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This website’s purpose is to encourage interest in the study of bee anatomy.

Knowing how bees function requires a knowledge of the arrangement of the internal organ systems. We need to know how they function to understand issues of disease, nutrition, lifespan, aggression, survival, breeding and productivity.

Bees’ internal organs have some similarities to those of vertebrates, but also many fundamental differences.

The owner of this website, Dr. Ian Stell, has been a beekeeper in an urban area, in South-East London since 1998, keeping about fifteen colonies. His day job is as a doctor in Emergency Medicine.

Keeping bees has involved facing many disease challenges, much as Emergency Medicine does. This has led Ian into an interest in the microscopic examination of bees, and he has applied his knowledge of the human body in describing the honeybee, system by system

Ian became a Master Beekeeper in 2010, and was awarded the prestigious Wax Chandlers award, from one of the ancient City Livery companies with an historical link to beekeeping.

These videos give a glimpse of what we can find when we look down the microscope….

The first video describes the external and internal structures of the antenna

And this second video describes the remarkable changes which take place in the internal organs during metamorphosis

Bees have a choice of mouthparts, for biting or sucking. This video describes the mandibles. Bees never cease to amaze, and recent evidence that the saliva can anaesthetise other insects is remarkable.

The bee’s brain is about one cubic millimetre in size, yet it gives the bee a good memory, and many abilities. This video gives a tour of the main structures and their functions.

Honeybee salivary glands

The anatomy of the honeybees salivary glands can be confusing. There are four different glands which secrete through the bees mouth, and their functions are not fully understood. Between them they are responsible for some digestive functions, plus chemical communication, defensive roles and feeding of larvae.

This video aims to explain these important structures.

 

Bee Anatomy Tips 1

Hello – this is Dr. Ian Stell

I plan, on a regular basis, ideally every week, to post some images and videos on bee anatomy, so do please keep coming back and visiting this site and you will find these listed here.

I hope you will find them of use and that they will further help you to understand this extraordinary creature.

If there are topics you would specifically like me to cover, please let me know through the “Leave a Reply” box below this post – thank you.