FEB 07, 2016 9:36 AM PST

Do Bees Spend More Time Out of the Hive When Rain is Near?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Honeybees are an important part of the Earth’s fragile ecosystem. They help pollinate plants, which helps plants grow and spread, but they also produce one of mankind’s most desirable natural sweet things – honey.
 
A new study published in the journal Insect Science by researcher Xu-Jiang and his fellow colleagues from Jiangxi Agricultural University in Nanchang, China suggests that honeybees will work harder to get their jobs done before a rainy day than they will on a perfectly sunny day.
 

Honeybees work harder just before it's going to rain, according to a new study.


The research, which involved attaching RF trackers to three-hundred individual honeybees to track their movements and behavior, suggests bees are very good at detecting atmospheric changes, such as that of temperature, pressure, and humidity that often come along just before changes in weather are likely to occur.
 
Just before a rainy day, honeybees were found to spend more time flying around outside the hive, looking for nectar and pollinating plants, but on days following rainfall, when it would be perfectly sunny outside, bees were a bit lazier and stayed around at the hive longer.
 
On sunnier days, honeybees would spend less time outside the hive foraging, and would return to the hive at earlier hours than they would on days just before it would rain.
 
This behavior also suggests honeybees are very much preparers, and know when to take advantage of flowers and food-gathering before being disturbed by rain. They also use the time they have as it rains to use the resources they collect just before the rainfall.
 
By collecting food before rainy days, honeybees help ensure their survival even when a long period of bad weather may be afoot.
 
Source: Insect Science via New Scientist

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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