Do Bees Have Hair?

Illustration for article titled Do Bees Have Hair?

After checking out these amazing photographs of the super-magnified (and rather gorgeous) faces of bees, a question arose: Do bees have hair?


So they do? Well, sort of, as commenter and current entomology PhD student Lucy Cooper explains

Sort of; they're special epidermal cells called setae; basically extensions of the cuticle. Setae can have a bevy of functions ranging from insulation, to detection of movement (i.e wind speed/direction), to pollen gathering. In some butterflies the front- and hind-wings are held together by a seta from the hind-wing called the frenulum, that catches on a hook or another patch of setae on the fore-wing, called the retinaculum.


Want to take your very own shots of the close-up features of bees, wasps, beetles, or anything else you can dream up? USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab photographer Sam Droege, who is responsible for all these macro bee shots above, joined us in the comments today and directed us towards this how-to guide he put together.

Image: Sam Droege / USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

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James Veber

Who's a cute little bee? you are! you're a cute little bee!