Bee Anatomy Describbed with Details
November 23, 2019/
Bees perch on flowers
Bee perch on flowers

When I was a child, I felt scared and disturbed when I heard bees buzzing around the park where I played, maybe the bees are one of the insects that most children fear. But behind its rather frightening appearance, bees are designed to perform a noble task in their lives, specifically their vital role as pollinators.

I’m sure everyone has tasted the natural sweetness of honey; we know that honey bees are insects that are exceptionally meritorious in producing honey. But did you know that about one in every three bites of food that you and your family eat are the result of free services provided by bees through the pollination process?

Try to examine these two facts in today’s life:

  • Do you realize that the buzzing of wild bees is rarely heard in the yard or even in city parks? Does this show us that their population has dramatically decreased?
  • Also, do you feel the same thing, that the nutritional value or taste contained in the fruits we eat is slightly different from the feeling we felt 10 years ago?

If you feel that both of the facts above are true, then it’s time we get to know more about these extraordinary insects, they are the Bees.

If You Don’t Know Me (Bee said), Then How Will You Love Me?

Hey, wait, but I know bees quite well, and can even distinguish between bees, ants or wasps! If so, maybe you will be interested in the following article:
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What is Bees?

What comes to mind when you hear the word “Bees”? Most people will mention honey, buzz, black and yellow stripes, nests, hairy, and stinging. That’s right, that’s the most straightforward description of a bee.

Many sources on the Internet say that bees are flying insects that are closely related to wasps and ants; this is because they have the same body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. Therefore, entomologists classify them in the same Ordo, namely, Hymenoptera.

As a pollinating insect, almost the entire body of the bee is full of many-branched hairs that help them to collect pollen and help regulate their body temperature. Bees also equipped with a long proboscis that allows them to get nectar from flowers.

Bee Anatomy

Like other insects, bees have five insect characteristics such as:

  • Having a hard outer skin called the exoskeleton.
  • Consists of three main body parts: head, thorax, and the abdomen
  • Have a pair of antennas on their heads.
  • They have three pairs of legs used for walking.
  • They also have two pairs of wings.

Take a look at the Bee Anatomy Described on https://askabiologist.asu.edu

Bee Anatomy Describbed with Details
Bee Anatomy Described with Details

Let’s get to know three critical parts of a bee’s body: Head, Thorax, and Abdomen.

The Bee Head is their brain house, which contains around 950,000 neurons, quite a lot, right? When compared with how small his head. Neuron, as the primary function of the brain’s nerves, allows them to communicate with specific neighboring neurons. Even though bee heads are tiny, they can perform complex tasks that usually require a larger brain. The nervous system also functions to command other body parts.

Besides having two sensory antennas, it also has five eyes – three simple eyes (ocelli), and two compound eyes. Compound eyes are made up of many small, repetitive parts of the eye called ommatidia. In each compound eye, there are about 150 ommatids that allow bees to detect polarized light – something that humans cannot do.

Bee Anatomy Bee Mouth
Bee Mouth

Like most insects, a bee has a complicated part of the mouth, some species of bees have different sizes and shapes of mouth-parts, but in general, most have:

Mandible in pairs, or jaws is used to chew pollen and manipulate the wax to build their comb.
Glossa or an insect’s hairy tongue can stick to nectar to pull it in toward the mouth.
The Labrum and the two upper jaws function like lips that supporting the proboscis, or tubes to collect nectar.

The Thorax, there are two pairs of wings and three pairs of legs connected to the thorax cavity. In many species, the front wing is larger than the rear wing. There are also a series of hooks called hamuli that connect the front and back wings so that they stick together when bees fly.

Let’s move to the Abdomen section, where the legs and stingers are stick to it. The legs have the same basic parts as other insect legs. Beginning with the element closest to the bee’s body, they are:

  • Coxa is the first segment of the legs.
  • Trochanter is the second segment of the legs.
  • Femur is the third segment of the leg of a bee.
  • Tibia, fourth segment of an insect leg; the tibia of the hind leg holds the pollen basket, where the pollen is carried.
  • Metatarsus, the fifth segment of an insect leg; the metatarsus of the hind leg holds unique pollen-collecting tools.
  • Tarsus is the last segment of the leg and what touches the walking surface.
  • Tarsus Claw, Claw found on the last segment of the leg.

The abdomen has almost no appendages, but it houses nearly all of the bee’s internal organs. The respiratory system in insects is a series of hollow tubes connected to air sacs in the body. The openings of these hollow tubes are called spiracles. The tubes are called trachea, which then provides oxygen and gas exchange to all tissues in the body. An aorta in the Thorax pumps the blood. Oxygen floats in the hemolymph without the use of red blood cells, so the fluid is colorless instead of red. The abdomen also holds a tube-like digestive system that includes a crop, or honey stomach, where the bee holds nectar.

