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The bumblebee is a four-winged insect, a species of bee. Its wings swivel and flap, knocking into each other which produces a buzzing sound. Despite the small area of its wings, the swirling vortices produced when the wings collide provide additional lift.[1]

According to a persistent urban legend, the laws of physics supposedly say that "bumblebees can't fly." This stems from a rough calculation based on the assumption that their wings are smooth and fixed like that of an airplane.[2] Strobe photography of bumblebees in flight shows how the wings move.

Bumble bees, like their honeybee cousins, feed on pollen and nectar. A bumble bee will often identify where a food source is by flying in a figure-8 pattern around it.


  1. Geek News FAQ
  2. Flight of the Bumblebee - Ivars Peterson