(ORDO NEWS) — Swarming bees produce so much electricity that they can affect local weather, a new study says.
The results obtained by the researchers by measuring the electric fields around apis mellifera bee hives show that the bees can produce as much atmospheric electricity as a thunderstorm.
Insects’ tiny bodies can build up a positive charge while feeding, either from air molecules rubbing against rapidly beating wings or landing on electrically charged surfaces.
It was previously believed that the influence of these tiny charges is manifested on a small scale. Now, a new study shows that insects can generate shocking amounts of electricity.
To test whether honey bees make significant changes in the electrical field of our atmosphere, the researchers placed an electrical field monitor and camera near the location of several honey bee colonies.
In the 3 minutes that the insects swarmed in the air, the researchers found that the potential gradient over the hives increased to 100 volts per meter.
In other cases, the effect has been as high as 1,000 volts per meter, making the charge density of a large swarm of bees about six times that of an electrified dust storm and eight times that of a thundercloud.
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