The anatomy of the honey bees


Despite it’s sweet name, the Honey Bee does sting. Unlike its relatives, wasp and hornets, the honey bee will not actively seek a target, it only stings if stepped on or held tightly or if their hive is threatened. Sadly this involuntary action rips the stinger from the bee’s abdomen and leads to it’s death. It is unknown why they are the only species to suffer such a horrible death.

The anatomy of the honey bee’s stinger consists of a two barbs and two glands containing venom. Once stung, venom is continuously released into your skin, so it should be removed immediately. The best way to remove a stinger is to scrape it from your skin with a hard, thin object, such as a credit card. Simply pulling the stinger out with tweezers leaves the venom sacks, allowing them to empty and giving you the full sting. Hold your credit card at an angle against your skin and scrape, the stinger and the sack will both be removed.
Move away from the hive immediately after being stung, because the bee release pheromones which alerts their community to an impending danger. This scent alerts sentry bees stationed at the hive entrance hundreds of bees will be on your trail in a matter of minutes. Not only is this pheromone on your skin, it penetrates your clothing, so be sure to wash these items before going outside again.


Additional benefits of this heightened sense of smell include detecting imposters that are attempting to infiltrate the hive. They create a waxy substance called Propolis that helps protect the hive, also popular for human consumption because of their health benefits. They are detected and killed because they are seen as a threat to the queen. The queen will produce the odor to initiate mating when the hive numbers have dropped. The honey bees use it as a homing device to locate the hive if it has moved or after they have swarmed.

Honey bees have five eyes, two large and three small, in the center of their head. These separated eyes have the ability to pick up multiple images at one time, but somehow the bees brain pixelates them. This allows the bee to determine what is important visual information and what items to disregard.
Unlike humans who see a rainbow of colors, the bees cannot see red and can only distinguish between yellow and ultraviolet. Honey bees also do not have the ability to see in 3-D but rather a flat vision that works great in their topographical environment.