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Having had great success with recipe Saturdays, I’ve decided to add Vocabulary Sundays. Short and sweet vocabulary building for beekeepers and those interested in learning more before taking the leap.

Today’s word is: exoskeleton

From Extension: Anatomy of the Honey Bee

Honey bees have an exoskeleton, which is rigid and covered with layers of wax, but have no internal bones like vertebrates do. The main component of exoskeleton is chitin which is a polymer of glucose and can support a lot of weight with very little material. The wax layers protect bees from desiccation (losing water). The advantage of chitin-containing exoskeleton also prevents bees from growing continually, instead, they must shed their skins periodically during larval stages, and stay the same size during the adult stage. Bees also have an open circulatory system, meaning that they do not have veins or arteries, but rather all their internal organ are bathed in a liquid called ‘hemolymph’ (a mix of blood and lymphatic fluid). Bees breathe through a complex structure of network of tracheas and air sacs. Oxygen is vacuumed into the body through openings on each segment (spiracles) by the expansion of the air sacs, then the spiracles are closed and air sacs are compressed to force the air into smaller tracheas, which become smaller and smaller until individual tubules reach individual cells.

Read more here: From Extension: Anatomy of the Honey Bee

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