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
19:40 on 13 April, 2021 
Thanks for all your valuable hard work on this site. Ellie really loves carrying out investigations and it's really easy to understand why. My partner and i learn all about the powerful way you render simple solutions through this web blog and inspire response from some other people on this area then our own daughter is actually understanding a lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You are always carrying out a terrific job.
Reply bape outlet
19:39 on 13 April, 2021 
Thanks so much for providing individuals with an extraordinarily special opportunity to read from here. It can be very cool and also stuffed with amusement for me personally and my office co-workers to visit your blog at minimum thrice in one week to see the new items you have. And of course, we're actually motivated with the superb points you serve. Some 1 ideas in this post are ultimately the most impressive we've ever had.
bape outlet
Reply off white
19:39 on 13 April, 2021 
I want to get across my respect for your generosity for persons that must have guidance on in this study. Your special dedication to getting the message up and down was exceedingly invaluable and have helped regular people like me to get to their ambitions. Your amazing warm and friendly suggestions implies this much to me and somewhat more to my mates. Best wishes; from everyone of us.
off white
Reply bathing ape
19:39 on 13 April, 2021 
Thank you for your own effort on this blog. Kate loves engaging in investigations and it's simple to grasp why. We all notice all about the lively means you produce vital things via your blog and increase participation from other individuals on this theme then my daughter is without question studying so much. Take advantage of the rest of the new year. You are always conducting a splendid job.
bathing ape
Reply supreme new york
19:37 on 13 April, 2021 
My husband and i got so ecstatic that Chris could complete his investigation through the ideas he made from your own site. It's not at all simplistic to simply possibly be giving freely tricks most people may have been trying to sell. Therefore we fully grasp we now have you to appreciate for this. The specific illustrations you've made, the easy blog navigation, the friendships your site help create - it is all spectacular, and it is leading our son in addition to the family reckon that the article is entertaining, and that's really vital. Thanks for all the pieces!
supreme new york
Reply canada goose
19:36 on 13 April, 2021 
I have to express some thanks to you for bailing me out of this particular dilemma. Because of exploring throughout the the net and obtaining recommendations which are not pleasant, I believed my entire life was over. Existing devoid of the approaches to the difficulties you have solved as a result of your site is a critical case, as well as those which could have adversely affected my career if I hadn't noticed your website. Your own personal knowledge and kindness in taking care of all the things was useful. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not come upon such a step like this. I'm able to now look ahead to my future. Thank you so much for your expert and results-oriented guide. I will not be reluctant to recommend your blog to anyone who should have tips about this matter.
canada goose
Reply Loans
19:31 on 13 April, 2021 
loans gov easy loans no credit check
Reply yeezys
19:28 on 13 April, 2021 
A lot of thanks for your entire effort on this web site. Kate loves going through investigations and it is obvious why. I learn all regarding the powerful medium you present reliable strategies through this website and in addition invigorate contribution from other ones on this concept then our simple princess is now studying a lot of things. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You have been doing a really good job.
Reply lebron 18
19:15 on 13 April, 2021 
Needed to draft you this little word to say thank you yet again regarding the fantastic tips you've documented in this case. This has been so pretty generous of people like you to supply extensively just what a lot of people would have made available for an e-book in order to make some dough on their own, most notably considering the fact that you might well have done it if you ever decided. These advice likewise worked as a easy way to recognize that many people have similar keenness just like my own to see way more on the subject of this problem. I'm sure there are numerous more pleasant sessions ahead for many who view your site.
lebron 18
Reply «¨«ë«á«¹ü¨«¹?«Ñ?«³«Ô?
