Internal structure of the bee’s body

Internal structure of the bees body


The bee can produce a variety of movements: crawl, fly, bend the abdomen and sting, clean the antennae, perform various kinds of work – collect nectar and pollen, build honeycombs, etc.

In addition, the bee continuously produces respiratory movements by the abdomen; in her body moves blood, food moves during digestion, and other organs work. All movements of the bee, as well as the work of most internal organs are carried out by reducing many muscles that make up the so-called muscular system. The work of muscles, as well as of other organs, is regulated and controlled by the nervous system, which is capable of perceiving irritations from outside and responding to them.

Muscles of a bee, in comparison with its weight, are very strong. The bee can fly, carrying the corpse of a drone, whose weight exceeds two and a half times the weight of the bee.

Especially strongly developed in the bees are the muscles of the chest, which activate the organs of movement – the wings and legs.

Quite strong muscles lie in the head; they set in motion the mandibles, antennae, ensure the absorption of liquid by the bee, etc. In the abdomen are the muscles, the contraction of which provides the respiratory movements of the abdomen, the work of the sting, the activity of the digestive organs,

Muscles consist of a large number of muscle fibers, which are very thin and long, capable of contraction cells.

When working with muscles, a considerable amount of nutrients is consumed, which through a whole series of chemical processes are transformed from more complex to less complex ones. At the same time, thermal energy is also released.

The allocation of a large amount of heat to the bee muscles can often occur not only when it moves or flaps its wings, but also when the bee sits quietly, but keeps the main motor muscles in a state of constant tension.

This also consumes a lot of nutrients. This is the main way of heat formation in the bee family. The stronger the family, that is, the more bees there are in it, the easier it creates and maintains the temperature necessary for brood (34-35 њ) inside the nest. In small, weak families with a small number of bees to maintain such a temperature, each bee must be particularly strenuously to produce heat through the maximum tension of their muscles, it is clear that in this case much more consumed by each bee, more strained all of its life processes, as a result of which the life span is reduced, and the quality of the brood is degraded. In connection with this, strong bee colonies have great biological advantages in comparison with the weak ones.

Organs of digestion.

The digestive system includes mouth appendages (organs of food grasping), salivary glands and digestive canal.

Intestinal canal.

In the bee, as in general in insects, the intestinal canal is divided into the anterior gut, which consists of the pharynx and esophagus with its expansion-honey croup, the midgut, and the hindgut. In connection with the intestinal canal there are saliva glands and Malpighian vessels. The length of the intestine in the worker’s bee is 35, in the drone 47, and in the uterus – 39 m.

Internal structure of the bees body

The pharynx is a small extension of the anterior gut. It starts with a mouth opening and is placed in the head of the bee. In the walls of the pharynx there is a layer of muscle fibers, due to the alternate reduction of which the bee can suck in liquid food and water. Pharynx passes into the esophagus.

The esophagus, in the form of a thin tube, passes through the chest to the front of the abdomen, where it widens into a so-called honey cind, or a honey bag. Inside the rear end of the honey crocus there is a special closing valve that separates it from the middle gut. This closure consists of four blades, similar to the blades, obtained with a cross-shaped cut of the ball. The blades are seated at the edges with thin, hard hairs directed downwards.

The action of the ring and longitudinal muscles of the blade can open or close tightly.

The value of this contactor is as follows: firstly, it allows the bee to keep food in the crab. The feed can come from the zobik in the mid-gut only when the closure is opened. Secondly, the sleeve that runs away from it into the middle of the middle hinders the contents of the middle intestine from returning back. At the slightest pressure from the middle of the gut, the sleeve tightly presses against its wall. If water is required, the bee in the same honey crab brings to the hive and water.

The middle intestine, or digestive stomach, is a thick tube lying in the abdomen-the bee in the form of a loop. In this stomach, there is digestion and assimilation of bee food. Its walls have many folds and consist of three layers. The inner layer is an unstructured film having a large number of folds and. pierced, like a sieve, with many small pores. It is followed by the middlemost thickest cell and muscle layers. The cell layer consists of large cells with large nuclei. Cells of these two genera: some of them have clear contents, while others contain many fat droplets in their plasma. The first cells secrete enzymes and gastric juice, necessary for digestion of food, and the second cells absorb the nutrient juices produced in the stomach.

