Number 2 Bee

After some more research and finding both helpful, unhelpful and plainly inaccurate diagrams of bees and their anatomy, I put together my own rough sketch. Drawing definitely helps me to remember things.
With a little more understanding I was able to make more sense of the tangle of legs and the curled bodies, which are difficult to analyze without a microscope. I have learnt some curious things too.

Bees have 5 eyes… lucky things, 2 compound eyes and 3 extra small ones on top of their head called ocelli. They also have hairy tongues, in fact their mouths are incredibly complicated and multifunctional. As I am drinking my tea I am trying to make some comparisons. I think we humans have been sold short.

bee sketch anatomy

So I have painted another of Joe’s bees, this one much darker than the one I drew in pencil. I am amazed at the variety of colours and furriness.
I have tried not to get involved with my models, after all, these are dead bees, but having to look so closely, trying to understand how they are put together, I have inevitably become fond of them.
To see them so small and helpless, some with their little tongues out, to hold their weightless tiny papery bodies while trying to unravel some of their mysteries, is to get involved.
I was OK until I drew the eye.. but as soon as you draw an eye on something it has a personality. I am trying not to give this one a name. How very beautiful and delicate it is…
I do have 9 more and tomorrow I might try the euglossa bee… but there again I might not… it looks difficult.


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  1. Good job.

  2. You captured it's beauty, both in paper and words. A fitting tribute for a noble creature.

    Thanks, great post.


  3. I gasped when I opened this, Val. It is stunning.

  4. Oh wow. This bee is just wonderful. Great detail. Judy

  5. Oh thankyou so much all. This little bee has some great supporters. It always helps to be fond of your models when you draw!

  6. What struck me was the sense of their vulnerability, and that considering especially what trouble our bees – ALL bees – are in right now, with lack of nectar flowers, honeybees' colony collapse disorder and parasites on native populations of bees too. The drawings brought an intimacy of scale to the fore. Thank you for doing this!!

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