Thermodynamics/Bee-hemoth heat?



Let's say a japanese honey bee was the size of a human (let's use 5'5"). At that size, how much heat would the insect produce? Also, how come normal japanese honey bees don't hurt themselves while vibrating their wings to cook wasps/other predators?

Thanks in advance!
Ultraviolet B. K.

Hi UV,

Well, there are some things that do not scale-up in science. For example normal rules of flight would prove that a bumble-bee cannot fly. However at the bumble-bee scale normal flight rules do not apply, and drag and viscosity allow the humble bumble-bee to fly. Oh Goody!

A human being in a normal home/office environment emits about 50W (50 j/sec). So a bee (5' 5'') with the same metabolic rate would do the same. However honey/nectar eating insects and birds (and possibly electric eels) have a much higher metabolic rate, possibly as much as X4 (except for electric eels). So maybe a 5 foot 5 inch bee would emit 200W (200 j/sec) ( but watch out for that 2 foot 1 inch sting!!).

Each species of animal/insect/bacteria/virus/jelly-fish has a temperature at which it becomes ineffective and/or dies. The japanese bee just has a higher heat tolerance than some of its enemies. (Luckey Bee). So by raising the temperature above normal by vigerous exercise it overcomes its enemies. Clever B!

I hope this helps.
Best wishes.


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Thermodynamics, chemistry, chemical reactions, kinetics, chemical reaction safety, dust explosion technology, static electricity. General science.


Over 40 years experience as a practicing thermochemist in industry. Head of the fire and explosion laboratory of a major European chemical company (Ciba-Geigy). Now retired.

Institute of Chemical Engineers. Royal Society of Chemistry.

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