The food content of the stomach is surrounded by layers of the so-called peritrophic membrane, which is formed from a gelatinous mass secreted by the cells of the anterior parts of the midgut. It protects the epithelium of the midgut from damage by its pollen grains and prevents the penetration of parasites (eg, nostrils) from writing into the walls of the intestine. The hindgut consists of two parts: the thin and rectum. From the middle of the intestine, the remains of food, unassembled by the body, pass into a loop-like convoluted, small intestine.

Internal structure of the bees body Internal structure of the bees body

Fig. 15. Honey Zobik valve: A – the lips of the valve are closed; B – the valve lips are open part of the wall of the middle gut is opened to reveal the valve sleeve: – valve head; 2 – the lips of the valve; zobik; 4 – the valve sleeve; 3 – honey; c – the midgut.

Feces are collected in the rectum, which are then ejected through the anus.

The rectum or large intestine is like an extension of the small intestine. It is a bag surrounded by a small amount of muscle fibers and capable of expansion.

On the rectum there are six so-called rectal glands in the form of elongated thickenings, the excretion of which prevents rotting of unutilized remains of food.

Under favorable conditions, bees do not defecate during the whole winter (6-7 months), and feces accumulate in the rectum; From it, bees are released outside the hive in the spring during the first flight.

Selection organs

Removal of the decay products formed during the metabolism of the bee is carried out mainly by Malpighian vessels and, in part, by special cells – enocytes, located in the so-called fat body.

Malpighian vessels. In the anterior part of the small intestine, there are many, up to 100, thin tubes called the Malpighian vessels. They coil around the intestines and other organs inside the abdomen. The wall of each tube consists of one layer of cells, the tips of which often protrude into the cavity of the tube.

Malpighian vessels are urinary organs; they remove from the blood of unfit substances, bringing them into the small intestine in a liquid or mushy form, thence into the rectum, and then outward.

In addition to malpighian vessels, the functions of secretion in bees are also performed by enocytes in the so-called fatty body, but not functionally related to the latter.

The fatty body of the larva and adult bee has a different structure. In the larva it is more developed and consists of large, massive, irregularly shaped blades filling all the spaces between the organs. At the end of the larval life these blades disintegrate and the fat body of an adult bee is newly formed, which already has the appearance of flat, thin blades.

In a bee, the fatty body consists of fat cells that actually contain fat. Fat cells extract glycogen from the blood (a complex combination of proteins with starch, the so-called animal starch) and fat.

In the fat body are placed as if the intercalary cells – enocytes.

Enocytes are blood-cleansing organs, in them small brown grains circulating in the blood are deposited, which are the waste of the body, that is, the products of decay.

Young bees have no decay products in the enocytes. They accumulate with age, the bees are all in larger and larger numbers. For example, in a three-year-old uterus, the enocytes are heavily filled with them (in the form of granules).

It is believed that the fat body of the larva is a nutritious material for that period of time when the insect does not take food (in the pupal stage).

Salivary glands.

In connection with the digestive organs are the so-called salivary glands that open in the head region – in the pharynx, at the base of the upper jaws, at the base of the tongue and in other places.

The bee has three pairs of salivary glands. The first two pairs are in the head, and the third, the largest, is partly in the head, but partly in the chest.

Since all these glands are not anatomically interconnected and their ducts open in different places of the head of the bee, they get a name for the place where they are opened, namely: the maxillary glands, pharyngeal and lower labial glands.

Each gland consists of excretory cells and ducts from them, which are collected in one main duct.

Maxillary glands – paired, have a bag-shaped form. Their ducts open outside the mouth, at the base of the upper jaws. They are well developed in the uterus and young bees. With the age of the bee, the size of the glands decreases. They are weak in drones. These glands secrete the milk necessary for feeding the larvae and queens.

Internal structure of the bees body

Fig. 16. Salivary glands of the worker’s bee:

A – maxillary gland; b – pharyngeal gland; B – posterior gland (the head branch of the lower lip gland); D – thoracic gland (thoracic branch of the lower lip gland).

