Friday, January 13, 2006

Reseachers Solve Riddle of How Bees Fly

Official: Bees Can Fly
Iain Thomson, (Netherlands), 1/12/06

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have finally solved the riddle of how honey bees manage to fly.

French etymologist August Magnan wrote in the introduction of his book Le Vol Des Insects published in 1934 that it was aerodynamically impossible for a honey bee to fly.

The incident passed into urban legend and is commonly used by creationists to point out the deficiencies of science in explaining the natural world.

The researchers used robotic simulators with sensors built in to mimic the movement of a bee's wings in flight.

They also filmed bees flying in a mix of helium and oxygen that is less dense than air in order to make the insects work harder and thus amplify their actions.

The team found that bees flap their wings much faster than similarly sized insects and use short, choppy wing strokes to generate the required power.

When loaded down with pollen, bees increase the arc of their wing strokes rather than speeding up the number of beats. . .

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