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.

30644 Comments

Reply golden goose
14:43 on 15 June, 2021 
I together with my guys happened to be taking note of the great thoughts on your site then suddenly came up with a horrible feeling I had not thanked the blog owner for those tips. The ladies had been consequently stimulated to see all of them and now have really been having fun with those things. Thank you for truly being well thoughtful and then for pick out varieties of nice guides millions of individuals are really desperate to know about. My honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to you earlier.
golden goose http://www.goldengoose-sneakers.us
Reply moncler
13:57 on 15 June, 2021 
I simply desired to appreciate you once more. I'm not certain the things that I might have tried without these information documented by you regarding this subject matter. It became a real terrifying issue in my view, however , looking at a professional fashion you managed it forced me to cry over fulfillment. I will be happier for your advice and thus expect you recognize what a powerful job you were undertaking instructing many others through a site. Most probably you have never come across any of us.
moncler http://www.monclersoutletstore.com
Reply air jordan
13:57 on 15 June, 2021 
My husband and i have been so comfortable that Edward could complete his studies using the precious recommendations he gained out of the web page. It is now and again perplexing to just find yourself giving out things that many men and women have been selling. We know we need the blog owner to give thanks to because of that. These explanations you've made, the straightforward web site navigation, the relationships your site make it possible to create - it is many unbelievable, and it's facilitating our son in addition to us believe that this theme is amusing, and that is rather essential. Thank you for all the pieces!
air jordan http://www.jordanstoreonline.com
Reply yeezy wave runner 700
13:57 on 15 June, 2021 
I simply had to say thanks once more. I do not know what I would have created in the absence of the type of tips shared by you about my problem. It became a real alarming matter for me personally, nevertheless discovering a specialized style you treated it made me to jump with gladness. I'm thankful for your support and in addition hope that you are aware of a powerful job you happen to be doing teaching the mediocre ones with the aid of your web blog. I know that you have never got to know all of us.
yeezy wave runner 700 http://www.yeezy700.us.com
Reply golden goose outlet
13:56 on 15 June, 2021 
I wish to express my appreciation to the writer just for bailing me out of this particular problem. Because of searching throughout the the net and meeting basics which were not beneficial, I assumed my life was well over. Being alive minus the strategies to the problems you have solved as a result of your main post is a critical case, and the kind that would have in a negative way affected my career if I hadn't encountered your web page. Your competence and kindness in taking care of the whole thing was useful. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't come across such a stuff like this. I'm able to at this point relish my future. Thanks a lot very much for your high quality and effective guide. I won't think twice to endorse your blog to any individual who would need guidance on this situation.
golden goose outlet http://www.goldengoosessale.com
Reply hermes handbags
13:56 on 15 June, 2021 
I and my guys came examining the good tactics on your web site and then suddenly got an awful suspicion I never expressed respect to you for them. Most of the women were definitely for this reason stimulated to read through all of them and now have in fact been tapping into them. Appreciation for really being considerably thoughtful and then for going for these kinds of decent ideas most people are really eager to understand about. Our own sincere regret for not saying thanks to you earlier.
hermes handbags http://www.hermes-handbags.us.com
Reply yeezy
13:55 on 15 June, 2021 
A lot of thanks for every one of your labor on this web site. Debby delights in conducting internet research and it's simple to grasp why. Most of us learn all concerning the powerful method you make helpful tactics on the web site and as well as welcome contribution from website visitors about this situation plus our favorite princess has always been understanding a lot of things. Have fun with the remaining portion of the year. You have been conducting a powerful job.
yeezy http://www.yeezy-700.com
Reply michael jordan shoes
13:55 on 15 June, 2021 
I and also my guys happened to be following the excellent information and facts from the website then before long I had an awful suspicion I never expressed respect to the web site owner for them. Those guys appeared to be totally happy to study all of them and already have quite simply been using them. Appreciate your indeed being so helpful and then for picking varieties of quality subject matter millions of individuals are really desperate to be aware of. Our sincere regret for not saying thanks to earlier.
michael jordan shoes http://www.michaeljordanshoes.us.com
Reply kevin durant shoes
13:55 on 15 June, 2021 
I and my guys have been digesting the excellent guidelines found on your site then suddenly came up with an awful feeling I had not expressed respect to the web blog owner for them. All the women happened to be for this reason stimulated to see them and have in effect really been using those things. Thanks for genuinely well thoughtful as well as for finding this kind of helpful useful guides most people are really needing to learn about. My personal honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to you sooner.
