Can Bees Fly In The Rain – An Analysis of Bee Flight Limitations

Group of bees on a flower

​The honeybee plays a significant role in human existence. Today, it is regarded as one of the most important animals via its pollination activities which have availed us of varieties of food we consume. Statistically, about 80% of all crops, as well as, wild plants get pollinated by honeybees.  Honeybees are one the most organized set of animals. This article will detail the world or bees and the importance of beekeeping and answer the question, can bees fly in the rain?

Honeybees And Weather


bee swarm

They possess a sensory ability to detect changes in weather conditions on a sunny day and rainy day. Variables that are associated with weather changes such as; temperature, humidity, and pressure are detected before they are likely to occur.

There is a popular rhyme that reads: “bee will swarm before a storm. If bees fly away, there will be the day, when many bees enter the hive and none leave it, rain is near”.

This is an obvious fact and one unique thing about bees. So, can a bee fly on a rainy day? The answer is yes. However they do not find it is necessary to as the rainy day comes nigh, from their journey to a distant land they begin to retrace their way back to their hive and engage in house hive activities( for female workers). Furthermore, on a rainy day, the survival of bee under the rain depends on the nature of the raindrops.

Honey bees can fly in a drizzle as their wings can still carry them. For heavy raindrops, it damped their movement and can break their wing in the process. So why there is no gain in trying when the consequence is obvious, so, they make they do what is needed and stay wait for the rainy.

Unlike during a cloudy weather, the sun is a tool that is used for navigation, therefore, on a sunny day, the bees spend more time outside their hive, flying to distant lands in search for nectar and in pollinating the plant. To add, on the sunny day they are also actively involved in food gathering before the rain comes. It has been found out that bees put in more effort work more and harder on the eve of rainfall.

The Anatomy Of The Bee


​So still curious on the question, can bees fly in the rain? It's a yes and no, and to further understand we look at the anatomy of bees:

The Antenna

The antenna is for touch and smell. Within the hive, bee interacts with one another through touch and sourcing for food. The antenna as also used by the female worker during construction to take the measurement size of comb cell

​The Head

​The head houses the brain that functions as navigation and for communication by waggling and pheromone interpretation. It also houses the gland responsible for protein secretion called the hypopharyngeal gland

​The Thorax

​The located behind the head and it holds the wings. They help for bee flight and the unique sound that it makes with its wing.

​The Abdomen

​The abdomen can carry up to 75mg for nectar transporting it to the hive. The abdomen is for the production of honey.

​The Simple And Compound Eye

​The compound eyes are to see objects in multiple directions. With compound eyes, it can see UV rays that are beyond human sight. The simple eyes are used for navigation

​Mandibles And Stingers

​The mandibles and stingers are the defensive weapons to protect the hive.
The other part of the bee include the wings for flight and legs to stand

bee hive

​The Bee Hive

Honey bees are social animals, they live in colonies with about five thousand (5000) bees in it, and they interact effectively.  They also have a hierarchy with specific role or function that will be highlighted.

Every bee colony is made up of three (3) adult castes or class: the queen, the male drones, and the infertile female workers. To understand answer the question, can bees fly in the rain in more depth there's a need to understand this classification.

​The Queen


bee queen

The queen is the “number one citizen” of a colony. Her primary function is to lay eggs. She is the only fertile female bee in the midst of thousands of bee workers in a colony. The queen mates with the male drone as much as 15 of them to lays about two thousand five hundred (2,500) eggs per day. Of all the eggs laid a queen is birthed and a new colony is established as only one queen can stay in a colony.

The queen can only leave the colony once in her lifetime.  When the queen dies, or she has become less active in her reproduction, the queen cells are given out by the worker to raise a new queen.

​The Male Drones


The male drones function is basically to mate with the queen.  Every male drone has about 100 female drones assigned to him. The unfortunate thing about the male drones has a likely chance of dying after mating with the queen or are forced out of hive before the rain comes.