Milk is a very nutritious substance and is absorbed by the body almost without residue. It is a complete food.

It is young bees, having strongly developed maxillary glands, mainly engaged in feeding larvae.

In old bees, this pair of glands becomes exhausted and weakened in its functions, and therefore they cease to be the nurse of the brood.

Pharyngeal glands are also paired. Their main ducts are not connected to one common duct, but open separately on the back wall of the pharynx, behind the mouth.

These glands are found only in worker bees. The uterus has only the rudiments of it, and it is very rare. Drones do not have them at all.

The glands consist of numerous globular cells lying around a common duct and resembling a knitting of a bow. Thin tubules pass from them, along which the secretion of glands fall into the common duct.

The secretions of these glands facilitate the processing of nectar in honey (splitting complex sugars into simple ones).

The lower lip glands consist of two paired glands: thoracic and posterior glands.

The thoracic gland is in the chest and has a tree-shaped branched shape. Its secretions accumulate in bubbles (reservoirs), which then merge into a common excretory duct. This duct connects with the posterior duct of the cephalic gland, goes through the head and ends with a pocket-like extension on the front side of the base of the tongue.

Only these glands are really salivary, since they excrete saliva, which is mixed with nectar, when the bee sucks it. At the same time, saliva moistens the tongue and prepares it for food. The lower lip glands are present in all three individuals of the bee family.

Beef feed and digestion.

Food serves the body as an energy source for the realization of all its vital functions. From the constituent parts of nutrients, the body of the bee is built and wax is formed to build honeycombs.

Components of feed. The main components of nutrients in the diet include proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

Proteins are the most complex chemical compounds, of which the living tissue of the body consists. They are necessary for every animal, including a bee, mainly for building a body, and therefore, a protein-rich diet is especially necessary when brood rearing. The more the brood breeds in the family, the greater its need for protein feed.

A significant amount of protein is necessary for bees also for their enhanced release of wax.

Carbohydrates are the second part of the food. They go mainly to the formation of heat and to the work of muscles. Carbohydrates, being oxidized, in the body form the heat necessary for the animal and give energy. That’s why carbohydrates make up the bulk of the diet of adult bees, which no longer grow.

Fats – are used like carbohydrates to generate muscle energy and to generate heat. At the same time, they can be partially deposited in the body in reserve. Thus, fats serve in the body as a combustible material. Oxidizing, they give more heat than carbohydrates.

Water is necessary for bees, as well as for all other animals, it is a part of all organs of the body, both larvae and bees, being the environment in which the most complex reactions associated with life processes occur.

Water is a part of larval forage, as well as forage of adult individuals, being an integral part of milk, nectar, pollen and honey. In addition, water is used by bees to regulate the temperature in the nest and maintain the humidity in it.

In summer, in the presence of a bribe, bees usually have enough of the water they bring along with nectar as an integral part of it. But in the absence of a bribe, bees are forced to take water from natural water bodies, special drinking bowls, and also from puddles and ditches.

In the summer, in the absence of a bribe, the bee family spends about 200-250 grams of water a day on average, and 300-400 grams or more in dry days.

In addition to these three basic nutrients and water, for the existence of bees, like all other animals, some other substances are needed, albeit in small quantities. Of these, vitamins and mineral salts are of particular importance, which are necessary for the normal passage of many vital processes in the body. Without vitamins, as well as without salts, bees can not exist for a long time. The need for brood rearing in vitamins and salts is also much greater than in adult bees.

Carbohydrates are derived from nectar, which is a solution of sugars (mainly cane sugar). In the composition of nectar are in a small amount of essential oils, some salts, acids, etc.

Honey, like nectar, is basically a carbohydrate food. The chemical composition of honey differs from nectar by a much smaller percentage of water and the availability of more valuable sugars – glucose (grape sugar) and fructose (fruit sugar), obtained from the cleavage of the more complex cane sugar found in nectar. Honey contains about 20% of water and 75% of simple sugars (grape and fruit) that do not require processing in the intestines and come directly into the blood, and a small percentage of cane sugar, dextrins and other substances that require processing by the body for digestion. In addition, honey is richer in vitamins and has a more complete set of mineral salts. Protein in honey is not enough.

