Honey Bee Leg

honey bee legsThis vintage insect drawing would be great for anyone studying honey bees and pollination.

It starts off with a nice drawing of a honey bee. Then things start to get really interesting. This was one of those fun finds for me because it is something I have not seen before. And, any day I get to learn something new is always a good day.

The second feature on this drawing is a honey bee leg.  What our naked eyes can not see are all of the little hairs on the honey bee’s legs that are designed to accumulate pollen.

And, the last part of the drawing isn’t of a branch or a feather but actually a further close up of an actual hair from a honey bee leg.  As you can see,  the hair is not smooth like our own hair but is actually shaped more like a fern or branch of a pine tree. The artist has again included some bits of pollen so that we can see how the pollen is stuck to and even skewered in the branches of a single hair.

Pretty cool, huh? I thought it was. And, that’s why I’ve gone ahead and included the entire book plate rather than just the honey bee drawing. I figure most folks will find the bee drawing more useful but I find it fascinating to see how a honey bee leg accumulates the pollen that the bees turn into that wonderful stuff called honey.

This drawing was first published in 1899 and is no longer protected by copyright in the United States.

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