• Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

The Strange Myth That Bees Should not Be In a position To Fly According To Physics


May 26, 2023

No matter whether from a pal or even from Bee Film, you might have heard of the thought that bees should not be in a position to fly according to the laws of physics.

“According to all recognized laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee ought to be in a position to fly. Its wings are as well compact to get its fat small 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 probably referencing a considerably older myth, possibly dating back to the 1930s. The story goes that, 1 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 fast calculations and concluded – primarily based on the weight and wing region – that bees ought to not be in a position 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. On the other hand, 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 “initial prompted by what is performed 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 ought to be in a position to fly according to the laws of physics since they do fly. Even though they might appear as well large for their wings to hold them afloat, this is not proof so compelling that we ought to 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 specifically figure out how bees flew, even even though they beat their wings 230 instances a second, but this was partly down to the assumption that their compact wings had been rigid.

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


As they flap their wings they build mini vortices in the air. These tiny vortices have reduce 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 though, but now we do. And no one is breaking any laws of physics.

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

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