Science

Bees Make Flight Adjustments Depending on the Type of their Load

It’s no secret that Bumblebees are good at flying. If you need to do something to stay alive, chances are you’ll end up pretty good at it. However, we never really knew just how good they are at flying.

Scientists used wind tunnel to test how bees would react to differing nectar and pollen loads. RMIT University in Australia researchers took a look at how the bees reacted while taking note of what they did while trying to follow a moving fake flower.

Results showed that the bees waggle or have higher stability and less maneuverability when they carried pollen. When carrying nectar, the bees wiggle or are more agile but less stable. This can be explained by how the little creatures carry nectar and pollen.

Pollen is carried on their legs, acting as a kind of counterweight and enhancing stability. Nectar, on the other hand, is carried closer to their body, increasing maneuverability but reducing stability.

“We found that when bees carry a pollen load rather than a nectar load, they are more stable but less maneuverable in flight, supporting the concept of a tradeoff between stability and maneuverability-a notion that is frequently suggested but has rarely been tested, particularly in flying insects.”