A couple of years ago, one of my microscope friends collected a batch of dead bees in a local bee farm and used a sodium hydroxide solution to make them ready for further preparation.
I was fortunate to receive one of those bees in a small vial with alcohol (actually 2, a spare one included) and recently had time to finalize preparation an mount some parts in Euparal.
For the ones that did not know: Euparal is a mounting medium and synthetic equivalent of canadabalsem, pleasant to work with. Of course this post is not covering every part of the bee from A to Z, e.g. the stinger is waived.The eyes would have been interesting; the very long hairs between each facet clearly visible but also creating a bit of a mess in the image.
Surprising was the tongue, long compared to its body length and covered with thousands of triangular hairs, shape dependent of the location on the tongue. Another unexpected detail was the striped muscle tissue connecting the wings with the body, this came out pretty well during observation with polarized light. Examination of leg and mouth parts with DIC is not according the manual (too thick) but provided interesting details, i.m.o. sometimes almost with the look of a still from a cartoon movie.. This project was a nice opportunity to use a full range of observation methods on my Leitz Ortholux-2, Bright- and darkfield, oblque illumination, polarization and DIC.
1 Aft leg detail DIC 25x
2 Jaw detail DIC 25x
3 Tongue detail Darkfield 16x
4 Wing muscles detail Polarization 16x
5 Front foot detail darkfield 16x
6 Ditto DIC 25x (stitched from 3 stacks)