Friday, March 9, 2012

Day #514 Bee Hearts

Yesterday I told you I was going to highlight some of the information from Dr. Bernd Heinrich’s lecture at Georgia Tech. Here’s the first amazing (to me) bit of information that I had never heard before.
Bees and other sorts of six-legged critters  such as moths and dragonflies don’t have a heart in their thorax, the way we humans would expect. In fact, their heart looks more like a fat blood vessel. It runs the length of their abdomen on the dorsal (top) side. The bee’s heart pumps cool blood, which it has collected from the abdomen, up the body, down through the “waist,” and into the thorax, where the contraction of the muscles there warms the blood before it goes into the head. Once it’s warm, it circulates through the tissues and down the body, gradually dumping its heat. By the time the blood gets toward the bottom of the abdomen, it’s as cool as the outside temperature.
Bees never worry about warming their rear ends. It’s the thorax that is the important part. If they get too hot while they’re out foraging, they can dump out the contents of their honey crop (where they store the nectar and begin its transformation into honey). Seems like quite a waste to me, but then I suppose the alternative would be the death of the bee. So it’s better just to lose that load of nectar.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you how bees beat their wings.
BEEattitude for Day #514:
       Blessed are those who let us BEE, for they shall hear our song every warm day.
The teeny details:
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AggiePete said...

Totally fascinating. And as for a cool rear area, mine's fine vs hot weather!!! I don't know about others but although I was respectful of God's creatures, it puts an entirely different outlook on 'fuzzies'. I love them more if that's possible. Looking forward to tomorrow's news!

Fran Stewart said...

There were a lot of snickers in the audience when Dr. H spoke about the cold rear ends of bees. And it took all of us a few omens to absorb the fact that bees' hearts aren't where ours are. When I patted that bee (and put a picture of it in one of my blog posts several months ago) I had no idea I was patting her heart! Now, that feels a bit presumptuous of me.

AggiePete said...

Either way I'm sure there was a smile on her face!!! See you tomorrow!