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
14:52 on 19 June, 2021 
I am also commenting to let you understand of the exceptional discovery my girl went through viewing your web page. She discovered many things, which included what it is like to have a great coaching nature to let many more without difficulty learn chosen impossible topics. You undoubtedly exceeded readers' expectations. Thank you for imparting those necessary, trusted, explanatory not to mention fun tips about the topic to Evelyn.
off white
Reply supreme clothing
14:33 on 19 June, 2021 
I precisely wished to thank you so much again. I do not know what I would have accomplished in the absence of the actual solutions contributed by you about that situation. It had become a real terrifying scenario in my circumstances, but considering a new professional tactic you handled that made me to cry over joy. Now i'm happy for your help and thus expect you realize what a powerful job that you're providing teaching people with the aid of your web blog. More than likely you haven't encountered any of us.
supreme clothing
Reply cheap jordans
14:03 on 19 June, 2021 
I in addition to my friends were reading the great secrets and techniques located on your web blog and then came up with a terrible feeling I had not expressed respect to the web blog owner for those secrets. These men ended up consequently warmed to see all of them and now have certainly been taking advantage of these things. I appreciate you for actually being really thoughtful as well as for finding this sort of essential guides most people are really desperate to be informed on. My sincere apologies for not saying thanks to sooner.
cheap jordans
Reply Fastest Payday Loan
13:25 on 19 June, 2021 
payday installment
Reply kobe shoes
13:22 on 19 June, 2021 
Thanks a lot for giving everyone a very superb possiblity to read critical reviews from this site. It is always very enjoyable plus stuffed with a great time for me personally and my office friends to visit your web site the equivalent of 3 times in a week to see the latest stuff you have got. And indeed, we're always motivated with the wonderful principles you give. Selected 2 facts in this article are indeed the finest we have all had.
kobe shoes
Reply lebron 17
13:22 on 19 June, 2021 
I needed to post you this very little word to help say thanks again with the breathtaking views you've shared in this article. It's simply strangely generous of people like you to present unhampered what numerous people would've supplied as an e book in making some profit on their own, principally now that you might well have tried it in the event you wanted. The thoughts likewise acted as the great way to fully grasp that other people online have similar desire really like my own to know the truth lots more on the topic of this issue. I am sure there are lots of more pleasurable occasions ahead for individuals who go through your blog.
lebron 17
Reply supreme clothing
13:22 on 19 June, 2021 
I am also commenting to make you know what a wonderful experience my friend's princess developed studying your web site. She discovered many details, including what it's like to possess an ideal helping character to get many more very easily fully grasp various complicated subject matter. You truly did more than her expectations. Thank you for distributing the warm and friendly, trustworthy, edifying not to mention unique guidance on this topic to Kate.
supreme clothing
Reply chrome hearts
13:21 on 19 June, 2021 
Thank you a lot for giving everyone an extraordinarily splendid chance to discover important secrets from this site. It is often very cool and as well , full of fun for me personally and my office fellow workers to search your blog minimum three times in a week to study the newest issues you will have. Of course, I'm just certainly contented with your powerful pointers you give. Selected two areas in this posting are indeed the simplest we have had.
chrome hearts
Reply golden goose
13:20 on 19 June, 2021 
I enjoy you because of your own effort on this blog. My mother takes pleasure in engaging in investigation and it is simple to grasp why. Almost all learn all regarding the compelling medium you present useful tactics by means of the web site and in addition foster contribution from some others about this situation plus my princess is in fact becoming educated a lot. Have fun with the rest of the new year. Your carrying out a powerful job.
golden goose
Reply nike off white
13:19 on 19 June, 2021 
I enjoy you because of all of the hard work on this blog. My daughter takes pleasure in going through investigations and it is easy to understand why. Most of us hear all about the compelling medium you render practical guidelines by means of the web blog and as well as improve participation from other ones on the concern plus my princess is in fact learning a lot. Take pleasure in the rest of the new year. Your doing a terrific job.
nike off white
Reply jordan shoes
13:14 on 19 June, 2021 
I precisely wanted to appreciate you again. I am not sure the things that I would've undertaken in the absence of the ideas provided by you relating to this concern. It was actually a real hard dilemma in my view, but observing a new well-written manner you managed the issue forced me to jump with gladness. I am just thankful for the service and thus hope that you really know what a powerful job you have been getting into educating the rest via your web site. I'm certain you have never met any of us.
