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|Courtesy of CDC/ Janice Carr; Connie Flowers; and Pamela Munn of the International Bee Research Association, IBRA|
Honey Bee Head
From a relatively low-magnified perspective, this scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicted a superior view of the head capsule of a Western honey bee’s, Apis mellifera, head and thorax. Revealed are the bee’s two laterally situated large antennae, and an exoskeletal surface that is covered by setae, or “hairs” of various lengths. Also somewhat visible, are the bee’s mandibular mouth parts; Magnified 45x.
The two antennae are sensory organs integral to the daily activities of Apis mellifera, providing the insect with feedback referencing changes in its environment such as the presence of chemicals including pheromones, and floral scents, wind speeds, and thermal fluctuations. The setae, or “hairs”, not only act as miniature antennae, but also serve a physical function, which is the collection of pollen from each visited flower, capturing the pollen amongst the hairs when the bee rubs against each pollen-laden stamen.