kevin durant shoes http://www.kevindurant-shoes.us.com
Reply off white shoes
13:40 on 15 June, 2021 
A lot of thanks for your entire labor on this site. My niece delights in working on investigations and it's easy to understand why. My spouse and i know all relating to the dynamic method you render practical thoughts on your web site and as well invigorate contribution from other ones about this issue then our simple princess is learning a whole lot. Enjoy the rest of the new year. You're the one performing a first class job.
off white shoes http://www.offwhite.us.com
Reply Galaxy Note 9 Screen Protector
13:40 on 15 June, 2021 
Reply air jordan
13:22 on 15 June, 2021 
I just wanted to make a quick remark to thank you for all of the wonderful pointers you are sharing on this website. My rather long internet search has at the end been paid with beneficial facts and techniques to go over with my neighbours. I 'd admit that we website visitors actually are really endowed to be in a great network with many perfect people with beneficial principles. I feel rather blessed to have used your entire website page and look forward to many more awesome minutes reading here. Thanks a lot once again for a lot of things.
air jordan http://www.airjordansstore.com
Reply longchamp
12:55 on 15 June, 2021 
I wanted to type a remark to say thanks to you for these stunning secrets you are posting on this site. My incredibly long internet research has at the end of the day been honored with wonderful know-how to go over with my contacts. I 'd point out that many of us website visitors are really lucky to live in a remarkable place with so many wonderful individuals with valuable opinions. I feel somewhat privileged to have come across your web page and look forward to tons of more thrilling times reading here. Thanks a lot once more for a lot of things.
longchamp http://www.longchampshandbags.us.org
Reply stephen curry shoes
12:29 on 15 June, 2021 
Thank you for your entire effort on this blog. My mum loves participating in internet research and it's easy to understand why. We notice all regarding the powerful mode you produce reliable tactics on this web site and as well increase response from other individuals on the situation and our own daughter is without question understanding so much. Enjoy the rest of the new year. You have been conducting a fantastic job.
stephen curry shoes http://www.stephcurryshoes.com
Reply chrome hearts online
12:26 on 15 June, 2021 
I must voice my appreciation for your kind-heartedness supporting those individuals that really need guidance on in this theme. Your very own dedication to passing the message throughout became certainly useful and has continually encouraged girls just like me to arrive at their desired goals. Your entire informative useful information indicates this much to me and extremely more to my office workers. Many thanks; from everyone of us.
chrome hearts online http://www.chromehearts.com.co
Reply lebron shoes
11:53 on 15 June, 2021 
I am glad for writing to let you be aware of what a outstanding encounter our princess gained viewing your web site. She came to understand plenty of details, with the inclusion of what it's like to have an incredible teaching heart to get most people easily learn about a number of tricky matters. You undoubtedly exceeded her expectations. Thanks for showing these great, safe, explanatory not to mention easy guidance on this topic to Lizeth.
lebron shoes http://www.lebron16.us
Reply golden goose
11:48 on 15 June, 2021 
I have to voice my passion for your generosity supporting those individuals that must have help on that subject. Your personal commitment to getting the solution throughout appears to be pretty practical and has always helped many people just like me to realize their goals. Your own insightful recommendations indicates a lot a person like me and far more to my fellow workers. Thanks a lot; from everyone of us.
golden goose http://www.goldengoose-shoes.us.com
Reply Gate Valve And Globe Valve
11:40 on 15 June, 2021 
Reply supreme clothing
11:29 on 15 June, 2021 
I happen to be commenting to make you understand what a nice encounter my cousin's daughter had studying the blog. She mastered plenty of issues, including what it is like to have a very effective helping character to get certain people quite simply understand some grueling things. You undoubtedly did more than readers' expectations. Thanks for displaying those great, safe, edifying and fun tips about your topic to Jane.
supreme clothing http://www.supremes.us.org
Reply kobe shoes
11:15 on 15 June, 2021 
I intended to create you that very little observation in order to thank you so much once again on your incredible advice you have contributed on this page. This has been really wonderfully open-handed with people like you to convey freely what many of us would have advertised as an ebook to help make some dough for themselves, primarily considering that you might have done it in the event you decided. Those good ideas likewise worked like a easy way to be aware that other people online have a similar passion like my personal own to grasp whole lot more concerning this matter. I'm certain there are many more fun periods up front for individuals who look into your blog.
kobe shoes http://www.kobe-shoes.us.com
0