A simple method in measuring honey bee morphological
Hossam Farag Abou-Shaara
Baqshans Chair for Bee Research, Faculty of Foods and Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University, Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia. email: email@example.com
Assistant lecturer at Faculty of Agriculture, Damanhour University, Egypt.
Member in the International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI/NAS and CES)
Honey bee morphological characters are very important in studying honey bee populations
(e.g. population adaptation, population changes by time, differences between honey bee races
and races characterization). Different methods were used in measuring honey bee morphological
characters like using microscopes, binocular, CCD camera equipped with computers, projectors
and scanners with high resolution. Different computer programs were created to simplify the
measuring of morphological characters. Unfortunately, these programs concentrated only on
measuring wing characters and not support the measuring of other morphological characters. In
this article, I will present a simple method in measuring all honey bee morphological characters.
Description of the method:
The simple method depends mainly on the using of Scanners with high resolution and
Photoshop program, this method was called (Scan Photo method).
In Scan Photo method all of the studied morphological characters were measured using
scanner (Zoom 100%, color is red green blue (RGB), resolution 2400 points per inch (ppi) and
units of mm) connected to laptop (Fujitsu) with screen resolution (1024 by 768 pixels) and
provided with measuring program (PhotoShop). The separated body parts of worker bees were
put on glass slides and covered with another glass slides. The slides were scanned and moved
into computer as images. The images were opened on the measuring program and characters
were measured with measuring tools.
The steps of using the Scan Photo method showed in Fig. (1) as the following:
1- Collecting of honey bee worker (Fig. 1a).
2- Separation of bee body parts (Fig. 1b).
3- Double glass slides (under light lid) contain the separated body parts and scanned with
the scanner (Fig. 1c).
4- Laptop screen show the double glass slides inserted inside a frame and scanned with the
scanner (Fig. 1d).
5- Many right fore wings transformed as image after scanning (Fig. 1e).
6- Measuring of morphological characters for only one chosen fore wing by using the
Photoshop program (Fig. 1f).
To adjust this method, a drone fore wing was scanned beside a ruler, fore wing length was 12
mm by the ruler and the same length was obtained by the Photoshop (Fig. 2).
( c ) (d)
Fig. (1): Steps of measuring morphological characters using the Scan Photo method:
a) Collecting of bee sample, b) Separation of body parts, c) using the scanner to
scan the separated parts, d) laptop screen, e) right fore wings after scanning,
f) measuring of morphological characters by Photoshop program.
Fig. (2): Measuring of drone fore wing length by using ruler and Photoshop ruler, the same
length was obtained by the two tools (12 mm).
The coming figures show the measuring of honey bee morphological characters by using Scan
Fig. (3): Measuring of fore wing length and width in units of (mm).
Fig. (4): Measuring hind wing length and width in units of (mm).
Fig. (5): Measuring of tongue length in units of (mm).
Fig (6): Measuring of hind leg characters (femur length, tibia length, basitarsus
length and width) in units of (mm).
Fig. (7): Hooks number of hind wing.
Fig. (8): Measuring of Cubital A and Cubital B.
Fig. (9): Measuring of distance C and D of fore wing.
Fig. (10): Head capsule width.
Fig. (11): Sting shaft length.
Fig. (12). Measuring of abdominal tergites 3 and 4.
Fig. (13).Nineteen points of fore wing. (The source of point's distribution is Bee
Research institute Dol, Czech Republic - www.beedol.cz).
: From point 2 to 4.
: From point 1 to 2.
: From point 3 to 4.
: From point 11 to 15.
Inner wing length
: From point 1 to 14.
Inner wing width
: From point 7 to 13.
: From point 0 to 7.
: cubital A/Cubital B.
Dumb bell index
: points 1-4/ points 5-6
A simple comparison was done between Scan Photo method and Binocular method. Samples
of honey bee workers were measured by Binocular method and then by Scan Photo method.
Results of this comparison showed that no significance differences were detected between the
two methods. Finally, this method can also be applied on any other insect.
Hossam F. Abou-Shaara (2009): Morphometrical, biological and behavioral studies on some
honey bee races at El-Beheira Governorate. M.Sc. Alexandria University, Faculty of Agriculture,
Damanhour branch, Egypt.