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Technology Scientists discover bees stop buzzing during solar eclipses

12:05  11 october  2018
12:05  11 october  2018 Source:   cnet.com

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A total solar eclipse passed through 10 states, with the path of totality moving from the East Coast to the West over the course During that time something very weird happened—all of the bees stopped buzzing . Scientists discovered bee activity ceased during the total solar eclipse last year.

In an unprecedented study of a solar eclipse 's influence on bee behavior, researchers at the University of Missouri organized citizen scientists and elementary school classrooms to set up acoustic Citizen science project engages elementary-schoolers in monitoring bee activity amid 2017 eclipse .

a close up of a flower: Honey bee on Echinop Thistle© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Honey bee on Echinop Thistle


Bees do the most peculiar thing when the moon goes dark: nothing.

The insects will quit buzzing when a solar eclipse reaches complete darkness, according to a study by researchers at the University of Missouri.

The researchers found that a solar eclipse would trigger similar behaviour in bees to how they behave at dusk: flying slower and returning to their colonies at night. This sheds some light on how bees respond to environmental cues that they didn't expect.

The study involved nearly 400 participants including scientists, members of the public and elementary school teachers and students who helped set up 16 monitoring stations across Oregon, Idaho and Missouri that were part of the path of totality during the 2017 eclipse.

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A study conducted during the 2017 total solar eclipse in North America found that bees remained active during the partial- eclipse phases both before and after the period of totality, but they essentially ceased flying during totality. Their flights also tended to be longer in duration immediately before and

A study conducted during the 2017 total solar eclipse in North America found that bees remained “It was like someone turned out the lights and bees stopped flying,” says Galen, lead author of the new Increased buzz length suggests the bees started flying more slowly, they were taking longer flights, or

Small USB microphones protected by windscreens to minimise noise -- far away from foot and vehicle traffic -- were suspended on lanyards near bee-pollinated flowers at each station to record flight buzzes. Light and temperature data were also captured in some locations.

An analysis of the data collected showed that bees continued to be active in the phases before and after totality, but during totality, they completely stopped flying. Immediately before and after totality, bee flights tended to be longer in duration. The researchers thought this could be an indication the bees were returning to their nests or that they had reduced flight speed to lower collision risks.

Scientists have long been fascinated by animal behaviour during solar eclipses. In the study, the researchers also noted earlier observations made on the behavioural responses of seabirds, antelope and cattle.

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Buzzkills! Bees go silent during total solar eclipses because they think it is night time and stop flying Bees continued to fly during the partial phase of the eclipse before going silent Just one buzz was captured during totality before the bees began to fly again It confirms past anecdotal evidence of bees stopping flying during eclipses , behaviour that is

1999 total solar eclipseOregon State University. Helium is named after Helios, the Greek name for the Sun, because scientists discovered Astronomers at the time were especially interested in looking at solar prominences: clouds of superheated gas that rise from the Sun's surface in huge, blazing arcs.

"The eclipse gave us an opportunity to ask whether the novel environmental context -- mid-day, open skies -- would alter the bees' behavioral response to dim light and darkness. As we found, complete darkness elicits the same behavior in bees, regardless of timing or context. And that's new information about bee cognition," said Candace Galen, lead researcher on the study.

At the next total solar eclipse, which takes on April 8, 2024, Galen and her team hope to find out if bees return home when the "lights go out" at totality, she said. They are hence working to enhance their audio-analysis software to distinguish the flights that foraging bees make when they leave or return to their colonies.


Bees deal with darkness the same way humans do.
It just took an eclipse, some microphones, and a bunch of schoolchildren to prove it. 

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