Honeybee Swarms Can Produce as Much Electric Charge

Bee on leaf

 While Ellard Hunting and fellow researchers were out studying the weather at a field station in England, they noticed something unexpected on one of their instruments. Though there was no storm approaching, the scientists’ electric field monitors recorded a curious uptick in atmospheric electric charge.

Nearby, western honeybees that lived in on-site research hives were swarming as they attempted to find a new home. When the team took a closer look at their data, they discovered that the swarming honeybees had created an atmospheric electric charge—and that their charge was similar to that of a thunderstorm cloud. The researchers shared more details about their findings this week in the journal iScience.

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