The bees of my world have a thick coating of fluff. A portion of the fluff is made up of branched fibres, roughly resembling a spiny/prickly plant-shoot. Could these fibres, if they were the only ones produced, realistically be pressed together into felt? If so, what would the properties of this felt be?

The specific bee to be felted would be a social species, with the workers being 2cm long and having long thick fluff that grows in the spiny form over the entirety of the fluffy parts. The felters would have access to technology at around a medieval european level.

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    $\begingroup$ I get the feeling this would be a very labor intensive industry. Bee shearing doesn’t sound like an easy job. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Sep 24, 2021 at 10:43
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is better on the biology stack exchange. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Sep 24, 2021 at 10:47
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    $\begingroup$ Bees don't have fur. No insect has fur. If by bees you mean something other than bees, then say so. As it is now, the question does not give any hint that the so-called "bees" are actually tiny mammals. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 24, 2021 at 11:15
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    $\begingroup$ To re-cap the problems that still exist in the wording - Bees are "real world" insects. It appears from the comments - but not the text of the question - that you are asking about some made-up bee-analogue in your world. It would be clearer if you referred to it as simply a "creature" and only mention real-world animals where they assist with the description (eg "it is the shape of a bee"). The last sentence could also be improved to clarify how long each fibre is rather than basically saying "thick fluff grows over the fluffy parts". $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2021 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ Then lead with "A fictitious species of bee in my world has a thick coating of fluff." People shouldn't need to wade through comments for details. However, if these are bees that work with honey... I foresee some serious mobility issues. $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2021 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


Taking this straight from a site


Chitosan textile production

Traditionally, chitosan is mainly treated on a yarn’s or fabric’s surface [2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and is exposed to harm from abrasion and other movements. Chitosan peals when it wears, and the biofunctions are vulnerable to physical and chemical damage. Producing a pure fibre from chitosan is a reasonable means of improving stability and durability.

Chitosan fibres are derived mainly from wet spinning. Dissolution, deaeration and filtration of chitosan are performed before spinning [7]. The semi-finished fibres are then refined, dried and post-finished. Factors in dissolution, deaeration and drying are vital to control properties of chitosan fibre, including solvent, pH and concentration during dissolution, method and agent of drying, etc. A study [8] shows that methanol drying yielded chitosan fibre has superior mechanical properties to fibres dried using other methods and agent.

The three main methods are available for producing a fabric from fibres. A nonwoven method entails entangling fibres by using water or air jets. This process is similar to wool felting and requires no yarn spinning. The nonwoven method is fast and cheap, and it is suitable for producing cheap, disposable products. Woven and knit fabrics are more durable and are more suitable for daily use because they can be reused hundreds of times, withstanding frequent washing and abrasion

While not strictly insectile chitin, the thing that bee fuzz is made of, I think it is similar enough to apply due to the high amount of mentions of chitin-chitosan in the doc

  • $\begingroup$ Yes it would almost certainly be possible by some chemical process to generate some form of fibre using the outer layer of a bee as the starting point. Obviously it is entirely impractical, but it could be done. Similarly spider silk has been used to make a rug. Entirely impractical but it can be done. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Sep 24, 2021 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Slarty I doubt that "medieval-europe" could come with such a chemical process to generate fibers. The "chemical" part of it is not actually that hard (PDF warning), making fibers from it is though - as it requires mechanical precision/control attained well into industrial revolution age. $\endgroup$ Sep 30, 2021 at 15:19

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