19:14 on 13 April, 2021 
Biomass shredder
Reply lebron james shoes
19:10 on 13 April, 2021 
I together with my buddies happened to be following the great information and facts from your web blog while quickly I got a terrible suspicion I had not expressed respect to the website owner for those tips. Those boys were for that reason glad to see them and have simply been taking advantage of them. Appreciation for genuinely well accommodating and for choosing varieties of smart subject matter most people are really needing to be informed on. My sincere apologies for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.
lebron james shoes
Reply bape hoodie
18:37 on 13 April, 2021 
A lot of thanks for each of your labor on this site. Gloria take interest in conducting research and it's simple to grasp why. A lot of people learn all of the dynamic way you provide powerful steps on this blog and in addition inspire contribution from visitors on that concept so our daughter is now starting to learn so much. Have fun with the remaining portion of the new year. You're carrying out a wonderful job.
bape hoodie
Reply pg 4
18:12 on 13 April, 2021 
I would like to show my love for your generosity supporting those who absolutely need guidance on this concern. Your personal dedication to passing the solution across had become particularly helpful and has specifically helped some individuals just like me to get to their goals. Your informative hints and tips indicates a lot to me and far more to my peers. With thanks; from all of us.
pg 4
Reply yeezy boost
18:12 on 13 April, 2021 
I simply wanted to send a quick note to say thanks to you for the wonderful steps you are placing on this website. My prolonged internet look up has now been paid with excellent know-how to go over with my partners. I would suppose that we site visitors actually are quite blessed to dwell in a decent website with very many outstanding individuals with very beneficial basics. I feel rather happy to have seen the website page and look forward to plenty of more entertaining moments reading here. Thank you once more for everything.
yeezy boost
Reply jordan shoes
18:11 on 13 April, 2021 
I wish to convey my passion for your kind-heartedness in support of all those that need guidance on this particular subject matter. Your very own commitment to passing the message throughout has been exceedingly good and have without exception encouraged women much like me to reach their goals. This interesting tips and hints implies a lot to me and a whole lot more to my mates. Many thanks; from all of us.
jordan shoes
Reply pandora
18:09 on 13 April, 2021 
I simply wished to thank you so much all over again. I do not know what I would have followed without the opinions documented by you concerning such industry. This was a real frightening dilemma for me, nevertheless spending time with this skilled way you processed it made me to cry for contentment. Extremely happier for this service and in addition expect you comprehend what a powerful job that you're accomplishing instructing people through a web site. Most likely you've never met any of us.
Reply ¥¦¥Ö¥í?rÓ?¥¹©`¥Ñ©`¥³¥Ô©`¼¤°²
18:03 on 13 April, 2021 
316 Stainless Steel Round Bar Suppliers
Reply supreme hoodie
18:00 on 13 April, 2021 
A lot of thanks for your own effort on this site. My niece take interest in going through research and it's really easy to understand why. I know all relating to the dynamic manner you create simple tips on this website and in addition improve response from some others about this concept so our own daughter is truly discovering a great deal. Enjoy the rest of the new year. You have been carrying out a dazzling job.
supreme hoodie
Reply kd shoes
17:59 on 13 April, 2021 
I actually wanted to type a small note to be able to appreciate you for these wonderful secrets you are writing on this site. My prolonged internet lookup has at the end been honored with awesome know-how to talk about with my friends and classmates. I would suppose that we site visitors are definitely blessed to exist in a fabulous place with many marvellous individuals with good tips. I feel very much lucky to have seen the webpages and look forward to so many more excellent moments reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.
kd shoes
Reply golden goose
17:59 on 13 April, 2021 
I must show some appreciation to you just for rescuing me from this particular condition. After searching throughout the online world and finding views that were not beneficial, I figured my entire life was well over. Being alive devoid of the answers to the problems you've resolved all through this report is a crucial case, as well as the ones that could have adversely affected my career if I had not noticed your web blog. The ability and kindness in dealing with all the stuff was tremendous. I'm not sure what I would have done if I hadn't come across such a point like this. It's possible to at this time relish my future. Thanks so much for this impressive and effective guide. I will not think twice to suggest your blog post to anybody who wants and needs support about this subject matter.
golden goose