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.

31415 Comments

Reply 2.5 Mm Machine Screws
3:08 on 19 June, 2021 
Reply birkin bag
3:05 on 19 June, 2021 
I intended to compose you that bit of observation just to say thanks as before for your personal spectacular techniques you've shown on this page. It was really extremely generous of people like you to convey extensively all a lot of people could have made available as an e book to generate some money on their own, primarily given that you might well have done it if you desired. Those secrets additionally worked to become easy way to understand that other people have a similar zeal like mine to see lots more regarding this issue. I am certain there are many more pleasurable occasions up front for those who read carefully your website.
birkin bag http://www.hermesonlineshop.com
Reply giannis antetokounmpo shoes
2:41 on 19 June, 2021 
I'm also writing to let you be aware of of the helpful encounter my friend's daughter went through visiting yuor web blog. She learned lots of things, which included how it is like to have a marvelous helping character to get others smoothly master certain grueling matters. You really surpassed our own expectations. Thank you for coming up with these informative, healthy, educational as well as unique guidance on that topic to Gloria.
giannis antetokounmpo shoes http://www.giannisantetokounmposhoes.us
Reply lebron james shoes
2:27 on 19 June, 2021 
I intended to create you that very little remark to be able to say thanks the moment again over the striking techniques you've discussed in this article. This has been so pretty generous of people like you in giving easily precisely what a number of people would have supplied for an ebook to make some money for their own end, notably given that you might well have tried it if you desired. Those secrets as well worked as the great way to understand that the rest have the identical dreams really like my personal own to figure out more and more with reference to this matter. Certainly there are millions of more pleasurable opportunities ahead for folks who take a look at your website.
lebron james shoes http://www.lebron18shoes.us
Reply jordan 11
2:24 on 19 June, 2021 
I must express some appreciation to you just for bailing me out of this problem. After exploring throughout the internet and getting tips which are not productive, I thought my entire life was gone. Being alive without the approaches to the difficulties you've sorted out as a result of this short post is a critical case, as well as the kind that might have in a negative way affected my entire career if I had not encountered your blog. That training and kindness in dealing with all the details was excellent. I'm not sure what I would've done if I hadn't come upon such a thing like this. I'm able to now look ahead to my future. Thanks very much for your expert and sensible help. I will not hesitate to recommend your site to anybody who would need support on this subject matter.
jordan 11 http://www.jordan11retro.us.com
Reply kyrie shoes
2:01 on 19 June, 2021 
I together with my guys came viewing the good tips and tricks on the blog and so unexpectedly developed a horrible suspicion I had not thanked the web blog owner for them. The men ended up absolutely joyful to read through all of them and now have in reality been having fun with these things. We appreciate you being really kind and also for considering variety of incredibly good subject areas millions of individuals are really wanting to learn about. My sincere apologies for not saying thanks to earlier.
kyrie shoes http://www.kyrie4shoes.us
Reply moncler outlet
1:53 on 19 June, 2021 
I wanted to write a small comment in order to say thanks to you for some of the awesome guides you are writing on this site. My extended internet research has at the end of the day been rewarded with good facts and techniques to write about with my family. I 'd express that we readers actually are undeniably endowed to live in a very good community with so many outstanding people with beneficial tricks. I feel very lucky to have used the site and look forward to tons of more exciting times reading here. Thanks a lot once again for everything.
moncler outlet http://www.moncler--outlet.us.com
Reply kobe
1:50 on 19 June, 2021 
I want to show some appreciation to the writer just for bailing me out of this circumstance. Because of surfing around throughout the the net and finding solutions which are not beneficial, I thought my life was over. Living devoid of the solutions to the problems you have sorted out by way of the article content is a serious case, and the kind that would have badly damaged my career if I had not noticed your website. Your mastery and kindness in dealing with all areas was valuable. I'm not sure what I would have done if I hadn't encountered such a step like this. I can at this time look ahead to my future. Thanks for your time so much for the specialized and effective guide. I won't be reluctant to endorse the blog to any individual who would need tips about this issue.
kobe http://www.kobe.us.com
Reply supreme clothing
1:50 on 19 June, 2021 
I would like to show my appreciation for your generosity for folks who really want help on this important study. Your personal dedication to getting the solution all through appears to be pretty advantageous and have frequently enabled men and women just like me to arrive at their goals. Your new useful useful information signifies so much to me and somewhat more to my mates. Many thanks; from each one of us.
supreme clothing http://www.supremeclothingsstore.com
Reply supreme clothing
1:49 on 19 June, 2021 
Thanks a lot for providing individuals with a very terrific possiblity to check tips from this website. It is usually very cool plus stuffed with fun for me and my office fellow workers to visit your web site really 3 times in one week to find out the latest guidance you will have. And lastly, I'm just always impressed concerning the unique information served by you. Certain 1 points in this posting are clearly the most beneficial we have all ever had.
