At any given time in the summer months, there are about three billion insects flying high up in the sky. The highest-flying insect found so far was, surprisingly, a termite. A Super-Constellation airplane carried an insect trap for a study of such high-flying bugs and captured a termite at 19,000 feet (5,800 meters) — that's about 3.6 miles (5.8 kilometers) — up in the sky.
More Flying High Facts:
- Insects manage to travel at such heights by hijacking strong wind currents to carry them along — and up. They have an internal sense to catch the wind currents just right.
- Moths and butterflies are commonly found soaring thousands of feet (several hundred meters) above the ground at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour (about 100 kilometers per hour) — as fast or faster than many migrating birds.
- Birds still have it over the insects, however. The highest-flying bird, a Ruppell's griffon, was detected at 37,900 feet (11,551 meters), or 7.2 miles (11.6 kilometers) above ground.