Tomenta Gauge
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Overhair Length and Tomentum Width

Useful data that can help to identify the racial type of honey bee can be gained by measuring the width and length of patches of overhairs that occur on the abdominal tergites of bees.

Tergite Numbering The abdominal tergites...
are numbered as shown in the diagram at right.

The tomenta are considered as narrow (less than 50% of tergite), Medium at about 50% and broad if more than 50%.

The 4th tergite... is the segment that we use to judge the tomentum width.

The large size of these drawings may seem a little childish, but it helps to stress the differences.

These would be considered narrow tomenta.

  Narrow Tomenta

These would be considered medium tomenta.

  Medium Tomenta

These would be considered broad tomenta.

  Broad Tomenta

The overhair length... Is judged on the 5th tergite and is measured with respect to a 0.40 mm wire "feeler gauge". (For specially adapted measuring eyepiece see Morphometry Tools.)

Overhair Length

Short Overhair... Is anything up to 0.35 mm. Medium Overhair... Is that which falls in the range of 0.35 mm - 0.40 mm. Long Overhair... Is anything longer than 0.40 mm.

Apis mellifera mellifera has narrow tomenta and long overhair. This compares with Italian strains that have broad bands of very short hair.


 Written... Date Unknown, Upgraded... 04 May 2006,
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