Watch a Bee Take Off in Ultra Slow-Motion

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This video starts slowly (hah), but in the middle you start seeing the wings move -- it's truly incredible. Watch how the bee's wings pivot and ultimately allow the bee to lift off. Also note pollen sticking to the rear legs as the bee leaves the flower.

If you like that, here's another.

Apparently the issues of how bees fly has been an issue of some debate for years. I had no idea. But here's an article about a study using slow-motion video (6,000 fps -- the video above is shot at 5,000 fps) and other tests to figure it out. The short answer: bees flap their wings 230 times per second, which is really quite fast -- hummingbirds apparently flap something like 50-80 times per second, depending on species and size. See also: this question and answer session from a PBS documentary about bee flight.

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September 9, 2010 - 3:46pm
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