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.

23770 Comments

Reply Eyecal
1:07 on 15 May, 2021 
zestril 40 cheap viagra pills free shipping buy cheap generic cialis online otc generic viagra cialis cost uk can you buy ventolin over the counter generic sildenafil in canada propranolol 80 mg buy cheapest generic viagra online how to buy generic viagra online
Reply nike lebron shoes
1:06 on 15 May, 2021 
I needed to post you the bit of note so as to give many thanks again for all the gorgeous concepts you have contributed on this site. It is quite unbelievably generous of people like you to allow unhampered exactly what most people might have offered as an e book to earn some cash for their own end, mostly considering that you might have tried it if you desired. The good tips additionally acted as a fantastic way to comprehend most people have similar desire much like my own to see whole lot more with reference to this issue. I am sure there are thousands of more pleasurable opportunities ahead for individuals who discover your blog.
nike lebron shoes http://www.lebron17s.us
Reply kobe shoes
1:01 on 15 May, 2021 
I needed to send you this very little remark in order to give many thanks as before for your breathtaking basics you have documented on this website. It has been really strangely generous of you giving without restraint what numerous people could have offered for an electronic book to help with making some bucks for themselves, principally given that you might well have done it in the event you considered necessary. Those tactics likewise served to become good way to realize that most people have the identical eagerness like my very own to understand significantly more with regards to this issue. I'm certain there are many more pleasurable situations up front for folks who read carefully your website.
kobe shoes http://www.kobe-shoes.us.com
Reply yeezy 700
1:00 on 15 May, 2021 
I simply desired to thank you very much again. I'm not certain what I might have accomplished without the entire advice contributed by you concerning my topic. It became an absolute alarming crisis for me personally, but being able to view a new skilled style you resolved it forced me to weep for gladness. I'm happy for this work and even hope that you know what a powerful job that you are undertaking teaching many people with the aid of a site. I am sure you haven't encountered any of us.
yeezy 700 http://www.yeezy700.us.com
Reply golden goose sneakers
0:59 on 15 May, 2021 
Thank you a lot for giving everyone an exceptionally splendid possiblity to read from this blog. It is always so pleasurable and stuffed with a lot of fun for me personally and my office co-workers to search the blog on the least three times every week to read the newest items you will have. And definitely, I am also at all times contented concerning the brilliant tips served by you. Selected 1 facts in this article are particularly the most effective we have all ever had.
golden goose sneakers http://www.goldengoosesneakers.us.com
Reply kyrie 5 spongebob
0:58 on 15 May, 2021 
My spouse and i were really thankful that John managed to complete his analysis through the entire precious recommendations he received out of your blog. It is now and again perplexing just to happen to be giving freely helpful hints that people today might have been making money from. And we also keep in mind we now have the website owner to appreciate for this. The most important illustrations you made, the easy website navigation, the relationships you aid to engender - it's got all wonderful, and it's aiding our son and us do think this subject is awesome, and that's pretty serious. Thank you for the whole lot!
kyrie 5 spongebob http://www.kyrie5spongebob.us
Reply golden goose
0:57 on 15 May, 2021 
I would like to express my respect for your generosity supporting people that require guidance on this one subject matter. Your personal dedication to getting the solution up and down ended up being amazingly practical and has continuously encouraged guys and women much like me to get to their pursuits. Your own helpful help indicates this much to me and even more to my office workers. Warm regards; from all of us.
golden goose http://www.goldengooseoutletstore.com
Reply hermes handbags
0:55 on 15 May, 2021 
I must show some appreciation to you just for rescuing me from this type of condition. Right after searching through the the net and getting methods that were not helpful, I was thinking my life was over. Being alive devoid of the solutions to the issues you've sorted out all through the report is a serious case, and ones which could have negatively damaged my career if I had not noticed your web page. Your personal skills and kindness in controlling all areas was helpful. I'm not sure what I would've done if I had not discovered such a subject like this. I'm able to at this point relish my future. Thanks so much for your specialized and result oriented help. I will not hesitate to recommend the sites to any person who needs to have direction about this subject matter.
hermes handbags http://www.hermes-handbags.us.com
Reply Amycal
0:46 on 15 May, 2021 
generic tadalafil usa
Reply yeezy 700
0:11 on 15 May, 2021 
I truly wanted to write a brief note so as to express gratitude to you for these magnificent guidelines you are sharing at this site. My time consuming internet investigation has finally been honored with wonderful facts and techniques to go over with my best friends. I 'd tell you that many of us readers are quite lucky to exist in a decent community with many wonderful people with interesting principles. I feel extremely fortunate to have discovered your entire website page and look forward to many more cool times reading here. Thank you again for all the details.
