Bee hair structure and the effect of hair on metabolism at low temperature
Edward E. Southwick
Thoracic hair on honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) occurs in two distinct forms, short and long. Both forms are branched but differ in their branching morphology, and together provide an efficient insulating layer against heat loss in clusters of bees. Hairless honeybees (mutant Apis mellifera carnica) in small clusters exposed to 2°C consumed significantly more oxygen and dissipated more metabolic energy than their normal hairy relatives. They also more frequently fell into chill coma.