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According to a new study published in the Journal iScience, bees can electrify the air by as much as 1000 volts per meter, which is more than a thunderstorm. Researchers measured the electrical fields around honeybee hives and found that their impressive electricity could be creating unpredictable weather patterns.
When bees forage, their bodies pick up positive charge from the air against their wings or from landing on electrically charged surfaces. Although scientists previously believed that these were on a small scale, this new study shows that they can generate a huge amount of electricity.
“We only recently discovered that biology and static electric fields are intimately linked and that there are many unsuspected links that can exist over different spatial scales, ranging from microbes in the soil and plant-pollinator interactions to insect swarms and the global electric circuit,” the author Ellard Hunting, told Live Science.
Researchers placed an electric field monitor and a camera near the site of multiple honeybee colonies. They found that in the 3 minutes that the bees swarmed into the air, the potential gradient above the hives increased to 100 volts per meter. In other swarming events, scientists measured this as high as 1,000 volts per meter. This means that the swarm was around charged 6 times greater than electrified dust storms and eight times greater than a storm cloud.
Although researchers say that it is unlikely that insects are producing storms themselves, they can still have other effects on weather. Electrical fields in the air can ionize particles of dust and pollutants, which changes their movement.
“Interdisciplinarity is valuable here — electric charge can seem like it lives solely in physics, but it is important to know how aware the whole natural world is of electricity in the atmosphere,” Hunting told Live Science. “Thinking more broadly, linking biology and physics might help with many puzzling problems, such as why large dust particles are found so far from the Sahara.”
Cities all over the world, from California to Vietnam, are facing a climate crisis, and millions of people are protesting all over the world. Studies have shown that eating more plant-based can add over a decade to your lifespan, it can save the world’s forests, it benefits the environment, and it is significantly better for your health! Nations worldwide have urged people to eat more plant-based to curb climate change.
We highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 20,000 delicious recipes, it is the largest meatless, plant-based, vegan, and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
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- Bees Need You to Plant These 4 Flowers in Your Backyard Now!
Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
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