Sometimes, in addition to flower honey, bees collect so-called padew honey on the leaves of trees, bushes and herbaceous plants, which contains much more poorly digestible dextrins (about 22%), cane sugar (48%), several times more ash (0, 8%), while simple Sakharov, assimilated directly, is small (28%). Honey paddy is very harmful during the wintering of bees.

Proteins, fats and mineral salts are contained in the pollen collected by bees when visiting flowers. Pollen, in addition, has a significant amount of carbohydrates and is a rich source of vitamins.

The content of proteins, fats and other substances in pollen strongly fluctuates in different plant species. For example, dandelion pollen, in addition to water, carbohydrates and other substances, has 11% protein and 13% fat, and bell – 15.5% protein and 19.5% fat.

Thus, the main source of food for bees is nectar, which they turn into honey, and pollen.


Digestion begins in the mouth, where the secretion of salivary glands joins the food. From here, the food enters through the pharynx and esophagus into honey cinders. Zobik is only a temporary receptacle of swallowed food, however, during this time, under the influence of ingested salivary enzymes, it changes greatly. Having arrived in the nest, the bee sometimes regurgitates the contents of zobik (with the exception of a small amount) into cells for further processing into honey or, more often, transfers it to other bees, and the remaining part of the nectar enters the mid-gut and is used as food. The cells of the epithelium of the midgut produce a number of enzymes that act on all three basic components of the food: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Here, the food is digested and the nutrients absorbed by the walls of the intestine.

In the saliva and juices of the midgut, bees have enzymes invertase, amylase, lipase, protease and some others. Invertase splits cane sugar into simpler ones – grape and fruit. Amylase promotes the breakdown of starch and dextrins into less complex compounds – sugars. Lipase acts on fats. From the action of the protease, complex protein substances are split into simpler so-called peptones, which then, under the influence of the trypsin enzyme under alkaline conditions, split into the amino acid in the posterior part of the mid-gut.

Splitting of complex components of the feed into simpler ones is also facilitated by the enzymes present in the pollen eaten by the bees.

In bees during digestion, cells of the inner layer of the midgut undergo certain changes: they increase in size, swell and collapse, forming digestive juice. The destroyed cells are then renewed by multiplication of small cells.

Indigestible remains of food enter the small intestine and go further into the rectum, to the outlet.

In the large intestine of the bee there is a catalase enzyme secreted by the so-called rectal glands. This enzyme delays the decomposition of feces, which is especially important during the wintering of bees.


From digested food, nutrients are absorbed into the blood through the walls of the intestine. Blood carries nutrients and partly oxygen all over the body of the bee, to all its cells, and carries away carbon dioxide and other decay products. In addition, the blood carries out communication between organs, has protective functions against diseases and regulates heat exchange of the body.

Circulatory organs of the bee significantly differ from the circulatory organs of higher animals in the bee; like all insects, there is no system of closed blood vessels, some of which carry blood from the heart throughout the body, and others return it to the heart. The blood circulation of the bee is accomplished by means of a special long muscular vessel called the heart and located in the cavity of the dorsal side of the body along its middle line (between the back and abdominal diaphragm). This vessel looks like a long tube, closed at the rear end and open on the front. In it, you can distinguish two parts: the back of the vessel consists of five consecutive compartments, or chambers. It’s actually the heart. The second part of the spinal vessel, which is the continuation of the heart, but without any partitions,

The aorta, passing through the stalk, forms several helical loops, which protects it from rupture when the abdomen is bent. In the head between the esophagus and the brain, the aorta ends openly, and the blood flows directly into the cavity of the head. From there, through the chest, it moves back to the abdomen.

Each chamber of the heart has a pair of side holes through which blood enters the heart. These openings have inwardly opening valves, and therefore they only allow blood to enter the interior. The chambers are interconnected by narrowed passages that play the role of valves and allow the blood to move from chamber to chamber only forward.

