The Wing Beat of Honey Bees

These fantastic photos of honey bees in action were sent to me this morning, and I wanted to pass them along.

The camera was set up with the shutter speed at 1/640 of a second with an f-stop of 13 and IS0 of 800. This bee is hovering, which means it is beating its wings 230 times every second.

Yes, every second. And they can fly up to 20 miles an hour. These are amazing little creatures -- not just athletically, but socially, too. Their caste system is as follows:

Queen Bee: There is only one per next, and she will live three to five years. Upon her death, the worker bees will create a new queen by feeding a larva royal jelly.

Worker Bees: These are all female, and they truly work themselves to death. Unless they sting first, which kills them.

Drone Bees: These are male bees, and kept on hand only to mate with the queen. They do not have stingers, and are kicked out of the hive every fall.

So yes, they can sting. But not forget that these beautiful babies are important!

See more on bees:
The Buzz on Urban Beekeeping
The EPA is Killing Bees

See the original post at the UC Bug Squad blog here.

About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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