Wings of Angels

As we searched the world over, for the best honeybee image to put onto our Beekeeper’s Hat, we were inspired to do some Fun Fact research on the size and function of the honeybee’s wings.

Have you ever wondered why you hear bees buzzing? Buzzing is the sound of a bee’s beating wings. Bees have two wings on each side of their body, which are held together with comb-like teeth. These teeth allow the two wings to act as one large surface and help the bee create greater lift when flying.

Scientists used to think that a bee’s wings were rigid, making bees kind of like little planes that moved hard wings up and down. But bee wings are fairly small for their body size, so even at 230 beats per second, rigid wings wouldn’t be able to let bees fly. For many years, scientists couldn’t understand how it was possible that bees could fly. But then, using high-quality video that could show the bee wing beats in slow motion, they finally figured it out.

Bees are capable of flying at speeds up to 15 mph and carrying nectar loads that approach their own body weight. In addition to these feats of strength, they are also capable of delicate maneuvering and hovering while they approach flowers. These amazing aerial abilities are of course made possible by their wings.

The Worker Bee’s wings go the length of it’s body, and are about 15mm (0.59 inch) long.  The Queen Bee’s wings are similar in length to the workers, and do not reach the entire length of their body.  Conversely, the Drone Bee’s wings are about 80% longer at 27mm (1.06 inch)

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