yeezy 700 http://www.yeezy700.us.com
Reply off white x jordan 1
0:11 on 15 May, 2021 
Thanks for your own efforts on this site. Kate take interest in carrying out internet research and it is obvious why. We all learn all relating to the dynamic ways you provide informative suggestions on your website and even invigorate contribution from some others on that subject matter so our girl is understanding a lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. Your conducting a useful job.
off white x jordan 1 http://www.offwhitexjordan1.com
Reply jordan 1 high
0:11 on 15 May, 2021 
Thanks for every one of your efforts on this website. My aunt take interest in carrying out research and it's really easy to understand why. A lot of people learn all concerning the powerful form you present priceless steps through your website and as well as improve response from other individuals about this matter plus my princess is truly being taught a lot. Have fun with the rest of the new year. You're the one conducting a good job.
jordan 1 high http://www.jordan1shoes.us
Reply moncler jackets
0:11 on 15 May, 2021 
I and my pals have already been checking out the good advice from your web blog and so all of a sudden developed a horrible suspicion I had not thanked the blog owner for those secrets. All of the young men became absolutely glad to read them and already have without a doubt been tapping into those things. I appreciate you for turning out to be so accommodating as well as for utilizing this form of good subject areas millions of individuals are really desirous to understand about. My very own honest regret for not expressing gratitude to sooner.
moncler jackets http://www.monclerjackets.us
Reply cheap jordans
0:11 on 15 May, 2021 
I actually wanted to make a message to thank you for some of the pleasant secrets you are writing on this website. My incredibly long internet research has now been honored with pleasant strategies to go over with my neighbours. I 'd assert that many of us website visitors are unequivocally endowed to be in a very good network with so many lovely people with very helpful tips and hints. I feel truly grateful to have encountered your weblog and look forward to really more enjoyable minutes reading here. Thank you once again for everything.
cheap jordans http://www.cheapjordan.us
Reply yeezy 380
0:11 on 15 May, 2021 
Thanks a lot for giving everyone an extremely remarkable chance to discover important secrets from here. It is always very kind and full of fun for me and my office friends to visit your web site minimum 3 times every week to find out the new tips you have got. And definitely, I'm certainly astounded with the mind-boggling thoughts you give. Selected 3 facts in this post are in reality the best we've had.
yeezy 380 http://www.yeezyboost380.us.com
Reply yeezy
0:11 on 15 May, 2021 
My husband and i have been so more than happy that Raymond managed to round up his reports through your ideas he made from your very own blog. It is now and again perplexing to just always be giving away things many others may have been making money from. And we all remember we've got the blog owner to be grateful to for this. All of the explanations you made, the simple site navigation, the friendships you make it possible to engender - it's mostly spectacular, and it's really helping our son in addition to our family recognize that that subject matter is exciting, which is particularly important. Thank you for the whole lot!
yeezy http://www.yeezy350s.com
Reply kyrie irving shoes
0:11 on 15 May, 2021 
I really wanted to type a simple word in order to express gratitude to you for those magnificent tricks you are showing at this website. My long internet research has now been paid with extremely good facts and techniques to share with my guests. I 'd state that that many of us website visitors actually are unequivocally blessed to exist in a fine network with so many marvellous professionals with interesting techniques. I feel very fortunate to have used your entire web site and look forward to tons of more awesome times reading here. Thank you once again for everything.
kyrie irving shoes http://www.kyrieirvingshoes.us.com
Reply a bathing ape
0:11 on 15 May, 2021 
I simply needed to appreciate you once more. I do not know the things that I might have tried in the absence of the recommendations revealed by you about my question. It previously was a real frustrating concern for me, but encountering a skilled manner you solved it took me to weep with delight. I am just happy for your support and sincerely hope you really know what a great job you are always carrying out teaching other individuals all through your web page. Most likely you haven't encountered any of us.
a bathing ape http://www.bape-clothing.us
Reply cheap jordans
23:49 on 14 May, 2021 
Thank you so much for giving everyone an exceptionally pleasant chance to read critical reviews from this site. It's usually very brilliant and jam-packed with a good time for me and my office friends to visit your web site the equivalent of 3 times per week to find out the new guides you have. Not to mention, we're always motivated with the exceptional techniques served by you. Selected 4 ideas on this page are basically the very best I've had.
cheap jordans http://www.shoesjordan.us.com
Reply kd shoes
23:48 on 14 May, 2021 
I simply had to say thanks again. I am not sure the things that I might have achieved without those smart ideas shared by you relating to this situation. It absolutely was a real challenging scenario for me, but discovering the very specialized technique you treated the issue forced me to cry over joy. Extremely thankful for the information and then expect you are aware of a great job you are undertaking educating many others through the use of your blog. I am certain you haven't encountered any of us.
kd shoes http://www.kd13shoes.us
0