Attached in the center of the honey bee’s head, in ball and socket joints, are its segmented antennae. The initial portion, called the scape, is followed by a hinge-like joint called the pedicel (which allow the antennae to bend at almost 90-degree angles) and terminates in the segmented flagellum. Male honey bees (drones) have a twelve segmented flagellum, while female’s flagellum have eleven segments.
The antennae are covered in exquisitely sensitive receptors that register information relating to touch, scent, humidity, temperature, and vibration. The pedicel is home to a collection of sensory cells, called Johnson’s organ, that register sound and vibration. Each antenna boasts 5,000-6,000 olfactory receptors resulting in a sense of smell estimated to be over 50 times greater than that of dogs. Enclosed within the straw-like tube of each antenna is a large nerve that feeds directly into the bee’s brain, allowing for swift transmission of sensory information.