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.

42204 Comments

Reply curry shoes
18:38 on 23 September, 2021 
I am only commenting to make you be aware of of the wonderful discovery our princess experienced going through your web site. She realized many things, which include what it is like to have a wonderful teaching spirit to have other individuals without difficulty thoroughly grasp several extremely tough subject areas. You really exceeded visitors' expectations. Many thanks for rendering the effective, dependable, explanatory and also fun guidance on that topic to Janet.
curry shoes http://www.curry7shoes.us
Reply golden goose sneakers
18:37 on 23 September, 2021 
I am also commenting to let you be aware of what a outstanding encounter my wife's daughter gained studying your web page. She figured out lots of things, including what it is like to possess a great teaching mindset to have other people effortlessly grasp certain specialized topics. You undoubtedly exceeded readers' expected results. Many thanks for showing such warm and helpful, trustworthy, revealing and cool tips about your topic to Mary.
golden goose sneakers http://www.goldengoose-sneakers.us
Reply curry 5
18:35 on 23 September, 2021 
I wish to express my thanks to you just for rescuing me from this particular predicament. Because of scouting through the internet and coming across tips that were not beneficial, I assumed my life was gone. Living without the strategies to the difficulties you have sorted out as a result of this website is a serious case, as well as ones that might have adversely damaged my entire career if I hadn't encountered your site. Your primary expertise and kindness in playing with almost everything was helpful. I am not sure what I would have done if I hadn't encountered such a thing like this. I can also at this point look ahead to my future. Thanks for your time so much for the impressive and effective help. I won't hesitate to endorse your site to anybody who needs to have assistance about this subject matter.
curry 5 http://www.curry5.us.com
Reply supreme shirt
15:06 on 23 September, 2021 
I needed to post you a bit of observation in order to say thanks a lot over again regarding the spectacular guidelines you have contributed in this article. It is so strangely open-handed of you to supply openly what exactly many people would've distributed for an e-book to help make some dough on their own, certainly considering that you could have tried it in case you wanted. These strategies additionally worked to provide a fantastic way to understand that other people online have the same keenness similar to my very own to know somewhat more on the subject of this problem. I am certain there are several more fun occasions ahead for folks who scan through your blog post.
supreme shirt http://www.supremeshirt.us.com
Reply hermes handbags
13:53 on 23 September, 2021 
I needed to compose you a tiny note so as to thank you very much yet again for the pretty concepts you have featured on this page. It's simply seriously generous of people like you to present easily all many individuals would have distributed as an electronic book to help with making some cash on their own, most notably now that you might well have done it if you ever wanted. Those techniques as well served to be the great way to realize that the rest have the identical keenness similar to my very own to understand way more when it comes to this condition. I think there are lots of more pleasurable opportunities in the future for many who see your blog post.
hermes handbags http://www.hermes-handbags.us.com
Reply lebron shoes
13:51 on 23 September, 2021 
I as well as my guys happened to be looking through the nice information and facts found on your web page while all of a sudden developed an awful feeling I had not expressed respect to the web blog owner for those strategies. The young men are already as a result warmed to see them and now have really been enjoying those things. Thank you for simply being very helpful as well as for picking out these kinds of terrific guides millions of individuals are really needing to learn about. Our own honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to sooner.
lebron shoes http://www.lebron18.us
Reply off white outlet
13:21 on 23 September, 2021 
I wanted to write you one little remark to help say thanks a lot over again about the breathtaking guidelines you've contributed in this article. It has been certainly generous of people like you to provide extensively what some people would've made available for an e book to end up making some money for their own end, particularly considering the fact that you might well have tried it in the event you decided. The tricks additionally acted like the easy way to know that most people have the same interest just as my personal own to see way more on the topic of this condition. I'm sure there are a lot more fun periods ahead for people who looked over your blog post.
off white outlet http://www.offwhiteoutlet.us.org
Reply off white shoes
13:21 on 23 September, 2021 
Thanks for each of your labor on this blog. My mum delights in participating in investigation and it's really obvious why. We notice all regarding the compelling mode you make great tips and tricks via your blog and in addition boost response from other individuals on that issue then our favorite girl has been starting to learn a lot of things. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the year. You are performing a good job.
off white shoes http://www.offwhite.us.com
Reply hermes birkin
13:21 on 23 September, 2021 
Thanks so much for providing individuals with such a remarkable chance to discover important secrets from this website. It is always very excellent and as well , full of a lot of fun for me personally and my office acquaintances to visit your blog at the least three times a week to study the newest guides you have. Of course, I'm just always impressed with the surprising strategies served by you. Selected 4 points in this article are unequivocally the most effective I've had.
hermes birkin http://www.hermesbirkinbags.us.com
Reply jordan 4
13:21 on 23 September, 2021 
I definitely wanted to write a note in order to say thanks to you for all of the great tips and hints you are placing here. My considerable internet lookup has at the end been compensated with reliable strategies to go over with my family. I 'd repeat that we website visitors actually are undoubtedly lucky to live in a magnificent network with many wonderful professionals with very beneficial suggestions. I feel somewhat lucky to have encountered the website and look forward to tons of more enjoyable minutes reading here. Thank you once again for a lot of things.
