Friday, 7 February 2014

Himalayan heights pose no problem for bees

Alpine bumblebees can hover at air pressures equivalent to 9,000-metre altitudes.

05 February 2014

Bumblebees have been observed foraging as high as 5,600 metres, but they can cope with the low air pressure at much higher elevations.

Alpine bumblebees can hover happily in pressure conditions equivalent to an altitude of 9,000 metres — higher than the peak of Mount Everest. They manage this mountainous feat by beating their wings in broader strokes, a laboratory study has found. Although there is no food to be harvested on Himalayan peaks, the bees' adaptable flight might help them to escape predators elsewhere, the authors suggest.

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