Well, it is accomplished through contractions of the flight muscles (mostly). I would bet that it serves multiple purposes - but ventilation of the respiratory system and/or heat production must be two of the functions.
7 of the 10 spiracles (openings for air) are located in the abdomen of the honey bee, the other 3 in the thorax, these spiracles are connected to the air sacs via trachae tubes. the method of air movement requires contracting the exoskeleton and then relaxing to allow air to enter and exit. This is also why the bee continues to pulse their abdomen when drinking, they are breathing as well.
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