During flight, insect wings bend and twist under the influence of aerodynamic and inertial forces. We tested whether wing resonance of honeybees (Apis mellifera) matches the wingbeat frequency, against the 'stiff element' hypothesis that the wing's first longitudinal mode exceeds the wingbeat frequency. Six bees were immobilized with their right wing pair outspread, and stimulated with a shaker while the normal modes were recorded with a Scanning Doppler Laser Vibrometer. The lowest normal mode of the wings was the first longitudinal bending mode, and at 602±145 Hz, greater than the wingbeat frequency of 234 Hz±13.9 Hz. Higher order normal modes of the wing tended to incorporate nodal lines in the chordwise direction of the trailing edge, suggesting that their mode shape did not strongly resemble wing deformation during flapping flight. These results support the stiff element hypothesis for Apis mellifera.
- Received December 12, 2016.
- Accepted May 11, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd