Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Body Structures of the Honey Bee I. A. 2.

The best source for drawings and details about the anatomy of the honey bee is a book called "The Beekeeper's Handbook" by Diana Sammataro and Alphonse Avitabile: a book worth having for someone who wishes to become certified and to move on towards being a Master Beekeeper.

I also draw from WNC Bee School notes from a lecture by Greg Clements in 2008.

Questions (I. A. 2.): What are the three main body structures of an adult bee? What are their respective functions? What primary organs are contained in each?

Contains sensory organs: the eyes, tongue, antennae
The jaws/mandible
Brain/neural systems
Food and pheromone producing glands
Glands for production of royal jelly
Five eyes: 2 compound and 3 tiny ocelli
(The Drone bee, or male bee has huge compound eyes)
The proboscis

Center of locomotion, where legs and wings attach
Contains muscles for wings and legs and some muscles for breathing
2 pair of wings that interlock (with something like velcro for strength)
3 pairs of legs
Legs have pollen collecting structures--pollen combs, press and basket
(The thorax is longer in the queen and drone bees)

Reproductive organs
Sting (in female bees)
Digestive System
Wax glands (in female bees)
Scent glands
Circulatory system
Spiracles for respiration
(The drone has a rounded butt, the queen has a very long abdomen)

Link on anatomy from "How Stuff Works"

Also of interest: the bees attract pollen on their body with a static electric charge and then use their legs to pack it up for transport.

Kingdom: Animal
Phylum: Arthropoda (segmented insect with a chitanous membrane)
Class: Hexapoda (six legs)
Order: Hymenoptera (can lock their wings together)
Family: Apidae
Genus: Apis
Species: Mellifera (the European/Western honey bee)

Stages of Bee Development I. A. 1.

I'm studying for the NC Master Beekeeping Program Certified Level written exam, so I thought I would blog my study guide.

Question I. A. 1. What are the four stages of honey bee development? How are they different? What is the purpose of each stage?

Above is my best picture of varied stages of development in one of my hives. The bee start out as a tiny white egg, laid by the queen bee in the bottom of each cell. They are long and skinny. You can see a few eggs in the bottom left hand corner of the picture if you blow it up to full size by clicking on the photo. The egg stays in the cell for three days, then hatches out into a larva.

The larvae are the white worm looking things. The larval stage is the eating and growing in size portion of a bee's life. There is some good size variation in the photo. The larvae are initially fed royal jelly, a substance that is produced from a gland in the worker bees' heads. Bees that will grow up to be queen get royal jelly for much longer. Regular worker bees and drones get a few days of royal jelly, then the nurse bees switch them over to a diet of pollen and honey.

The bees then cap the cell with the brown caps in the lower right hand portion of the picture. A queen is capped on day 7 1/2, a worker bee is capped on day 9, and a drone is capped on day 10. Capped brood become pupae, the stage in which the white worm becomes a white bee, and finally becomes a full grown bee. If you pull of the cap, you will find a bee in this process of transformation. (Photo on Wikipedia of pupal changes)

The bee finally emerges from its cell as an adult bee, ready to go to work, fully developed.

It takes 16 days to grow a queen bee, 21 days to grow a worker, and 24 to grow a male drone.