Honey Bee Proboscis

Recently I started reading the book "The Hive and The Honey Bee" by Dadant. During the winter months there isn't much a beekeeper can do, so I started reading the book to learn how to understand how the honey bee biology works, what their behaviors in various scenarios mean, etc.


Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I'll post interesting tid bits that I've learned from the book.


First up, the bees proboscis. Quoting from the book is the following 2 paragraphs:

 The proboscis of the bee is not a permanently functional organ as it is in most other sucking insects; it is temporarily improvised by bringing together the free parts of the maxillae and labium to form a tube for ingesting liquids- nectar, honey, water. [Dadant & Sons, 85] 


When the proboscis is not in use its basal parts are drawn up behind the head[...] while at the same time the distal parts are folded back against the prementum and stipites. When the bee would imbibe liquid, the proboscis is protracted by swinging downward [...] and its distal parts are extended. The broad maxillary galea and the labial palpi are brouht together around the tounge in such a manner as to form a tube [...]. [Dadant & Sons, 86]


I found the fact that the proboscis is not one solid  component of the bee suprising and interesting.

Below are two videos that show more information about the honey bee's proboscis




 Here is a video of a honey bee extending it's proboscis, forming a tube and using it's tounge to retrieve liquid.





Dadant & Sons. The Hive and the Honey Bee: A New Book on Beekeeping Which Continues the Tradition of "Langstroth on the Hive and the Honeybee" Revision 7 ed. Hamilton, Ill.: Dadant, 1984. Print.

Comments For This Post: (1) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Mark Martin says...
Date:   December 5, 2014, 10:15 am

Cool.  Always something new to learn!

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