Bee Stinger
Bee Stinger, source: https://animals.howstuffworks.com

And here is the part that we fear the most – The Stinger is a modified ovipositor. Also called “sting” is used to puncture the skin and pump venom into the wound. In worker bees, the stinger has a sharp end. Once pushed into the skin, the stinger remains in the victim. The venom sac will remain with the stinger. If left in the body, the stinger will continue to pump the venom from the venom sac into the victim. Queen bees have a longer and un-barbed stinger. Drones (lazy) don’t have a stinger.

This stinger combines a poison pouch with a sharp lancet, which produces a poison that the bee produces using its poison gland. Many scientists believe that bees inherit their poison from their wasp-like ancestors, but unlike wasps, bees will not sting unless they feel very threatened, and most bees will die after they release their sting.

How Many Types of Bee are there in the World?

If you only know honey bees among thousands of other species of bees, then don’t worry, you, along with 86% of survey participants conducted by The Ecological Society of America recently in September 2017. Although 99% of survey participants believe that bees have an essential role in the life of ecosystems, only 14% of survey participants know that there is the diversity of bees in the World, not only honey bees.

Don’t be surprised if you ask how many types of bees are there on earth?; many sources state that there are nearly 20,000 known species of bees. Maybe, even more, other sources say that there are about 30,000 species of bees that are spread on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet where there are plants or flowers pollinated, there must be bees.

Peoples are most familiar with honeybees and bumblebees. These are both social bees — they live in large groups. But did you know that most bees aren’t social? — less than 15 percent of bees live in colonies, the rest are solitary. They may exhibit some social tendencies, but they don’t build large hives or store lots of extra honey. Instead, they build small nests that are big enough to hold a few eggs or a single egg. Sometimes, lots of solitary bees build their nests close together. However, with the exception of mating and the occasional group defense of the nest site, these bees do not usually interact with each other.

Are all Bees Pollinators? Get to Know at Least the following Eight Types of Pollinating Bees.

Now we know, there is bee diversity in the World, we cannot recognize tens of thousands of their species; even entomologists might have trouble identifying them all.

To better appreciate bees for their service as pollinators, we can try to identify the eight types of bees that are the most easily encountered.

Honeybees (Apis mellifera; Family: Apidae)

Honeybee (apis Mellifera)
Honeybee (Apis mellifera) Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/14466470971

This type of bee is most popular among thousands of other bee species, so everyone knows it, and we can easily distinguish it from other bees with its distinctive color, which is golden brown with black stripes on its stomach. The honey bee (Apis mellifera) in the picture is a female worker bee.

Most live in artificial hives that are managed by hobbyists or professional beekeepers. Even if there are no beekeepers around you, chances are, you will easily find them around the park or forest closest to the village. They will fly 3 miles or more from the nest to find what they need, which is pollen.

Are they pollinators? Yes. Honeybees pollinate a variety of plants, including critical plants such as almonds, although they are often less efficient than wild bees.

Are they stinging? They can sting but rarely happens unless you disturb them or are too close to their nests. Are they stinging? They can sting but rarely happens unless you disturb them or are too close to their nests.

Bumblebees (Family: Apidae; genus: Bombus)

Bumblebee (bombus)
Bumblebee (Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/9144980115/)

Bumblebees are also known as “big bees,” which are amazing hairy pollinators. Honeybees and Bumblebees are equally important in terms of pollination and leech enthusiastic for flowers in finding pollen and nectar.

Bumblebees get their name from the noise they create inside a flower. They make the noise by quickly moving around; they sonicate the pollen off the bulb and onto the hairs on their body.

Are Bumblebees pollinators? Yes. They pollinate a wide range of native wildflowers, and they’re also important pollinators of certain crops, including tomatoes.

Are they stinging? They can sting but rarely happens unless you disturb them or are too close to their nests.

Carpenter bees (Family: Apidae; genus: Xylocopa)

Carpenter Bees (genus Xylocopa)
Carpenter Bees (Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/15163957281/)

Carpenter bees are solitary bees, also sometimes known as wood bees, don’t have a great reputation, it’s because they (female workers), who pierce your wood as t reproductive hive.

Many people are a little annoyed because wood bees make their porous wood structure of his house. For that, make sure you paint your house wood to block them. Traps are available, but these tend to kill bees.

Carpenter bees, such as honey bees and bees, have a pollen basket at their feet. They also have black bodies with thick yellow and black hair on their heads and Thorax and bald stomachs. If you’ve ever faced a large bee swooping down and hovering in front of your face, it’s probably a wood bee. But fear not, they have no interest in stinging you.

Are they pollinators? Yes. “Although they often drill and make holes in the wood of your house, believe me, they are very effective pollinating bees.”

