Different people keep different hives- langs with single, double or triple deeps, some number of mediums, some combinations of deeps and mediums, or other styles and sizes. All will have varying numbers of bees. The question cannot be answered in this manner.
Further, different bees can have different sizes. First, you have to establish what sort of bee you want to use, then measure the average carrying capacity of that bee. Then you have to establish what sort of person you want to lift- people come in a wide variety of size and weight. When you know how much weight you need to lift, it's just a matter of doing the math to determine how many (of what type) bees it will take to lift that mass...well, except for the fact that you would need to determine the method of attachment of the bees to the person, calculate the weight of the attachment method and how many additional bees (and their attachments) are required to overcome the differential.
Attaching with steel cable probably won't work, because the bees will never be able to overcome the weight of the attachments...maybe spider silk?
I've seen bees grab another dead one and fly off the bottom board so I guess they can carry their own weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds it would take 50 bee packages to carry you. I use bee packages because we all know about how many bees are in them.
Bees cannot reliably lift more than 50% of their bodyweight, and weigh 0.5g, do the math, the conclusion is nearly 1 million bees for a person who weighs 220 pounds. 50 packages could lift a 50kg adult, in theory.
They would have to be individually tethered using a "bee parachute".
-Yeah - sea level is definitely required, and temperatures would have to be at the flight muscle optimum, which is likely very warm, so that would negate any air density in cooler weather.
I could be wrong about this - would love for someone else to crunch the number and propose an alternative to my above post.
My bees are out right now and it's 55F, so I will say the test can be performed in the early AM before it gets too hot. In hot humid air the air density would be quite thin and more difficult to fly in.
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