I recently ran into a neighbor that told me they had been stung three times in the last couple of days by some bees on the property. We had just had some bad weather, which she attributed to the multiple stings. At first, I chuckled, thinking that could not be possible. However, the conversation piqued my interest, and after spending a little time on the world wide web, I realized bees might be good weather predictors. Bees are known to have an incredibly sensitive smell, so why wouldn’t their other senses be as strong? Many people, including researchers, claim that bees can predict bad weather and are more active before and after. Mind blown.
They May Not BEE Meteorologists
Bees will not take over the weather portion of the news anytime soon. However, if you witness increased bee activity, it may very well align with weather changes. Their senses likely pick up on upcoming changes in air pressure, which indicates shifts in the weather. Many beekeepers and researchers have observed bees being more active before and after a storm or bad weather. The activity after the storm is due to needing food and water, so they behave more frantically. Bees may exhibit bad BEE-havior on cloudy days, before and after rainstorms, and of course, hurricanes and tornadoes dramatically affect air pressure.
Battle Down the Hatches and Hives!
Hives can be heavy and weigh 60-90 pounds when full of bees, honey, and propolis. In preparation for a storm, bees fill gaps in the hive with propolis to make it less penetrable. Bees use the waxy substance regularly to fill holes and keep predators out but will add more to protect the hive during a storm. Due to the weight of an active hive, beekeepers should plan to secure the hive if a wind or strong storm is expected. In some cases, a brick on top may be sufficient. In areas with more severe storm threats, straps are more effective in keeping hives in place. Beekeepers that live in areas with strong wind and rainstorms should plan ahead to ensure they have what is necessary to keep those hives “battled down” and in place.
Bad BEE-havior Can Be Expected
Bees much prefer the lovely, warm sun and hotter temperatures. It makes sense that they act frustrated when the weather is anything but. Since bees can sense rain and storms, they will change their normal behavior to get ready. Sometimes swarms are more common because bees may become more aggressive. Beekeepers become very familiar with the personalities of their bees, and pre-storm behavior may alarm new beekeepers. However, do not worry – the changes pass, like the bad weather, and bees typically go back to their normal behavior. Once they are free to leave, they can gather the food and water their hive requires, making them happy bees again.
Bees do not fly in the rain but need water to survive. If they haven’t been able to leave the hive, they are probably grumpier and more irritable. Anything that agitates bees makes them more aggressive, which makes them more sensitive to threats. If bees feel threatened, they may sting more often. Think about being locked inside for days on end. Like people, bees get more agitated during a storm, which limits them from doing what they need to do. Although it may be tempting, do not tinker with the hives during cloudy, rainy, or stormy days.
The bees should calm down following the storm once they can get back outside and provide for the hive. If the rain lasts, it may be necessary to provide food for the bees in the hive. Please ask a professional, and do not attempt to do this on your own. Experienced beekeepers can help find the best solution for your experience level and details of the hive’s position and activity level.
So, do not worry if you observe some unusual activity and behavior just before or after a storm. If you have concerns about a hive on your property, contact a reputable and experienced beekeeper in your area. The dedicated men and women who enjoy this hobby are happy to help a neighbor and ensure the bees and people stay safe. Since bees are essential pollinators, we still need to treat them with care even if they are not behaving well. A vast world of resources is available, including bee enthusiasts and environmentalists with helpful information for dealing with a hive or bee concerns.
If you live in San Diego County and need help with a hive on your property, or have questions about bad BEE-havior, contact DTek Bee Removal. Offering years of experience and valuable insight into local bee colonies, DTek gives customers exceptional service every time.