supreme clothing http://www.supremes.us.org
Reply yeezy
1:41 on 19 June, 2021 
I am just writing to make you know what a fine encounter my daughter enjoyed reading your webblog. She picked up such a lot of issues, which included what it is like to possess a very effective teaching nature to get the mediocre ones just learn specified very confusing topics. You actually exceeded my desires. Thank you for distributing such precious, trustworthy, educational and also cool tips about this topic to Tanya.
yeezy http://www.shoesyeezy.com
Reply stone island sale
1:41 on 19 June, 2021 
I wish to express my affection for your kind-heartedness in support of women who have the need for guidance on this one situation. Your personal commitment to passing the solution all-around ended up being especially useful and have in every case helped many people much like me to arrive at their ambitions. Your interesting tutorial signifies this much a person like me and a whole lot more to my fellow workers. Regards; from each one of us.
stone island sale http://www.stoneislands.us
Reply jordan 12
1:39 on 19 June, 2021 
I simply had to appreciate you again. I am not sure the things I would have sorted out in the absence of those recommendations documented by you directly on this problem. It was before an absolute depressing problem in my view, nevertheless taking a look at the skilled fashion you handled that took me to weep with fulfillment. Now i am happy for this information and then sincerely hope you know what a powerful job you happen to be carrying out educating the rest using your blog. I am certain you've never come across all of us.
jordan 12 http://www.jordan12.us.com
Reply supreme clothing
1:33 on 19 June, 2021 
Needed to draft you the little bit of observation to give thanks as before regarding the incredible strategies you have shown on this website. This has been simply wonderfully generous with you to provide easily just what most people would've marketed as an ebook in making some cash on their own, certainly given that you might have done it in the event you decided. The inspiring ideas additionally served to become fantastic way to be aware that other individuals have a similar zeal like my very own to figure out a good deal more in regard to this matter. I am sure there are some more enjoyable times up front for people who read carefully your site.
supreme clothing http://www.supremeoutlet.us.com
Reply curry 6
1:33 on 19 June, 2021 
A lot of thanks for all your valuable hard work on this site. My daughter really likes conducting investigations and it's easy to understand why. Almost all notice all regarding the lively ways you offer very important guidelines via the web blog and as well invigorate response from some others on that situation so my girl is studying a great deal. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You are carrying out a splendid job.
curry 6 http://www.curry-6.us
Reply curry 8
1:33 on 19 June, 2021 
Thanks for all your work on this web site. My mother enjoys conducting research and it's really easy to understand why. I hear all relating to the dynamic tactic you produce precious tactics on the web blog and as well recommend contribution from other ones on this subject matter plus our child is discovering a whole lot. Enjoy the rest of the year. You're the one doing a dazzling job.
curry 8 http://www.curry8.us
Reply lebron 16
1:32 on 19 June, 2021 
Needed to draft you this little observation to help give many thanks over again on your wonderful tips you've discussed in this case. It is so unbelievably open-handed of you to deliver unreservedly what a number of people would've sold for an ebook to earn some cash for themselves, especially seeing that you could possibly have done it if you ever desired. These advice likewise worked as a easy way to fully grasp other people have the identical dreams just as my own to find out good deal more with regards to this problem. I am certain there are thousands of more pleasant opportunities ahead for folks who read through your blog post.
lebron 16 http://www.lebron16.us
Reply hermes handbags
1:32 on 19 June, 2021 
I as well as my friends appeared to be going through the great suggestions from your site and then I had a horrible feeling I never thanked the website owner for those tips. These ladies appeared to be totally joyful to read all of them and have now pretty much been tapping into these things. Thanks for getting simply considerate and for obtaining such fantastic subject areas millions of individuals are really needing to understand about. My sincere apologies for not expressing gratitude to sooner.
hermes handbags http://www.hermes-handbags.us.com
Reply jordan shoes
1:32 on 19 June, 2021 
I precisely wished to thank you so much all over again. I am not sure the things that I would've made to happen in the absence of the tactics provided by you about this question. It had been the frightening matter in my opinion, however , noticing this expert manner you resolved the issue made me to jump for delight. I am thankful for your support and even hope that you recognize what an amazing job you are putting in training the others through the use of your web site. I am sure you've never got to know any of us.
jordan shoes http://www.airjordansstore.com
Reply kawhi leonard shoes
1:31 on 19 June, 2021 
I simply needed to thank you so much all over again. I'm not certain the things I could possibly have handled in the absence of these advice documented by you concerning such a industry. It was actually a real traumatic situation in my position, but taking note of the very expert mode you handled the issue made me to weep over gladness. Now i'm happy for your support and then believe you find out what a great job you're carrying out educating the others through a web site. Probably you have never met all of us.
kawhi leonard shoes http://www.kawhileonardshoes.us
0