Have you ever heard the children’s joke, ‘why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use honeycomb’. This joke delights young children but there is a very real reason why bees have so many tiny sticky hairs all over their bodies.
Why Are Bees Covered in Hair?
Although they are small in size, bees have millions of tiny hairs all over their body. These hairs are needed to collect pollen from the flowers that foraging bees visit. The pollen from male plants sticks to the hairs as the bee collects nectar and is then transferred to female parts of plants when the bee visits them.
But the hairs on a bee’s body do more than just stick to pollen. In fact, they have multiple purposes. These hairs are used to help regulate the bee’s body temperature. They are also useful when it comes to detecting pheromones released by other bees, as well as sensing things in the wind current.
Bees use the hairs on their body to explore the world around them. Their hairs can detect danger by picking up vibrations in the air, and they are also useful in helping the bees sense what they are touching as they scout for nectar and pollen.
Why Do Bees Have Sticky Legs?
Bees also have ‘sticky’ legs, or sticky pads on their legs which help them to land on slippery surfaces. They have six legs, with the front two designed for cleaning their antennae. The back legs are used to collect and carry propolis and pollen back to the hive in what is known as a pollen basket.
The pollen basket is found just behind the bee’s back legs and is a concave structure surrounded by hairs. When the bee visits a flower, it will groom itself. During this process, some of the pollen that has stuck on the bee’s body will be brushed towards the back legs where it is stored in the pollen basket until the bee returns to the hive.
Bees’ bodies are covered in millions of tiny hairs that are primarily used to collect pollen and transfer it from male to female parts of plants. However, the hairs on their bodies also help to regulate their body temperature and to detect vibrations and chemicals in the world around them.
In addition to sticky hair on their body, bees also have sticky pads on their legs, which help them to land on slippery surfaces.