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Why do Bees Buzz?

Biology | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Interactive

Is it their style of talking to each other or are they singing sweet songs in their own language?

Well, the buzzing of bees is produced because of different reasons. The buzzing sound generally comes when bees flap their wings in a super fast speed. Sometimes, the buzzing sound is also generated by a bee’s breathing—bees breathe in air through the tiny openings on their bodies which can produce a buzzing sound.

Buzzing Factors

The buzzing sound depends on the size of the insects’ wings and the speed with which they flap their wings. Insects having small wings can push very little air, so they have to beat them faster while flying. The insects having larger wings do not have to take the trouble of beating their wings rapidly; they can easily push a lot of air to move ahead while flying and have almost soundless flights.

Difference in Buzzing Sounds – Bees, Mosquitoes and Butterflies

A mosquito has small wings and usually beats them between 400-450 times per second, which creates that annoying buzzing sound whereas other insects like butterflies have bigger wings which move at the speed of just about 6 times per second. The sound that is produced by beating wings at this speed is extremely faint and you are not able to hear it at all. Bees have medium-sized wings and they flap them more than 200 times per second. That is why you can hear them buzzing loudly.

Some bees, especially bumblebees, are also sometimes found buzzing loudly while sitting over the flowers. Why do they do so? These bees vigorously vibrate their wing muscles and middle parts of their body while visiting the flowers to shake the pollen grains from the flowers. These pollen grains stick onto the bodies of the bees and when they visit other flowers, some pollens get deposited on them, resulting in pollination. The bees take back the remaining pollen grains home to feed their larvae.

3 Interesting Facts about Bees Buzz

  1. When bumblebees vibrate their bodies and wings to release pollens from flowers, the buzz is much louder.
  2. The larger the insect, the slower is the speed with which it beats its wings and the lower is the pitch of the resultant buzz.
  3. It is not just the bees that buzz; some other insects like wasps, flies, mosquitoes and beetles make buzzing sounds by flapping their wings rapidly.

Looking for more biology articles and videos? Go to: Biology for Kids.