I only need to inform you about this crucial bees fact: when bees are caught in the water, they use their wings as hydrofoils to surf back into the safety of the land.
While bees can swim, they can not fly with wet wings, and worse, they are not strong enough to free their wings from the water surface. This may sound like a death sentence if they accidentally fall into a pond or a puddle. But no fear. They found out.
Researchers Chris Roha and Morteza Gharib at Calt collected honey bees from a garden in Pasadena, California, put them in plastic tubes and gently tapped them against the tubes until the bees fell into one or two centimeters of water . Then the duo filmed the bees with high-speed cameras, observing the strength and frequency of their wings and how fast they moved. They also shone light over the bees to see the shadow patterns created by the waves .
The bees hit the water with slower, flatter wings and ate when they used to fly. The flutter generated asymmetric wave patterns that differed before and in front of the bee, and showed that the bees actually used their wings to throw waves that would propel them forward. The bees traveled at speeds of up to three bee lengths per second. You go, bee!
However, it is clear that water is not the preferred habitat of bees. "Compared to the movement of other insects on the water surface, neither the speed nor the efficiency achieved by hydrofoiling the honeybee is impressive," the authors write in the article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The wing technique, however, seems to be unique among the insects that can move in the water.
D The flutter sufficed for the bees at a local pond to push themselves out of the water. They traveled several meters to reach land to dry before they returned to the regular bee business .
There are limitations to this work ; they modeled only the most common features of the wing movement and did not include the wing movement . The model also did not consider gravity or surface tension in the water.
Why an engineer pair in a Erospace lab examined bees might be the inspiration for hybrid air-to-water vehicles, the authors write water propulsion without drastic changes in vehicle shape. The team modeled the bee wings in action, and perhaps their work could someday be used to actually create such a vehicle .