June 5, 2023 5:31 pm

No matter whether from a pal or even from Bee Film, you may possibly have heard of the notion that bees should not be capable to fly according to the laws of physics.

“According to all identified laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should really be capable to fly. Its wings are also little to get its fat tiny physique off the ground,” the opening of Bee Film says. “The bee, of course, flies anyway. Simply because bees never care what humans consider is not possible.”

The writers of the film had been most likely referencing a substantially older myth, possibly dating back to the 1930s. The story goes that, a single evening, an aerodynamicist was speaking to a biologist, who took the chance to ask about the flight of bees. According to the tale, the aerodynamicist did some rapid calculations and concluded – primarily based on the weight and wing location – that bees should really not be capable to fly at all.

Some versions of the tale name physicist Ludwig Prandtl as the bee flight-denier, other individuals Swiss aeronautical engineer Jakob Ackeret. Even so, it really is probable that the story is a garbled retelling of a quote from French zoologist and aeronautical engineer Antoine Magnan, who, along with his mathematician assistant André Sainte-Laguë, wanted to appear at the flight of all insects.

“Tout d’abord poussé par ce qui se fait en aviation, j’ai appliqué aux insectes les lois de la résistance de l’air, et je suis arrivé avec M. Sainte-Laguë à cette conclusion que leur vol est not possible,” he wrote, which translates to “1st prompted by what is completed in aviation, I applied the laws of air resistance to insects, and I arrived, with Mr. Sainte-Laguë, at this conclusion that their flight is not possible.”

Regardless of exactly where the initial myth came from, is it accurate? Of course not. 

Very first of all, we know that bees should really be capable to fly according to the laws of physics mainly because they do fly. Although they may possibly appear also significant for their wings to hold them afloat, this is not proof so compelling that we should really ignore the reality that they can clearly fly, nor appear for proof of how they are cheating the laws of the universe in their endless quest to gather nectar. 

Any calculations that recommend that bees or insects cannot fly are incorrect calculations. For a time, scientists could not precisely figure out how bees flew, even although they beat their wings 230 instances a second, but this was partly down to the assumption that their little wings had been rigid.

“Understanding bee wings was important to figuring out how bees could fly. Their wings are not rigid, but twist and rotate through flight. Bee wings make brief, rapid sweeping motions front and back, front and back. This motion creates adequate lift to make it attainable for bees to fly,” Arizona State University’s Ask a Biologist series explains.


As they flap their wings they make mini vortices in the air. These tiny vortices have reduced stress than the air about them, assisting to get and hold the bees airborne.

In brief, we did not know how bees flew for a although, but now we do. And no one is breaking any laws of physics.

All “explainer” articles are confirmed by reality checkers to be appropriate at time of publishing. Text, photos, and hyperlinks may possibly be edited, removed, or added to at a later date to hold details present.  

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