Asked by: Sam Elton, Preston

Bees and other Neoptera insects don’t flap their wings directly. Instead, the flight muscles pull on the springy thorax wall to make it ‘ping’ in and out. Bees also have muscles that can contract multiple times from a single nerve impulse. Together these adaptations allow bees to beat their wings at 200-230Hz (cycles per second). We hear this as a buzzing tone. Bees also buzz when not flying, to shake pollen from a flower onto their body.

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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.