Bees take a break during a total solar eclipse: Here’s why
If you're planning on gazing at the sun during a total solar eclipse, you've hopefully prepared by gearing up with filtered telescopes, binoculars and start looking. But how do bees respond during a rare occurrence? A new study has found the answer.
Bees go silent during total solar eclipses because they think it is night time prompting them to stop flying.
So found a new study that monitored the acoustic activity of bees before, during and after solar eclipse. Researchers at the University of Missouri, along with a small army of elementary school children and other volunteers, collected audio recordings of honeybees, bumblebees and other types of bees as they visited flowers along the path of totality.
The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Annals of the Entomological Society of America, suggest bees stopped flying during the period of total solar eclipse.
"The bees were active and noisy right up to the last moments before totality, the part of a total solar eclipse when the moon blocks all direct sunlight and a night-like darkness settles over the land. As totality hit, the bees went totally silent in unison," the study found.
"But we had not expected that the change would be so abrupt, that bees would continue flying up until totality and only then stop, completely," Galen, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri and the lead author said in a statement. "It was like 'lights out' at summer camp."
"Bees are adapted to navigate under a range of light conditions, from bright open skies to dim forest understory," Galen said
16th-century observations to modern-day experiments have suggested that some animals react in noticeable ways to the sudden arrival of darkness.
A wide variety of animals from chimpanzees who gather to watch to orb-weaving spiders who tear down their webs have reacted differently during solar eclipse.. But bees haven't ever been a part of the conversation until now.