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.

15861 Comments

Reply kenzo
12:53 on 13 April, 2021 
My husband and i got so thankful that Louis could do his basic research from the ideas he made while using the site. It is now and again perplexing to simply be handing out tips which usually the others could have been selling. We remember we've got you to thank for that. The illustrations you've made, the easy website navigation, the friendships you make it possible to promote - it's all impressive, and it's helping our son and the family recognize that that issue is amusing, which is certainly rather indispensable. Thank you for all the pieces!
kenzo http://www.kenzos.us
Reply Lisacal
12:49 on 13 April, 2021 
tadalafil capsule
Reply sdadhd
12:31 on 13 April, 2021 
pink texas rangers hat club nike magista opus 47 5 000 nike eagles 65 lane johnson whitepink womens stitched nfl limited rush fashion jersey jordan retro 13 near me nike air max independence day rosso off white blazers for sale
sdadhd http://www.sdadhd.com/
Reply Online Loans
12:31 on 13 April, 2021 
small loans
Reply curry shoes
12:26 on 13 April, 2021 
I and also my guys were found to be taking note of the nice thoughts from your web blog then suddenly got a terrible feeling I never thanked the website owner for those techniques. These young boys were definitely so glad to see all of them and have seriously been enjoying these things. Appreciation for indeed being very helpful and also for pick out this form of quality subjects most people are really wanting to know about. My very own honest regret for not expressing gratitude to earlier.
curry shoes http://www.curry6shoes.us
Reply Paydayloan
11:54 on 13 April, 2021 
immediate payday loans loan installments
Reply yeezy boost 350
11:30 on 13 April, 2021 
I simply wished to thank you so much again. I'm not certain the things I would've created in the absence of the actual advice discussed by you about such a situation. It became the alarming case for me, nevertheless spending time with your specialised strategy you processed that forced me to leap for fulfillment. Now i am grateful for your support as well as sincerely hope you recognize what an amazing job your are carrying out training many others via your websites. Probably you've never met any of us.
yeezy boost 350 http://www.yeezyboost350v2s.us
Reply newtravels
11:12 on 13 April, 2021 
white and blue 13s jordans nike kobe 10 elevate 2017 adidas crazy light boost 2015 yellow wallpaper vancouver canucks green jersey adidas eqt support goretex taiwan billig pink yankees fitted hat for cheap
newtravels http://www.newtravels.net/
Reply Getting A Loan
10:53 on 13 April, 2021 
instant personal loans
Reply moncler
10:41 on 13 April, 2021 
I want to express thanks to the writer for bailing me out of this type of condition. After surfing around through the world wide web and getting basics that were not powerful, I believed my life was over. Being alive devoid of the answers to the issues you've fixed all through the write-up is a crucial case, as well as ones that might have adversely affected my career if I had not discovered your blog. Your actual expertise and kindness in touching the whole lot was vital. I'm not sure what I would've done if I had not come across such a stuff like this. I can at this moment look forward to my future. Thank you so much for your reliable and amazing help. I won't think twice to propose your web page to anyone who needs recommendations on this subject.
moncler http://www.monclerjackets.us.org
Reply kd 12
10:01 on 13 April, 2021 
I needed to write you that bit of word to help thank you so much as before about the beautiful concepts you have shared at this time. It has been extremely generous with you to deliver extensively all that most people could possibly have sold for an ebook to get some money for their own end, even more so considering the fact that you might have done it in case you decided. Those good ideas additionally acted as a good way to be certain that other people have the identical keenness similar to my personal own to understand a great deal more when it comes to this matter. I believe there are several more enjoyable opportunities ahead for many who read your site.
kd 12 http://www.kd12.us.com
Reply nike off white
9:50 on 13 April, 2021 
I as well as my friends were examining the great guides found on the website and at once got a terrible suspicion I never thanked the web site owner for them. The guys were certainly happy to study them and have now unquestionably been loving those things. Many thanks for genuinely considerably helpful and for choosing some notable information most people are really desirous to understand about. My very own honest regret for not saying thanks to you sooner.
nike off white http://www.offwhiteshoes.us.com
Reply a bathing ape
9:50 on 13 April, 2021 
I simply needed to say thanks all over again. I am not sure what I could possibly have followed without these thoughts contributed by you concerning such a theme. It was before a real terrifying circumstance for me personally, nevertheless considering your well-written technique you processed that took me to weep for joy. I'm thankful for this guidance and as well , hope that you find out what a powerful job you were doing training people thru your website. I'm certain you have never met any of us.
a bathing ape http://www.bathing-ape.us
Reply hermes
9:50 on 13 April, 2021 
I precisely wanted to say thanks once again. I am not sure what I would have worked on without the creative concepts documented by you relating to that question. It had become the terrifying circumstance in my circumstances, however , viewing a new specialised avenue you processed that made me to leap with joy. Now i am happy for this assistance and expect you comprehend what an amazing job you are providing instructing most people via a blog. I am certain you have never got to know any of us.
hermes http://www.hermesonlineshop.com
Reply longchamp bags
9:48 on 13 April, 2021 
I needed to put you the very small observation just to give many thanks the moment again with your awesome things you have documented on this page. It's really extremely generous of you to allow extensively what a number of people could possibly have supplied for an ebook to help make some cash on their own, mostly since you might well have done it in the event you considered necessary. These smart ideas additionally served like a great way to fully grasp the rest have similar fervor just as my personal own to grasp many more pertaining to this matter. I know there are thousands of more pleasurable sessions up front for folks who looked at your website.
longchamp bags http://www.longchampshandbags.us
Reply Online Loan
9:26 on 13 April, 2021 
what is an unsecured loan
Reply jordan 6
9:26 on 13 April, 2021 
Needed to draft you this very little word just to say thank you yet again considering the unique secrets you've shown above. This has been quite extremely generous with you to allow publicly exactly what some people could possibly have offered as an e book in making some dough for their own end, most importantly considering that you might well have tried it in case you desired. Those solutions likewise acted as the great way to comprehend other people online have the same zeal much like my very own to realize much more with respect to this problem. I am sure there are many more fun occasions in the future for people who take a look at your site.
jordan 6 http://www.jordan6.us.com
Reply ¥¹©`¥Ñ©`¥Ö¥é¥ó¥É¥³¥Ô©`´úÒý¤­
9:03 on 13 April, 2021 
65 Inch Touch Screen Monitor https://www.ingscreen.com/65-inch-touch-screen-monitor/
�?��???����`�?`���?`??�� https://www.aliceinfoweb.com/web.php
Reply hermes handbags
9:00 on 13 April, 2021 
I in addition to my guys were found to be checking out the good recommendations found on the website and then came up with a horrible suspicion I never expressed respect to you for those strategies. The men came glad to read all of them and now have clearly been tapping into those things. Thanks for turning out to be very kind and also for pick out this sort of superior areas most people are really desirous to learn about. Our sincere apologies for not expressing gratitude to you sooner.
hermes handbags http://www.hermes-handbags.us.com
Reply Markcal
8:02 on 13 April, 2021 
zovirax pills price cialis purchase online uk can you buy viagra in canada over the counter price of clomid in australia