How can bees fly if they’re too heavy?

The idea that bees shouldn’t be able to fly has been around since the Thirties when a scientist attempted to calculate the lift generated by a bee based on their wing size with relation to body mass. The calculations were based on aircraft lift which describes lift for a fixed wing design. Bees wings are moving in a complex arrangement so trying to quantify this with calculations based on aircraft proved to be a big mistake.

High speed photography has shown us that the bee’s ability to fly comes from the exotic way in which they flap their wings. The wings do not just go up and down, the root of the wing also moves the wing forwards and backwards so the tips of the wing moves in an oval-type way.

The incredible speed at which the wings perform this complicated movement creates air currents which are strong enough to allow for the bee to fly.