Honey bees are remarkable fliers. Although they cannot hover, they can fly up and down over a relatively short distance, land on a flower moving in the wind, or land precisely at a hive entrance, all with a load weighing a little more than half of their own weight.
Under normal circumstances individual worker bees fly at about 12 miles per hour; however, they may be able to fly at nearly twice that speed if required to do so. Bees in a migrating swarm appear to fly more slowly, about eight miles per hour. A wind of about 12 miles per hour will usually stop flight from a colony entrance.
While a bee is in flight, the hind and fore wings are coupled together with tiny hooks so that the two wings act as one.
Before a bee can fly it must be sufficiently warm that the flight muscles will function properly. For maintaining steady flight the bee’s thoracic temperature must be above 81 degrees but below 122 degrees F; a higher temperature would be lethal. It is estimated that at cooler temperatures the movement of the flight muscles forces the temperature to be about 59 degrees F above the prevailing temperature. Thus, a bee should be able to generate enough heat during flight to fly when the temperature is as low as 54 degrees F. Cooling the body can apparently be accomplished by regurgitating fluid from the honey stomach and holding a droplet between the folded tongue and the mandibles, as water evaporates from this droplet the head is cooled and the head then acts a a heat sink.