Swarms of bees can change the weather

Swarms of bees generate so much electricity that they can affect local weather, new research suggests.

The finding, which the researchers made by measuring the electric fields around honey bee (apis mellifera) hives, reveals that bees can generate as much atmospheric electricity as a thunderstorm.


This can play an important role and shape unpredictable weather patterns. Their impact may need to be included in future climate models.

Insects' tiny bodies can pick up a positive electrical charge while foraging – either from the friction of air molecules on their fast-moving wings (bees can flap their wings more than 230 times a second) or from landing on electrically charged surfaces. Imagine the effects of these tiny electrical charges on a larger scale.

A new research, which posted on October 24 in the journal Live Science, shows that insects can generate a very large amount of electricity.

To test whether bees produce significant changes in our atmosphere's electric field, the researchers placed an electric field monitor and camera near hives. Within 3 minutes of the insects moving around, the researchers found that the electrical potential above the hives increased to 100 volts per meter.

In other swarms, scientists have measured the phenomenon at up to 1.000 volts per meter, making the charge density of a large swarm of bees about six times that of electrical dust storms and eight times that of a storm cloud.

The scientists also found that denser insect swarms produced larger electric fields – an observation that allowed them to model other insect swarms such as grasshoppers and butterflies.

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Written by giorgos

George still wonders what he's doing here ...

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