Species

Worshiped throughout history by various civilizations as a symbol of wealth, work or perseverance, for the way they defend their territory, bees appeared long before man, over 100 million years.

Member of the order of Hymenoptera and the superfamily Apoidea (Apiformes family group), bees are divided into about 20,000 species the best known of which is the Apis mellifera.

Bees are believed to have originated from a group of wasps, which changed its usual diet of insects and mites, to feed on nectar and pollen to obtain nutrients.

Bees play a fundamental role in the pollination of most crops.

 

Anatomy

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1 – “Tongue” (proboscis or glossa)
2 – Back jaw gland of excretory duct orifice
3 – Lower jaw
4 – Upper jaw
5 – Upper lip
6 – Lower lip
7 – Front jaw gland (mandibular gland)
8 – Back jaw gland
9 – Mouth opening
10- Pharyngeal gland
11- Brain
12- Ocelli
13- Salivary glands
14- Chest Muscles
15- Postphragma
16- Forewing
17- Hind wing
18- Heart
19- Stigmas
20- Air sacs
21- Midgut (chyle, stomach)
22- Heart valves
23- Small intestine
24- Malpighi tubules
25- Rectal glands
26- Excrement sac
27- Anus
28- Sting channel
29- Venom sac
30- Poison glands
31- Sting channel arches
32- Small gland
33- Seminal vesicle
34- Wax glands
35- Abdominal ganglia
36- Valve tubule
37- Intermediate gut
38- Stomach entrance
39– Melliferous bladder
40- Aorta
41- Digestive tract
42- Neuronal cord
43- Labial Palp
44- Metatarsus

 

Head

It is where are located the sensory organs that guide them to know what is happening around them. The large compound eyes serve to guide the navigation of their flights and distinguish colors of flowers. Antennas provide them with the senses of hearing, smell and touch, instrumental in the darkness of the hive.

Through the smell they recognize their nest mates and detect their enemies. In their two antennas are located the odorant receptors, the function of which is capturing odors such as blooms, or virgin Queens by drones, for example.

Drones have nearly 30,000 odorant receptors, worker bees have 4 to 6 thousand odorant receptors and the Queen bee has about 3000 cavities.

Bees’ complex visual system consists of three simple eyes, situated in the front of the head and two compound eyes, located on the sides of the head, which are able to see well over long distances.

Mandibular glands, which dissolve the wax and help process the royal jelly to feed the Queen, and the hypopharyngeal glands, which work from 5th to 12th day of life of worker and transform ordinary food into royal jelly are also located on the head.

 
 
Thorax

Bees’ locomotion organs are located on their chest. Each of the three pairs of legs has a function. Microscopic hairs that are used to clean the antennae, eyes, tongue and jaw cover the first pair of legs.

The second pair of legs features a spur the purpose of which is to clean the wings and remove pollen accumulated on the corbicula (baskets like structures with a concavity for loading pollen) of the rear legs. These are characterized by the existence of pollen baskets, combs and thorns the purpose of which is to remove wax particles prepared by wax glands, found in the womb.

Two superimposed membranes, reinforced by branched ribs, form the two pairs of wings. The hindwings are smaller and are fitted with hairgrips with which bees, in flight, hook the two wings together to form one only.

 

Abdomen

The abdomen includes the melliferous bladder (which transforms nectar into honey and also carries the water collected to the hive), stomach, small intestine, wax glands (responsible for producing wax) and the trachea or spiracles (breathing organs).

The reproductive organs of drones, which consist of a pair of testicles, two glands of mucus and penis, are also located in their abdomen. The female reproductive organs are also found in the abdomen, that is, vagina, ovaries (two), spermatheca (sac in where the Queen stores the sperm of drones that fertilized it) and the scent gland, which allows the identification of the bees. Due to the characteristic smell a bee is not accepted in a strange hive.

The sting is located at the end of the abdomen. For the Queen, the sting works as a guiding instrument to locate the honeycomb cells where it will ovulate. Occasionally it is used to sting another Queen born at the same time and with which it will fight to death for leadership within the hive.

The format of the Queen bee sting is different, featuring a smooth surface. After penetrating and injecting the poison, it returns to its normal state. Worker bees, in turn, have saw-shaped stings, which after penetrating a more rigid surface, like human skin, gets stuck and pulls part of internal organs, which eventually causes their death as a result. The drones have no sting.

 

 

 

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