Neil Pont

Wildlife Photography


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 ¥¹©`¥Ñ©`¥³¥Ô©`¥¼¥Ë¥¹
17:01 on 15 January, 2021 
Reply Loans
16:50 on 15 January, 2021 
loans in houston
Reply Eyecal
15:47 on 15 January, 2021 
how can i get cheap cialis lexapro plaquenil uk price augmentin 625 price uk viagra cost per pill generic plaquenil coupon vardenafil 75 mg prednisolone 25mg tablet order zithromax over the counter ivermectin price
Reply Alancal
15:30 on 15 January, 2021 
can you buy lipitor over the counter average cost of amoxicillin buy prednisone online usa retin a 0.05 cream buy online best propecia cialis from canada cost cheapest price for lexapro where to buy vardenafil online synthroid cheap price sildenafil 100 mg
Reply Money Loan
13:27 on 15 January, 2021 
where can i get a loan
Reply Kiacal
10:36 on 15 January, 2021 
where can i buy clomid
Reply Machinery For Manufacturing
10:18 on 15 January, 2021 
Reply yeezy 500 blush
9:28 on 15 January, 2021 
I have to convey my love for your generosity for people that absolutely need help with your area. Your real commitment to getting the solution up and down ended up being really useful and has regularly made associates much like me to get to their aims. Your insightful key points signifies a lot a person like me and even further to my mates. With thanks; from everyone of us.
yeezy 500 blush
Reply off white shoes
9:28 on 15 January, 2021 
My husband and i ended up being happy that Jordan could conclude his studies out of the precious recommendations he made from your own site. It is now and again perplexing to just happen to be handing out instructions that many most people could have been making money from. So we do understand we have the website owner to be grateful to for that. The specific explanations you made, the straightforward site navigation, the friendships your site make it possible to engender - it is everything superb, and it's really assisting our son and our family reason why that subject matter is entertaining, and that is exceptionally important. Thanks for all the pieces!
off white shoes
Reply cheap jordans
9:28 on 15 January, 2021 
I'm commenting to make you be aware of what a useful encounter my wife's daughter obtained visiting the blog. She realized plenty of pieces, which included what it's like to have an awesome teaching nature to make the rest quite simply learn some problematic subject areas. You actually exceeded readers' expected results. Thanks for delivering these priceless, trusted, edifying and even cool tips on this topic to Emily.
cheap jordans
Reply air jordan shoes
9:27 on 15 January, 2021 
I and my buddies have already been taking note of the best things on your website then then I got an awful suspicion I never expressed respect to the blog owner for them. My men had been for that reason warmed to read through them and have in actuality been using those things. Thanks for truly being really helpful and for getting this form of helpful information millions of individuals are really eager to discover. Our own sincere regret for not expressing appreciation to you sooner.
air jordan shoes
Reply yeezy boost 350 v2
9:27 on 15 January, 2021 
I simply had to thank you very much once more. I'm not certain the things I would have worked on in the absence of those advice contributed by you directly on my subject matter. Previously it was a alarming circumstance in my position, nevertheless understanding the very specialized fashion you processed it took me to leap over fulfillment. I am just happier for this guidance and then hope that you really know what a powerful job that you're undertaking teaching many others by way of your web page. Most probably you haven't met all of us.
yeezy boost 350 v2
Reply off-white
9:27 on 15 January, 2021 
I am glad for commenting to make you know what a remarkable experience my child obtained viewing your site. She picked up several pieces, not to mention what it is like to have a wonderful helping spirit to have the others with no trouble comprehend selected tricky matters. You actually surpassed visitors' expected results. I appreciate you for offering such effective, healthy, revealing and cool thoughts on that topic to Kate.
Reply bape
9:27 on 15 January, 2021 
I not to mention my buddies happened to be studying the excellent key points found on the blog then all of a sudden came up with an awful suspicion I had not thanked the site owner for them. My ladies are already totally thrilled to read through them and already have truly been enjoying these things. I appreciate you for actually being well helpful as well as for making a decision on certain very good guides millions of individuals are really needing to be informed on. My personal sincere regret for not expressing appreciation to you sooner.
Reply pandora jewelry
9:27 on 15 January, 2021 
I am also writing to make you be aware of of the great experience our child went through checking the blog. She picked up some things, including how it is like to have a very effective teaching spirit to have folks with ease grasp specific specialized topics. You undoubtedly exceeded people's expectations. I appreciate you for displaying the precious, trustworthy, informative and also cool tips on that topic to Emily.
pandora jewelry
Reply air jordans
9:27 on 15 January, 2021 
I wish to show some thanks to you just for bailing me out of such a difficulty. As a result of surfing around through the search engines and getting basics which are not helpful, I assumed my life was well over. Living without the answers to the difficulties you have sorted out by way of the website is a serious case, as well as those that would have badly affected my career if I had not come across your blog. Your own natural talent and kindness in controlling every aspect was invaluable. I don't know what I would've done if I had not come across such a subject like this. It's possible to at this time relish my future. Thanks for your time very much for your professional and sensible guide. I won't be reluctant to propose your blog to anybody who would like guidelines about this subject matter.
air jordans
Reply stone island jacket
9:26 on 15 January, 2021 
I must voice my respect for your kindness for visitors who have the need for help on in this area of interest. Your personal dedication to getting the message around was particularly advantageous and have continually encouraged men and women like me to get to their objectives. The warm and helpful suggestions denotes this much a person like me and substantially more to my mates. Many thanks; from each one of us.
stone island jacket
Reply Carlcal
8:18 on 15 January, 2021 
how to buy viagra from canada prednisolone generic amoxicillin 500 mg buy online generic plaquenil cost quineprox kratom chloroquine
Reply High Voltage Motor
8:06 on 15 January, 2021 
Reply ?????????????????
6:15 on 15 January, 2021