How do Honey Bees Fly

by Eli

I wanna know how a honey bee flies.


That’s a good question, Eli, because – as you may have heard – it’s been said that it’s theoretically impossible for bees to fly. We all know, of course, that bees certainly can fly. But until recently, scientists haven’t quite been able to explain how they do it.

A few years ago, though, some experiments yielded the answer that had left scientists scratching their heads for many years.

The scientists learned that honey bees flap their wings at an astoundingly rapid frequency – about 230 cycles per second. That means that honey bees flap their wings nearly 14,000 times for every minute that they are airborne!

The scientists also discovered that honey bees beat their wings at about the same frequency regardless of the load they are carrying. Instead of beating their wings more times per second to help them carry a heavy load of pollen or nectar, they instead make longer strokes with each beat of their wings. Which means that the bee has to work harder, of course, when she’s carrying a heavy load.

The scientists are hopeful that what they’ve learned about how honey bees fly will someday be used to help build new types of aircraft.

So now both the theory and reality of honey bee flight are in synch!

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