How, then, does the blood from the body cavity enter the heart again? To do this, insects have special organs that drive the blood to the heart – these are the so-called pterygoid muscles, or the sub-cardiac diaphragm. There are five pairs. It is on them that the heart lies. In a relaxed state, these muscles have an arcuate, semi-cylindrical shape, and, when contracted, become flat and press down on the underlying organs. When the pterygoid muscles contract and become flat, the free space around the heart increases, into which blood flows, displaced by the internal organs of the body under the pressure of these muscles. Simultaneously, the heart expands, and blood is drawn through the openings of the cardiac chambers open at the sides. By alternating contraction of the muscular walls of the heart, blood is run forward, to the head, where the aorta ends.

Passing through the voids between the intestines of the abdomen, the blood takes away nutrients that are sucked through the walls of the digestive canal, and, when in contact with the trachea (airway tubes), it is saturated with oxygen. These substances quickly spread to all parts of the body with blood, nourish all organs and supply them with oxygen. At the same time, blood plasma collects decay products (metabolic products).

The blood of a bee, like all insects, is a colorless transparent liquid. Basically it consists of plasma and colorless blood cells (gemitsitov) of various forms, capable of active movement.

There are also leukocytes, often changing their shape, they come from hemocytes. In the blood cells, bees can accumulate supplies of nutrients and products of excretion.

Respiratory system.

In addition to food and water, for the normal functioning of the body, bees need oxygen in the air. Required oxygen is delivered to the body of bees by respiratory organs.

Breathing organs for bees is a whole system of air sacs and air tubes, the so-called trachea. Breathing of bees is accomplished through special holes located on the sides of the body. They are called spiracles or stigmata. Working bees, uterus and drones have in the chest 3 pairs of spiracles located on the sides of the chest, in the abdomen of the bee and uterus are 6 pairs each, and in the drones there are 7 pairs of spiracles.

The bee’s ham is a narrow elongated hole surrounded by a frame of dense dark chitin. This hole leads to a special cavity, or chamber, from the bottom of which the air ducts or tracheas leave.

Inside the spiracles, at the transition to the trachea, there is, as it were, a strainer from. hairs. In addition, the spiracle has a closing device of a complex device. With the help of this apparatus, the bee can tightly close the spiracles and drive the air into the distant branches of the trachea. Such a device of spiracles of bees excludes the possibility of dust and other impurities entering into it together with air.

Trachea are breathing tubes of brilliant silver color, having a characteristic structure. The inner layer of the tracheal wall is formed from elastic spiral strands of chitin filaments. Muscles do not have trachea.

The spiracles of each side are connected by a thick airway channel – the so-called longitudinal trunk. The bee as well as other well-flying insects, longitudinal trunks greatly expand and form air sacs. These bags are connected to each other by transverse rather thick tracheal trunks, which are called bridges.

From the air sacs, as well as from the chest breather, a lot of tubes leave, which, more and more branched, reach the most remote parts of the body. For example, from the thoracic spiracles trachea gives branches to all organs of the chest, head, legs and wings.

The air sacs and the finest forkings of the trachea do not have a spiral lining that serves to strengthen. The silver color of the trachea turns into dark, as soon as air is removed from them.

The bee breathes, that is, absorbs and expels the air by the expansion and contraction of the abdomen under the action of special muscles, which are therefore called respiratory.

The number of breaths of the bee is not constant and depends mainly on the external temperature and the intensity of the work. In a very calm state, the bee makes a few breaths per minute (for example, under good wintering conditions). The bee, flown from the field in a tired state, produces up to 150-200 breaths a minute.

The air passes through the spiracle to the chamber, where it is filtered, and moves further into air bags and large trachea. On the thin trachea, the movement of air occurs due to the diffusion of gases.

In the uterus, the air sacs are less developed than in the bee. They are especially strongly developed in drone.

The need for fresh air in bees is very; is great. If we compare the consumption of oxygen per unit of live weight of a person and a bee, then it turns out that the bee requires several times more oxygen than the person at work. This must always be remembered. The need for bees in the air depends on the intensity of work and the ambient temperature. Thus, with an increase in air temperature from 20 њ to 35 њ, the need for bees in the air increases almost 5-fold.

With the increased work of bees and with the multiplicity of the family, good ventilation of the hive should be ensured. Very important is the proper ventilation of the nests and the winter hut during the wintering of the bees.