jordan 4 http://www.jordan4.us.com
Reply bape
13:20 on 23 September, 2021 
I and my friends were found to be reviewing the good thoughts located on your site and before long I had a horrible feeling I had not thanked you for those strategies. Most of the men appeared to be totally excited to read through all of them and have really been making the most of those things. Many thanks for truly being so helpful and then for getting these kinds of essential issues millions of individuals are really eager to discover. Our honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to earlier.
bape http://www.bapesonline.com
Reply kobe shoes
13:20 on 23 September, 2021 
I would like to get across my respect for your kind-heartedness for those people that have the need for assistance with this one niche. Your very own dedication to passing the message around had been remarkably good and have without exception enabled guys and women much like me to get to their desired goals. Your personal warm and friendly guidelines signifies a lot to me and far more to my fellow workers. Many thanks; from all of us.
kobe shoes http://www.kobesneakers.com
Reply kyrie 7 shoes
13:19 on 23 September, 2021 
I simply wanted to post a brief message in order to appreciate you for these superb instructions you are giving at this website. My extensive internet investigation has at the end been recognized with wonderful facts and techniques to talk about with my visitors. I 'd admit that we site visitors are extremely lucky to dwell in a superb network with so many lovely individuals with good ideas. I feel really fortunate to have seen the site and look forward to many more fabulous minutes reading here. Thanks once again for a lot of things.
kyrie 7 shoes http://www.kyrie7.us
Reply yeezy 700
13:18 on 23 September, 2021 
My wife and i got very comfortable when Michael managed to carry out his preliminary research while using the precious recommendations he grabbed using your web pages. It's not at all simplistic to just be offering guidance which many people may have been trying to sell. And now we remember we have you to give thanks to because of that. The type of illustrations you have made, the straightforward blog navigation, the friendships you can give support to foster - it's got mostly fantastic, and it's aiding our son and the family believe that the topic is brilliant, and that is really pressing. Many thanks for the whole lot!
yeezy 700 http://www.yeezy700.us.com
Reply kyrie 7
12:46 on 23 September, 2021 
I wish to express my respect for your kindness giving support to women who need help on this concern. Your special commitment to getting the solution around ended up being rather good and has always made girls much like me to get to their objectives. This warm and helpful advice can mean a whole lot a person like me and further more to my office workers. Thanks a ton; from all of us.
kyrie 7 http://www.kyrie7shoes.us
Reply lebron shoes
12:42 on 23 September, 2021 
I wish to express appreciation to this writer just for rescuing me from such a incident. After searching throughout the the net and meeting advice which are not helpful, I figured my life was over. Existing minus the approaches to the problems you've solved as a result of the article content is a crucial case, as well as ones that could have in a negative way affected my career if I had not noticed your blog post. Your primary natural talent and kindness in taking care of every item was priceless. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't come upon such a subject like this. I can also at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks so much for the skilled and amazing guide. I won't be reluctant to suggest your blog to anybody who wants and needs support on this topic.
lebron shoes http://www.lebronjames-shoes.us.com
Reply curry 7 sour patch
12:16 on 23 September, 2021 
I would like to convey my affection for your generosity supporting folks that actually need guidance on that matter. Your real dedication to passing the message around ended up being remarkably helpful and have helped many people just like me to realize their pursuits. The warm and friendly recommendations can mean this much a person like me and still more to my office colleagues. Many thanks; from everyone of us.
curry 7 sour patch http://www.curry7.us
Reply chrome hearts online store
12:16 on 23 September, 2021 
I precisely had to appreciate you yet again. I am not sure the things that I could possibly have accomplished without the entire creative ideas shown by you regarding such area of interest. It truly was a very terrifying difficulty in my circumstances, however , viewing your professional strategy you processed the issue took me to leap with happiness. I'm happy for the service as well as sincerely hope you really know what an amazing job your are putting in teaching people via your webblog. Probably you haven't encountered all of us.
chrome hearts online store http://www.chromeheartstoreonline.com
Reply curry 7 shoes
12:16 on 23 September, 2021 
I simply needed to thank you very much again. I'm not certain the things I might have tried in the absence of the actual aspects documented by you relating to my area of interest. It truly was a difficult setting in my view, but looking at this well-written approach you processed it took me to weep with contentment. I am thankful for your information and in addition sincerely hope you comprehend what a powerful job you're accomplishing instructing some other people through your site. Probably you have never come across all of us.
curry 7 shoes http://www.curry7shoes.us
Reply golden goose
12:15 on 23 September, 2021 
My wife and i got really fulfilled Emmanuel managed to finish up his researching through your precious recommendations he made from your weblog. It's not at all simplistic to simply find yourself freely giving ideas which often people today have been making money from. Therefore we keep in mind we have the writer to be grateful to because of that. Those illustrations you have made, the straightforward site menu, the friendships you will aid to foster - it's mostly awesome, and it's really leading our son in addition to the family do think the subject matter is amusing, which is certainly quite serious. Thanks for everything!
golden goose http://www.goldengoosesneakers.us.org
0