Welcome to You Ask Andy

Penny Gallins, age 10, of Newport News, Virginia, for her question:

How do bees buzz?

The busy buzzing sound is created by the bee's wings, vibrating in the air. Actually the vibrations are wingbeats, moving so fast that all you see is a fuzzy blur. As a honeybee shops among the flowers, she beats her tiny wings 400 times every second. This creates whirling little air currents that buzz with a soft hum. Sometimes the whirling blades of an electric fan also make a humming sound as they create currents in the air.

The buzzing bee has two tiny, gauzy wings on each shoulder. Their two inside edges lock together with little hooks on the back wings and little grooves on the front wings. Together they beat as one wing, in harmony with a matching two in one wing on the other shoulder. As the bee flies, her wings whiz around in figure eights. She can fly forward, backward or pause and hover in front of a flower.

 

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