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axlefoley's avatar

How do Bee's fly. I remember hearing, they are not aerodynamic has anyone else heard this?

Asked by axlefoley (347points) March 23rd, 2008
9 responses
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eambos's avatar

Go on wikipedia and search. I’m nearly positive that bees defy the laws of flight. I would give you a link to the wikipedia page but I am on my iPod (no cut and paste feature)

axlefoley's avatar

I will take a peep. You found the words I was trying to find!

robmandu's avatar

Heh… funny excerpt from the bees page at Wikipedia:

In 2005 Michael Dickinson and his Caltech colleagues studied honey bee flight with the assistance of high-speed cinematography and a giant robotic mock-up of a bee wing, which “proves bees can fly, thank God”.

The rest of that section explains what Axle and Eambos have heard anecdotally:

In his 1934 French book Le vol des insectes, M. Magnan wrote that he and a Mr. Saint-Lague had applied the equations of air resistance to bumblebees and found that their flight was impossible, but that “One shouldn’t be surprised that the results of the calculations don’t square with reality”.

In 1996 Charlie Ellington at Cambridge University showed that vortices created by many insects’ wings and non-linear effects were a vital source of lift; vortices and non-linear phenomena are notoriously difficult areas of hydrodynamics, which has made for slow progress in theoretical understanding of insect flight.

eambos's avatar

Thats the article I was trying to link, but kept making typos with the iPod =p

robmandu's avatar

btw… @Axle, the “word” you were trying to “find” was “bees”. That’s all you gotta plug into Wikipedia.


axlefoley's avatar

Not another spelling error, practice makes perfect, or so they say?

gailcalled's avatar

@axle: my sister and her husband have several hives of honey bees and go to lectures and subscribe to the Bee magazines. When she returns from a short trip, I will ask her.

axlefoley's avatar

I thank you.

cwilbur's avatar

The original mistake was that the original calculations were done assuming that bees’ wings were rigid, like airplane wings, and if you make that assumption, it’s easy to show that bees can’t fly. But bees’ wings are not rigid – they’re flexible, and that makes a considerable difference in how much lift they can generate.

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