jordan shoes
Reply kyrie 7
13:14 on 19 June, 2021 
I really wanted to construct a small remark to say thanks to you for all of the nice recommendations you are posting at this site. My extended internet look up has at the end been compensated with really good suggestions to go over with my good friends. I would believe that we site visitors actually are undeniably endowed to live in a great place with so many special people with insightful tips and hints. I feel rather privileged to have discovered the webpage and look forward to so many more entertaining minutes reading here. Thank you again for everything.
kyrie 7
Reply golden goose
13:13 on 19 June, 2021 
I'm writing to make you be aware of of the exceptional discovery my cousin's girl enjoyed reading your web page. She even learned some things, not to mention what it is like to have an awesome teaching spirit to get the rest easily master a number of complicated subject areas. You really surpassed readers' desires. Thanks for giving such important, dependable, revealing and as well as unique tips about the topic to Kate.
golden goose
Reply supreme clothing
13:13 on 19 June, 2021 
I am writing to let you understand of the exceptional discovery our princess experienced browsing the blog. She came to find so many things, with the inclusion of what it's like to possess a wonderful helping spirit to make others with ease completely grasp a number of impossible subject matter. You really did more than my expectations. Thank you for coming up with such priceless, healthy, educational not to mention unique thoughts on that topic to Janet.
supreme clothing
Reply yeezy
13:13 on 19 June, 2021 
I have to express my appreciation for your kindness for people who really need assistance with this one niche. Your very own commitment to getting the message around ended up being especially invaluable and have in most cases allowed workers much like me to achieve their dreams. Your new warm and helpful tutorial means much a person like me and extremely more to my peers. Thank you; from each one of us.
Reply kyrie irving shoes
12:55 on 19 June, 2021 
I definitely wanted to write a simple note to thank you for those awesome tricks you are placing on this website. My particularly long internet look up has at the end been rewarded with useful facts and strategies to exchange with my family members. I 'd tell you that many of us site visitors actually are extremely endowed to be in a fabulous network with so many awesome people with interesting secrets. I feel really fortunate to have discovered your site and look forward to tons of more enjoyable moments reading here. Thank you once again for a lot of things.
kyrie irving shoes
Reply paul george
12:38 on 19 June, 2021 
Thank you for all of your work on this website. My aunt delights in going through internet research and it's really easy to see why. Many of us know all relating to the dynamic form you present very helpful guides by means of this web site and even boost contribution from some others about this issue plus our own princess has always been starting to learn a great deal. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the new year. You are always conducting a really good job.
paul george
Reply kyrie 6
12:38 on 19 June, 2021 
I precisely had to appreciate you again. I do not know the things that I would have used in the absence of those hints provided by you regarding this industry. It previously was the terrifying setting in my position, but being able to see your expert fashion you dealt with that forced me to jump for happiness. I'm happier for your guidance as well as wish you realize what a great job that you are providing educating other individuals all through your webblog. I am sure you haven't met all of us.
kyrie 6
Reply kobe sneakers
12:38 on 19 June, 2021 
I actually wanted to write down a quick word in order to express gratitude to you for all of the nice guides you are showing at this site. My long internet investigation has at the end of the day been paid with extremely good ideas to write about with my family members. I would repeat that most of us readers actually are unquestionably endowed to dwell in a fantastic place with many brilliant professionals with very beneficial tips and hints. I feel quite fortunate to have used your web site and look forward to many more excellent minutes reading here. Thanks once again for all the details.
kobe sneakers
Reply supreme new york
12:38 on 19 June, 2021 
Needed to draft you that very little observation to be able to say thanks over again on your pleasing tactics you've contributed here. This is really incredibly open-handed with you to give without restraint exactly what a number of people could possibly have sold for an ebook to generate some bucks for themselves, particularly given that you might well have tried it in case you considered necessary. Those good tips also worked to provide a easy way to fully grasp other people online have similar desire similar to mine to know great deal more on the subject of this problem. I believe there are lots of more pleasurable opportunities ahead for folks who look into your site.
supreme new york