In every living organism, in every cell of it, in every particle of living matter, there is a continuous exchange of substances. All tissues of the body take from their environment the nutrients and oxygen they need.

The substances that enter the body all the time are partially destroyed, oxidized, and the products of decomposition are formed and removed from the body.

In the process of metabolism, the destruction of complex organic substances is the transformation of energy; the latent chemical energy of nutrients is released, turning into thermal and mechanical energy. The exchange of substances and the transformation of energy from one species into another are inextricably linked.

Metabolism is the basis of all life phenomena of the body, it is inherent in all living things and is a necessary condition for the existence of living organisms.

In the bee, metabolism occurs mainly as follows.

The constituent parts of the digested food, seeping through the walls of the midgut, get into the blood, which carries around the body the nutrients needed for various tissues, and from the body tissues the blood gets the decay products, that is, unnecessary and even harmful substances for the body.

Each cell has the ability to take the necessary food from the blood and convert it into its own iritoplasm. In addition, air and oxygen are used in the cells and tissues to be used for oxidative processes.

As a result of such cellular activity, carbonic acid, water and other more complex decay products are obtained. Some of these products, for example, carbon dioxide, are very harmful to the life of the cells themselves, and therefore must be immediately removed. The decay products are removed from the body through the respiratory organs and excretory organs.

Passage of all life processes of metabolism is facilitated by complex protein substances produced by the body, enzymes. They have a lot of bees. Some of them contribute to the breakdown of proteins into their constituent parts (amino acids), others promote the decomposition of complex sugars into simpler ones, the third acts on fats, the fourth contributes to the assimilation of nutrients by cells, etc. In order for the enzymes to produce the necessary composition and the amount needed is necessary so that in the food of bees there are enough proteins, vitamins and mineral salts.

Experience shows that when bees are fed the same way only with carbohydrate food (sugar), bees can exist for several months (for example, in winter, in the absence of brood), but they significantly weaken, as part of the protein of their body is spent on providing life processes.

The intensity of the passage of metabolism in the bee can vary within very wide limits and depends primarily on the conditions in which the bees are.

Being in a calm state, for example, in conditions of a successful wintering as part of a strong family, the bee spends very little energy. It is clear that in such conditions oxidative processes in its organism pass relatively slowly; feed to replenish consumable nutrients is also required a little, the bee’s organism fires (grows old) slowly, and the bee can live a long time, up to 8-9 months.

But if the bee is in poor conditions of existence, for example, in a weak family, in unfavorable wintering conditions or in a hive that poorly protects bees from cold in the autumn and spring

And from the heat in the summer, etc., then the energy expenditure of each bee increases significantly, which means that the intensity of the passage of metabolism increases, the consumption of feed increases, and the life span of bees decreases. That is why the life expectancy of bees in strong families is one and a half to two times greater than in the weak.

Especially a large amount of energy is consumed by the bee during flight, during the ventilation of the nest and when the brood is heated. It suffices to point out that when flying a bee spends energy hundred times more than in a quiet state. Therefore, when using bees for pollination of agricultural crops and honey harvest, it is necessary to bring apiaries as close as possible to areas with honey plants, and also create other conditions for normal life and work of bees.

The temperature of the bee’s body depends to a large extent on the intensity of metabolism.

The body temperature of the bee is not constant and depends on two main conditions: the temperature of the ambient air and the work of the bee, that is, the tension of its main muscles.

If the bee is in a calm state and does not strain its muscles to produce heat, then due to the passage of vital processes, the temperature of its body will be approximately 0.5 њ above the temperature of the surrounding air.

When the bee is working hard, for example, when flying, working on flowers or when the nest is ventilated, the temperature of the bee’s body increases significantly and is on average 4 њ above the ambient air temperature. This same body temperature of the bee happens even when it strains the main motor muscles, especially the muscles of the chest, when producing the heat necessary for the brood growing in the nest.

In very hot days, body temperature is calm, sitting a bee can be slightly lower than the temperature of the surrounding air.

At a temperature of 5-6 њ C, the bee that is outside the club is numb.

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Internal structure of the bee’s body