New study: Bees and thunderstorms have electricity in common
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A new study shows swarming honeybees can produce as much electricity as a thunderstorm.
United Kingdom researchers made the discovery by chance.
The lead author said they were studying how different organisms use the static electric fields that are everywhere in the environment.
They were conducting the study at the University of Bristol’s field station, which features several honeybee hives.
The researchers noticed that whenever bees swarmed, there was a profound effect on atmospheric electric fields, even though the weather hadn’t changed.
They found that depending on the swarm density, the atmospheric charge could be similar to that of a storm cloud, thunderstorm, or electrified dust storm.
The lead author said individual bees carry a charge that’s small enough to be overlooked by researchers, so this effect in swarming bees came as a surprise.