Why do bees buzz? © Getty Images

Why do bees buzz?

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.

Asked by: Sam Elton, Preston

Advertisement

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.


Advertisement

Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.