A dip in the swimming pool might be fun for people, but often spells disaster for unlucky insects. Fortunately, honey bees have a pretty rad way of getting out of harm’s way: When they fall into the water, they create waves with their wings and “surf” to safety, Newsweek reports. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena discovered the phenomenon when they filmed bees in a pan of water. As the bees tried to get out, they moved their wings in a downward curving motion. This formed waves that gathered behind the bees, propelling them forward, the researchers report this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The wavemaking motion, called hydrofoiling, wears the bees out fast, though—they can only keep it up for about 10 minutes, the authors say.
Click here for free access to our latest coronavirus/COVID-19 research, commentary, and news.
Support nonprofit science journalism
Science’s extensive COVID-19 coverage is free to all readers. To support our nonprofit science journalism, please make a tax-deductible gift today.