Out there, they do not have the ability to feed themselves or go for food hunting. The Male drones do not have a stinger for defense, and therefore it is advised that beekeepers always try to make honey available for the male drones to keep them active in an event like this.

​The Female Workers


​The female worker is a workaholic. She is involved in all business within (except laying of eggs) and outside the colony. Their functions are subdivided into two:

  • ​In the house
  • ​They are in charge of bees’ fee and nurse growing larva
  • ​They attend to the queen and provide her feed regularly
  • ​They clean cells in the hive,
  • ​They evacuate dead bees from the hive
  • ​They construct new honeycomb using the beeswax secreted by bees
  • ​They facilitate the ripening of the nectar
  • ​They repair damaged areas in the hive.
  • ​During Forage

They collect nectar in honey sacks and pollen in pollen basket and transport them back to the hive
They collect water for keeps in the hive to cool the temperature of the hive and dilute honey for larvae. Only about 1 percent of the female bee population is involved in this
They guard their hive and keep it safe from dangers

Life Cycle And Lifespan Of Bee


​It is important for beekeepers to have an understanding of the entire life cycle of honey bees. Every honey bee under four developmental cycle namely the stage, the larval stage, the pupa stage, and the adult stage

​The Egg Stage

The existence of a honeybee begins when the queen lays an egg in neatly prepared cells that are created by the female worker. The size of the cell is designed for the nature of the eggs will the queen want to lay (release). For a worker-sized scale, she releases a female worker bee and or a male drone for in a drone-sized cell.

For beekeepers, it is necessary to have a skilled knowledge of how to identify an egg.  The size of an egg is 1.7mm in length. The ability to identify an egg is a means to know that the queen is still alive.

​The Larva Stage

The eggs metaphors into the larval stage on the third after the queen have laid the eggs.  And within five days they grow about 1570 times their initial size. At this size, worker covers them up in their cells with a porous cover made of tan beeswax.

Larvae are mostly voracious when it comes to feeding. They consume a total of about 1,300 meals per day. They are initially fed with royal jelly and later graduate to honey and pollen after weaned. But if a female larva I fed with royal jelly beyond the third day, her fate her been determined- she is a queen

The growth of larvae is rapid, and they change their skin 5 times. Larvae look snow-white in appearance.

​The Pupa Stage

​While inside their sealed cell they metamorphose to pupa. At Pupa stage, they gradually begin to grow legs, wings, coloration of their eyes and body begin to develop hairs.

​The Adult Stage

​This final stage is attained 12 days later as they make their way out of their capping.
For the lifespan of bee, the queen has a lifespan of not more than 5 years; the male drone dies after mating with the queen. If they survive, they are chased out of the hive. The lifespan of works ranges from 5weeks to 7 weeks depending on the season (winter or summer) of the year.

​Conclusion


beekeeping

Beekeeping is a practice of managing a hive and breeding bees for their honey. There is basic information a beekeeper is except to be acquainted with the have a successful hive. You should understand when nectars flow occurs, the crop they have nectar (their fertility and timing) and their location. This essential for beekeepers to take maximum advantage of the nectar flow, pollinate the crops for farmers and note the timing when food in the hive becomes scarce.

Have an understanding of the biology of bees such as the life-cycle, the lifespan, and their caste and their functions. This knowledge will help you to understand their environment and to maximize the productivity of the honey bee. It will also help you in the effective management of the hive.

So in closing, the question can bees fly in the rain? Is answered clearly bees can fly in the rain when it's not a downpour. And just like any other flying creature, they try to seek shelter during the rain. Therefore, it is good to understand the techniques needed in managing a colony involves making sure that the hive is in a healthy state and the making sure that the strength of the colony is well utilized. Again, you should know the climatic condition where your hive is located as climate largely affective the productivity of bee. Can bees fly in the rain? Yes, they fly for safety not fun during the rain.

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