A scientist in 1947 determined that your average worker honey bee beats its wings at the rate of 208 to 277 beats per second. That adds up to 12,480 to 16,820 beats per minute. Pretty fast, huh? Really, though, there’s so much variety in the insect world that, in a wing-flapping contest a fly would beat a bee. Some flies beat their wings up to 1000 times per second. Butterflies couldn’t qualify for the contest. They beat their wings only 5 to 20 times per second.
Here’s where all that speed gets them. A scientist in 1973 found when leaving the hive not carrying anything like pollen or nectar, bees flew 7.5 meters per second, and that they could fly up to 300 meters in less than a minute if they flew in a straight line and if there wasn’t any wind.