Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Greystoke
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Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby Greystoke » 26 Jul 2018, 6:26am

I cycled home last night and caught up with a wasp flying right down the road I was on. I slowed down and followed it for a short while. According to my cycle speedo, it was flying at 14mph! I gave it a wide berth and went past.
I realize this is unscientific but I'm amazed they can fly that fast.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby Cunobelin » 26 Jul 2018, 6:43am

I believe the tradition for angry predators is that as long as you are faster than your companion, the speed go the predator is unimportant...

Just a random Google source 2.5 m/s or about 6 mph

Brucey
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby Brucey » 26 Jul 2018, 11:30am

A: possibly.... about as fast as a swallow can fly (*)

(*) although this may vary depending on whether it is an African or European swallow


(*) and whether it happens to be carrying a coconut, of course.
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Cunobelin
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby Cunobelin » 26 Jul 2018, 11:54am

Don't forget to account for the coconut weight...

Lodoicea maldivica can be up to 25 kg in weight and at the other extreme Jubaea chilensis weighs a few grams

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 26 Jul 2018, 12:47pm

Greystoke wrote:I cycled home last night and caught up with a wasp flying right down the road I was on. I slowed down and followed it for a short while. According to my cycle speedo, it was flying at 14mph! I gave it a wide berth and went past.
I realize this is unscientific but I'm amazed they can fly that fast.


And you are measuring ground speed, not air speed.

Was the wasp carrying a miniature coconut?
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fausto copy
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby fausto copy » 26 Jul 2018, 7:39pm

Not sure exactly, but they can certainly fly quicker than I can run :(
However, I've this evening discovered that they can survive underwater for just under 3 minutes. :shock: :shock:

iandriver
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby iandriver » 26 Jul 2018, 10:19pm

Greystoke wrote:I cycled home last night and caught up with a wasp flying right down the road I was on. I slowed down and followed it for a short while. According to my cycle speedo, it was flying at 14mph! I gave it a wide berth and went past.
I realize this is unscientific but I'm amazed they can fly that fast.

I suspect it's rather sensitive to wind direction. I do find myself motivated to average 15 now, assuming your speedo is accurate.
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MikeF
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby MikeF » 26 Jul 2018, 10:30pm

I'm not surprised they can fly at 15mph. I've noticed insects flying at that speed when I've been cycling. What the fastest insect is I wouldn't know, but I suspect there's a difference between a short burst and long distance. Remember insects fly across the English Channel 22 miles and more non stop, and, of course, Monarch butterflies fly vast distances.
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Brucey
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby Brucey » 26 Jul 2018, 11:28pm

practical evidence for wasp flying speed is that you can disturb a wasp's nest and (over a short distance) expect to outrun wasps that are keen to sting you. This makes their top speed unlikely to be over 20mph. However there is a complication to this; only the female wasps are able to sting and are keen to sting you. Male wasps are unlikely to be flying around when you disturb a wasp's nest and even if they are, they won't chase you.

So it is perhaps possible that you can see a male wasp flying under other circumstances. I don't know much about male wasps but if they are anything like male bees (drones) they have evolved to be much faster and more powerful fliers than their female counterparts; their chances of mating are greatly increased the faster they can fly. Drone bees are known to have a metabolic rate that is about twice as high as worker bees, when they are flying. Estimates for their flying airspeed would be around 25mph or so.

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Redvee
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby Redvee » 27 Jul 2018, 1:11am

From experience I can say that they can fly at 60 mph as there was one on the coach I came back from London on and it was flying around trying to get out. :)

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Mick F
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby Mick F » 27 Jul 2018, 8:46am

Driving at 50mph and a wasp is flying towards you at 15mph.
Wasp and car collide.

The wasp has to slow from +15mph to -50mph instantaneously.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Cunobelin
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby Cunobelin » 27 Jul 2018, 9:25am

Only the rider of a faired recumbent can know the satisfying "ping" as an insect bounces off the fairing

rmurphy195
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby rmurphy195 » 27 Jul 2018, 10:12am

If you pedal at 15mph in still air you should outrun it. Maybe .. On a straight road (They can cut corners)! (yours is road speed, theirs is air speed!)

http://www.kgbanswers.co.uk/how-fast-can-a-wasp-fly-top-speed/1996500
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jawaka
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby jawaka » 27 Jul 2018, 10:39am

I had the same thing with flies, about 14 mph too. Internet search gave a dragonfly at 30 mph.

Just found out arctic terns, small birds do arctic to antarctic and back within the same year. Incredible feat to our eyes

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Foghat
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Re: Does anyone know how fast a wasp can fly?

Postby Foghat » 27 Jul 2018, 2:05pm

Insect speeds are an interesting subject.

In my early youth, I used to own an inherited old (1930s/40s I think) book which, in all seriousness, included a list of various animal world maximum speeds, with at the top: Deer Botfly - 818 mph.

Even at a very young age I thought the claim was preposterous and must have been a misprint. But this wasn't a misprint at all, and there is an odd story behind how the error ended up being believed (or rather disseminated) by some publishers.

Wish I'd kept that book.....
Last edited by Foghat on 27 Jul 2018, 2:55pm, edited 1 time in total.