June, 2021 
Reply adidas yeezy
23:28 on 18 June, 2021 
I in addition to my friends ended up looking at the excellent tips found on your web blog while instantly got a terrible feeling I never thanked you for those strategies. All the men happened to be so thrilled to read them and already have in truth been tapping into these things. Appreciation for being indeed thoughtful and for opting for these kinds of brilliant useful guides millions of individuals are really eager to be aware of. My very own honest regret for not expressing appreciation to sooner.
adidas yeezy
Reply lersToons
22:52 on 18 June, 2021 
buy vardenafil 40 mg online
Reply jordan 6
22:47 on 18 June, 2021 
My husband and i felt now cheerful Raymond could do his preliminary research through the entire precious recommendations he grabbed from your own site. It is now and again perplexing to simply be freely giving instructions which usually people today may have been selling. And we acknowledge we need the website owner to appreciate for this. Those explanations you made, the easy blog navigation, the friendships you will aid to create - it's mostly astounding, and it's helping our son in addition to our family consider that the theme is thrilling, which is certainly rather serious. Thanks for everything!
jordan 6
Reply kevin durant
22:47 on 18 June, 2021 
Thanks for your whole efforts on this web page. Gloria takes pleasure in going through research and it's easy to understand why. A number of us hear all of the dynamic ways you present reliable tactics by means of this website and in addition boost participation from other ones about this point plus our favorite child is always understanding a great deal. Take advantage of the rest of the year. You are performing a pretty cool job.
kevin durant
Reply cheap jordans
22:47 on 18 June, 2021 
A lot of thanks for all of the effort on this web site. My mom takes pleasure in participating in investigations and it's really obvious why. Most people hear all relating to the compelling ways you make very useful guidance via this web site and therefore strongly encourage response from some other people on the concern plus our girl has always been understanding so much. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You have been performing a powerful job.
cheap jordans