According to recent research, honeybee swarms can produce as much electrical charge as a rainstorm.
Researchers from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom unintentionally found this occurrence, which they describe in a study that was published in the journal iScience on Monday. The study’s primary author, a biologist named Ellard Hunting, told CNN that the Bristol team was investigating how various creatures make use of the static electric fields present throughout the environment. Hunting and his team noted that whenever the bees swarmed, there was “a tremendous effect on atmospheric electric fields,” even though the weather hadn’t altered, after setting up equipment to detect atmospheric electric fields at the university’s field station, which has numerous honeybee hives. Using a camera to record and electric field monitors to detect currents during the honeybee swarms, the researchers examined the hives on the field station. According to the study’s authors, swarms can happen when a hive becomes congested, with the queen bee fleeing with about 12,000 worker bees.