What Is the Anatomy of a Honey Bee?


Quick Answer

Like all insects, honey bees have three body segments - head, thorax and abdomen - as well as six legs that are attached to the thorax. Only female worker honey bees have stingers.

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Full Answer

A honey bee has two compound eyes with over 3,000 facets, or ommatidia. A bee's eyes are excellent at perceiving distance, light and color but are not very accurate regarding shapes. Honey bees are capable of seeing ultraviolet light and easily perceive the nectar guides of flowers, which are invisible to humans. Two additional simple eyes receive information on light intensity, allowing honey bees to determine the approach of dusk.

The antennae of honey bees register airborne odors and tastes along with various environmental conditions, including humidity. The legs and wings attach to the thorax. Each leg has structures sensitive to various chemical concentrations, allowing the bee to taste what it touches. The first pair of legs have notches that a bee uses to clean its antennae. The middle and last leg pairs have structures for collecting and storing pollen for transport to the hive. The most notable element of a honey bee's abdomen is the stinger. Serrations on the sides of the stinger ensure that it remains in the skin of the stung creature. The venom bulb pumps venom through the stinger for up to a minute after the sting. When a honey bee stings, it leaves behind part of its digestive tract, meaning that it dies soon after.

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