Mission (not) Impossible: how Bees Fly views

“According to all known laws of aviation, there’s no way that a bee should be able to fly. Its wings […]

“According to all known laws of aviation, there’s no way that a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee is, of course, flies anyway. Because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible. “ (Bee Movie, 2007)

Around the beginning of the 20th century there was a myth that developed that bees (and insects in General) can be impossible to fly. The proportion of the size of the wings with the body of the bee became the reason why anyone thinks so. That opinion also supported by the results of the hitung-hitungan physicist at the time. Ludwig Prandtl, for example, which in the end makes a lot of people believe that the case of the flying bees is a phenomenon that violate the laws of physics. Now a century has passed. If this is indeed an anomaly?

In fact the way the flying bees have long been revealed. Even now there are artificial bee resembles a microrobot laboratory at Harvard University who is able to fly. The misunderstanding which occurred in this case may be due to the lack of technology at the time. Human beings know how birds fly away the previous day. The Bernoulli principle are able to explain the case of birds and airplanes with good, back in the case of the bees. If you see a reasonable form of bee wings are stiff and not at all airfoil, they conclude that it is impossible to do. They do not know that bees and birds have different ways of flying. A hundred years ago, the technology is still not semaju now. Although there has been a slow motion camera at that time, but ability is not yet as advanced as today.

Bernoulli’s principle in the phenomenon of flying bird 

Bernoulli’s law was able to explain the case of birds fly very well. One of the conclusions that can be drawn from this equation is the link between the pressure of the fluid with his speed.

Figure 1. The Bernoulli Equation

Bernoulli’s law shows that the faster the fluid velocity, pressure, and thus getting down. In contrast, the slower the speed of fluid flow, pressure, and going up. The concept of this was the secret behind the trick bird conquering the force of gravity. Bird wing airfoil shape, allowing the fluid in the upper part of the wings to flow faster than the bottom. So, the pressure at the bottom of the wing is larger than the top, making the birds got a lift from the air under it. This form is also used on the wings of an airplane.

Figure 2. Air flow on Airfoil Wing

In addition to the shape of the wing, another factor is the proportion of the size of the bird’s wings with a fairly wide. That’s why even though it has a similar wing shapes, chickens are not able to fly like a bird. The body of the cock is too big if compared to the width of its wings.

Bees Fly Using different Tricks

Then what’s the difference with bees? The principle is similar, but the practice is different.

The difference between the birds the bees is the way they move the wings. The birds flap their wings up and down, while the bees flap their wings to the front and to the rear. When a bee flap its wings to the front, they will rotate it 90 degrees almost first before pulling it back again.

Figure 3. Capture The Motion Of Insect Wings While Flying Through The Slow-Motion Camera

This movement produces a vortex (spinning air flow) at the top of a bee wing, making the air pressure in that part is lower than the air pressure around it, so that his body was lifted up. For more details can be seen in Figure 3D simulation below showing the vortex-Red-Wing movement arising out of bees.

Figure 4. Simulation Of Vortex Air As Bees Fly

Uniquely, the way flying is very efficient. When the bees are in the middle of a pretty toned wind, they don’t need more power to maintain the condition of the flight suit. A study conducted by r. Dudley and C.P. Ellington of the University of Cambridge showed that the energy they need to fly is not affected by the speed of the air around.


  • Zarkasy, Hasbulah. (May 27, 2014). This Is How Birds Fly. https://hazarkasy.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/beginilah-cara-burung-terbang/accessed on October 8, 2017.
  • Michael Schirber. (2016, January 15). Focus: Bumblebees In Turbulence. https://physics.aps.org/articles/v9/6
  • R. Dudley, C.P. Ellington. (1989). “Mechanics of Forward Flight in Bumblebees: Quasi-Steady Lift and Power Requirement”. J. Exp. Chem. 148, 53.


Tinggalkan Komentar

Alamat email Anda tidak akan dipublikasikan. Ruas yang wajib ditandai *