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What do bees do when it rains?

 
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EricHalfBee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 112
Location: UK, Somerset

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:31 pm    Post subject: What do bees do when it rains? Reply with quote

What do bees do when it rains? Do they stay at hive and build and feed?

What happens if they get caught in a heavy shower? Can they fly? Do they die? Just wondering how much rain a little bee can cope with? Surely a big raindrop is like a ton bag of water dropping on our heads?
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ecobee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Posts: 162
Location: UK, Wales, Montgomery

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a critical mass of water which means they can't fly...that's how mating nucs are made up. They recover because they can warm each other up. Away from the hive they could chill and die before they dry enough to get home.
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Gareth
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Joined: 29 Oct 2008
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Location: UK, England, Cotswolds

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:01 pm    Post subject: Re: What do bees do when it rains? Reply with quote

EricHalfBee wrote:
Surely a big raindrop is like a ton bag of water dropping on our heads?


I've often pondered that, to an insect, rain is a sort of quantum event; all or nothing. There you are flying between the rain drops thinking it's a bit humid and either nothing happens and you get home safely or sploosh, you're in the middle of a swimming pool of water. Either that, or surface tension means the water drop feels rather like a block of concrete.
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madasafish
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Joined: 29 Apr 2009
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Location: Stoke On Trent

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a bee is airborne and a water drop displaces air, it is likely that the first raindrop - aimed directly at a bee - will push her sideways -

Of course, this may be directly into the course of another one Smile
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ecobee
Foraging Bee


Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Posts: 162
Location: UK, Wales, Montgomery

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I went out to watch a few hives after this post. It was mid-afternoon, slight breeze, sun out...then a couple of moderately heavy summer showers (large drops). Watched four hives....three commercials and a HTBH. Absolutely nothing changed on any of them. All had young bees on orientation. All were bringing in pollen in up to four colours and nectar too. No difference in numbers or running for cover.

Thunder storms and constant grey drizzle are different. Having had a hive in pieces through a sudden heavy shower those who don't find cover in the hastily reassembled hive go first for the underarms, other creases and small of the back on the beesuit. In clumps. But not actually been stung from those occasional episodes. Yet.

So I'd guess they do hide up a bit if caught short (of the hive)...
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EricHalfBee
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Location: UK, Somerset

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonder if they know what the weather is going to do and not go out so far when a storm is coming. We've had really heavy showers for 20-30mins and then long gaps of sunny, blustery weather. Haven't seen many honeybees in the garden and they are not coming and going in such large numbers, but you can see a few coming back and the odd one going out. When I look in the hive it is fuller and the combs dark with bees, but quieter, guess they don't need to cool it so much when it is cooler. Doh!
They seem busy inside, so do they stay at home and do the housework, or watch telly and read a book?
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Rupert
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Joined: 22 Jul 2008
Posts: 629
Location: France, Tarn-et-Garonne, Realville,

PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure about watching the telly, butIi do know that it takes about six bees to read a book. One to do the reading and five to turn the pages.
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DavesBees
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Joined: 12 Mar 2009
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Location: USA, Maine, Bucksport

PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don’t try this at home! You may be able to catch this with binoculars. They run in the hive and get the tiniest bars of soap; well in order to get close enough to see the soap your face is too close. At that close range the bees take great offense to you trying to watch them bathing and they get mad and sting. So really there are only two things bees do when it is raining; bathing or stinging. Voyeurs beware!
They get the house clean and with nothing else to do they eat stores; pray for intermittent rain.
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EricHalfBee
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Joined: 28 Apr 2009
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Location: UK, Somerset

PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybee they change the waggle dance to a sun dance and waggle about until the sun shines??

Will check and look out for those little bars of soap. We have Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) in the garden but it's not in flower yet. Maybee they are sneaking in and using bits of leaves!

Thanks for the humour, its good to lift the spirits when it is raining.
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jaywoo
Scout Bee


Joined: 10 Dec 2008
Posts: 261
Location: Australia, N.E Victoria - Latitude 36 degs

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is my 1st summer and I'm amazed and at how long they stay out flying when it's raining. I though they'd be inside once it rains.
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
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Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rupert wrote:
I'm not sure about watching the telly, butIi do know that it takes about six bees to read a book. One to do the reading and five to turn the pages.


I'll be fitting all my hives with Kindles this season to save labour.
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