Do bees really hum as they fly? If yes then why?

Bee is the generic name for a large family of insects, with over 16,000 known species. These species include the western honey bee, known for producing natural honey and beeswax. Despite their tiny appearance, studies show that they are the most important insects in the animal kingdom, due to their capabilities to pollinate, produce honey, and create beeswax.

Wasps, on the other hand, are often mistaken over bees. Wasps belong to an entirely different family, which is closely related to bees and ants, which explains the resemblance.

Furthermore, there is another misconception about bees, which confuses some people – do bees hum? If they do, then why?

These little creatures have many exciting features, which we will discuss one of them further in this article. How does a bee fly? What explains the humming sounds made by bees? What other interesting facts do bees have?

Why is there a humming sound when bees fly?

To answer this question, we need to look further and examine the way a bee fly. The humming sound is partially correct since there is an actual sound when the bees fly. However, this sound is more of a buzzing sound rather than a humming sound. Also, contrary to some beliefs, the buzzing sound comes from the rapid beats of its wings and not from the bee itself – bees don’t hum. These fast beats make it difficult for us to sort out the individual sound; instead, what we hear is the vibration created by the rapid movement, which is what we call the buzzing sound. Based on various studies, different species of bees have different beats when flying.

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The honey bee’s wings move for about four hundred times a second, which could average on 26,000 times a minute. In comparison to birds, its wings do not flap fast enough to create a humming sound, unlike those of bees.

Another interesting fact about this is although we stated that the buzzing sound came from the rapid wing movement, a more detailed explanation is that it came from the muscles it used when flying. Meaning to say, even when a bee is not flying, it can use the same muscles to create the buzzing sound.

In this case, the bee’s body could be vibrating faster than when it’s flying. This vibrating movement is familiar to bees, especially to bumblebees, since it is how they pollinate flowers. The rapid vibration is vital to extract the pollen inside some flowers.

More interesting facts about bees

Besides the bee’s impressive wing abilities, there more facts about bees that are you could find interesting, here are some:

  • Unlike humans, male bees don’t work. Producing honey, pollinating flowers, and creating beeswax are all done by female bees. Male bees, however, merely exist to reproduce – and this is by mating with female bees, which will result in the male bee losing its reproductive organ and dies.
  • The female bee can fly up to 15 miles per hour while carrying nectar, which would be faster if their not. They could also carry an amount of nectar similar to their body weight.
  • A western honey bee can live for 122 – 155 days, and can only produce in an average a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. With this said, a hive of bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to produce a pound of honey.
  • Unlike wasps, bees are not aggressive, and they are not likely to sting humans. Because if they sting you, they’ll die.

Bee inspired products

Because of the fascinating and adorable characteristics of bees, it inspired the creation of various items, books, and movies. Here are some of the products inspired by bees.

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