There are those who, when the weather changes, feel pain in their bones and those who, before a thunderstorm, increase their productivity: like bees, which seem to notice imminent rain and intensify their foraging activities before it is too late.
Business hours. The intuition comes from Xu-Jiang He and colleagues from Jiangxi Agricultural University in Nanchang, China, who monitored 300 small foraging bees from three different hives with small electronic radiofrequency identification labels. For 34 days the tags have recorded, like a company's badges, the times of exit and entry of insects from the hive.
There is no time to lose. In the days before the arrival of rain, the bees spent more time outside their nest, returning home later and working longer, probably in response to signals such as changes in humidity, temperature and barometric pressure that precede the ugly time.
What does the smell that we feel before the rain depend on?
Possible interference. The discovery is in some ways surprising, because bees are provident insects, which set up stocks over the long term and do not need to rush to find food before a rainy day. According to some entomologists, other factors may have influenced the study, such as the concomitant flowering of certain flowers.
An increasingly crazy weather. But if confirmed, the study could provide new insights into the feeding behavior of bees - the most important pollinating insects - also in relation to climate change.