The Curious Bee

I took this photo a few days ago, and it reminded me of a story I’d heard years ago about the bee and how it is not aerodynamically engineered to fly.

I mean really.  Look at the fat body, and the disproportionately tiny wings.  It just looks impossible.  And yet it does.

As it turns out, the idea that a bee is not really engineered to fly is folklore.  A myth.  A rumor.  And it began at a dinner table–as a lot of untruths do–in 1930’s Germany as a conversation between a biologist and an aerodynamics expert.

The aerodynamics expert, when queried by the biologist as to the ability of a bee to fly with such disproportionately small wings promptly launched into mathematical equations about why the bee shouldn’t be able to fly.

In his theory, he proposed that a bee’s wings would not generate enough lift to fly likening them to a fixed wing aircraft.  But a bee’s wings do not create lift that way, but are more like a helicopter.  They vibrate their wings up to 200 beats per minute which  creates enough lift to not only fly, but hover and zig zag from flower to flower on their pollen collecting journey.

And thus, when we make observations in life, we don’t always see everything we need to to draw correct conclusions.  We are often mislead by what we see because we do not consider all the possibilities.  And like the bee’s wings, often what seems impossible can be solved by using a different approach if only we open our minds to all possibilities.

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26 Responses to The Curious Bee

  1. terry1954 says:

    this was very interesting, and i read the whole way through, even though i am petrified of bees

  2. magsx2 says:

    Hi,
    Very interesting about the wings of the bee. It must take an enormous amount of energy for such a tiny creature to generate such a movement, really astonishing.

  3. peters154 says:

    My wife has such a strong interest in bees, there’s so much to learn about them, and I think “from them” as well.

  4. Jim Cantwell says:

    airplanes and other flying machines were engineered from birds and bees we copy them, bees are cool 🙂

  5. Erica says:

    Not allergic to bees, but I’m definitely not a fan of them (is anyone?). That being said, I am grateful that the myth has been cleared up, even though the message behind the myth was inspirational — sort of. I’m sure there are other stories we can look to that involve overcoming great odds. (:

  6. Momma E. says:

    How did you get that shot? Just great!! ❤

    • Took a lot of shots, and fiddled with settings. I still want one mid-flight, but haven’t accomplished that yet. Gotta be the right conditions.

      • Momma E. says:

        I know what you mean! Sometimes you just get lucky though!!! How are you doing? Hugs! D.

      • Ok. I’m not completely back in my “zone” yet–my state of Zen if that’s what you want to call it. Hopefully a couple more days and I’ll have a grip. :-). I thought the finality of finally being able to sell stuff would help, but it turns out it’s just more letting go. Weird. Seems like every step surprises me. Someone should write a book…maybe I’ll write a book. I’ll call it, Death’s Dance.

  7. Rhonda says:

    Great photo and really interesting information. Amazing creatures bees. Love/Hate here too!

  8. deniz says:

    That’s a great analogy. I love bees. And we’ve got to protect them!

  9. Lynne Ayers says:

    Good analogy Arnel.

  10. Asifa Zunaidha says:

    Very well said.. the way you connect the rumours on bees’ ability to fly and our perspectives of life…

  11. robincoyle says:

    Hey – who are you calling fat and disproportionate? Watch out, he may sting you.

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