Are they stinging? Female, they can sting but rarely happens unless you disturb them or are too close to their nests. While the Males are a bit aggressive, but the males are cannot sting.

Mason bees (Family: Megachilidae; genus: Osmia)

Mason Bees (genus Osmia)
Mason Bees (Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/13860821104/)

Mason Bees are also solitary, small, fast-flying bees that have the agility of a tiny fighter jet and have metallic colors including blue, dull green and black. They do not have pollen baskets on their legs. Instead, they carry pollen in hairs on the underside of their abdomens.

They are most active in the spring and get their name from their habit of using mud to close nest cavities. In nature, they look for a hollowed-out stem or a twig.

Are they pollinators? Yes. Mason bees are generalists that visit a variety of flowers, often focusing on those nearest to their nest. The blue orchard mason bee is a productive pollinator of spring-flowering fruit and nut trees.

Do they sting? Male mason bees can’t sting. Females technically can, but they’re even more docile than honeybees, stinging people only when they’re handled roughly or trapped under clothing.

Leafcutter bees (Family: Megachilidae; genus: Megachile)

Leafcutter Bees (genus Megachile)
Leafcutter Bees (Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/7671365458/)

Leafcutter bees are very similar to Mason bees in their nesting characteristics, except that they use leaves to close up their nest cavities. They are black with white hairs covering the Thorax and the bottom of the abdomen, and many species have large heads with massive jaws to aid in cutting off pieces of leaves to seal their nests. Also, like mason bees, they are solitary, and they carry pollen on their abdomens and are swift flyers.

Are they pollinators? Yes. Leafcutter bees are essential pollinators of many wildflowers, as well as some fruits and vegetables. They’re used by commercial growers to pollinate crops, including alfalfa, blueberries, carrots, and onions.

Do they sting? They can sting, but these solitary bees do not aggressively defend their nests. They only sting when handled, according to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, which describes a leafcutter bee sting as “far less painful” than that of a honeybee.

Blueberry bees (Habropoda laboriosa, Southeastern blueberry bee)

Blueberry Bees (habropoda Laboriosa, Southeastern Blueberry Bee)
Blueberry Bees (Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/7357614996/)

Blueberry bees are also solitary bees; they get their name because they have evolved to adapt to real blueberries, and their bodies have become very suitable for bell-shaped blueberries. Although they are excellent pollinators for blueberries, they also pollinate other plants. Blueberry beehives are on the ground, especially near blueberry plants as soon as they find them.

Are they pollinators? Yes. Apart from berries, Southeast blueberry bees pollinate other plants that flower in early spring – including Carolina jessamine, oak, and redbud – although they may be pollinators that are less efficient than some other native bees.

Are they stinging? Like most solitary bees, they are less likely to sting, except only if they feel the need to do so.

Squash bees (genera: Peponapis and Xenoglossa)

Squash Bees (peponapis And Xenoglossa)
Squash Bees (Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/31871782730/)

Squash bees are also solitary bees; they have evolved to become specialists in pollinating the Cucurbita family, which includes squash, zucchini, and pumpkin-like plants. They are one of the few bees that fly before dawn. The time of their primary flight lasts until mid-morning, and they will fly again before dusk when pumpkins and melons open.

If you see a bee nesting in pumpkin flowers, it’s almost certainly a male pumpkin bee when they nest and mate with pumpkin flowers — Females nest on the ground near food sources.

The head and Thorax have colors ranging from black or brown to orange. They are hairy with black, white, or brown belly lines.

Are they pollinators? Yes. Squash bees collect pollen exclusively from plants in the genus Cucurbita, they also often visit your home vegetable garden.

Sweat bees (various genera)

Sweat Bees (various Genera)
Sweat Bees (Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/9156910067)

Sweat Bees are also Solitary bees; they are small in size, nearly a quarter of the size of a honeybee. They have come to be known by the common name of “sweat bee” because they are attracted to human perspiration.

Because of their size, they are attracted to small flowers like fall-blooming asters of the Southeast. They range in color from black to metallic blues and greens, with copper and blue overtones. Some have stripes on their abdomens. They can be difficult to see due to their small size and high speed.

Are they pollinators? Yes. Unlike specialist squash bees, sweat bees are generalist pollinators, visiting a wide range of flowering plants.

Do they sting? Female sweat bees can sting, but they are not aggressive.

As a closing part, we can conclude that there are so many types of bees on this earth, now you not only know honey bees, but also at least eight types of plant pollinating bees, and also the anatomy of bees as illustrated above.

Most bees live as a wild and not colonized (Solitary Bee), and they are the most meritorious of pollinating plants. While most of the honey bees live in colonies (Social Bee) in the hives that have been provided by beekeepers, and the ability of honey bees in pollinating plants is not as massive as wild bees.

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