1. Introduction

This paper is placed first in the COLOSS BEEBOOK, because an understanding of honey bee anatomy is essential for much of the work described in the other papers. Similarly, basic dissection techniques are also fundamental to many facets of the study of honey bees. Man has kept honey bees for many thousands of years, and they have long held a fascination for those keen on understanding natural history. The development of our understanding of the anatomy of honey bees has been outlined by Crane (1999). In the modern era, two textbooks have become standard, those by Snodgrass (1956; 2004), and Dade (1962; 2009), and these are still readily available. For the purposes of this paper, we have therefore tried to give essential information only, and we suggest that the reader seeking further information consults these. Much of the section on dissection here is taken from Dade’s (1962) work, and needs to be read in conjunction with the original book (Dade, 1962 or Dade 2009). It is available from the International Bee Research Association:


We have retained the same numbering for these and the figures. The plates themselves are also available separately from the International Bee Research Association in enlarged and laminated form for use at the laboratory bench:


Those seeking further information about the functions of the structures shown here are suggested to consult two other books, those by Goodman (2003), and Stell (2012). Specific techniques of dissection for the diagnosis of nosema infection and tracheal mite infestation are given in the relevant BEEBOOK papers (Fries et al., 2013; Sammataro et al., 2013).