October 11, 2016

Differences in the Anatomy of a Queen Bee, Worker Bee and Drone

As far as size is concerned the queen honey bee is the longest of the three. However unlike the other two her wings only extend half way along her abdomen, which itself is pointed at the end. Her legs appear to be spider-like and her head is proportionally smaller than a worker bee or drone.

The drone on the other hand is squarely built with a stumpy squared off abdomen and is a similar weight to the queen bee. His wings are large and cover his abdomen completely. He has the longest legs but these are largely disguised by his stout body shape. The drone has a large round head and very large compound eyes which appear to meet on the top.

The worker bee is the smallest of the three and half of the weight of the queen bee or drone. Her wings although longer than the queens, do not quite cover her abdomen, which is pointed at the end and she has short legs. The head of the worker bee is proportionally large and more triangular than the others.

The workers mouth parts or mandibles are spoon-shaped which helps her mould wax and collect propolis. Her tongue is also the longest as she has to be able to forage and access nectar in flowers. Her third pair of legs are also modified with special sacs or corbiculum  to carry loads of pollen and propolis when required.

More about Honey Bee Anatomy and Physiology

More about the Honey Bee Colony