Can bees fly in the rain? Well, adverse weather conditions can affect a bee’s ability to get out and forage for nectar and pollen. The short answer is yes, bees can fly in the rain – but it depends on how heavy the rain is.
Do Bees Fly When It’s Raining?
A light rain shower does not usually affect bees, but a heavy downpour will have these insects heading for cover or staying in their hives. Bees do not like flying in the rain because the drops can make their wings wet, which then slows them down. There is also the risk of damage to their wings if the raindrops are quite big.
Do Bees Know When a Storm is Coming?
Bees can sense when bad weather is approaching and usually become more defensive because they know that they need to protect their home and their food stores. When a storm is looming, the bees are likely to spend more time foraging in the days leading up to it, working longer hours to achieve this. It is postulated that they do this because they know they will be confined to their hive and unable to forage during the storm.
Can You Help Bees During a Storm?
As bees are aware that a storm is coming, they are likely to return to their hive and stay inside during the bad weather. They may also try to seal any cracks with propolis to keep the hive more secure. Nevertheless, there are things that you as a beekeeper can do to keep the bees safe inside their hive.
Some beekeepers will move their hives to a more sheltered location before a storm hits as high winds could topple a hive. A hive cover might also be worthwhile to prevent the roof from blowing off. This would be disastrous as it would mean rain in the hive that would result in damage and the loss of many bees. Straps around the hive and a weighted cover should keep your bees safe until the worst of the weather has passed.
What To Do If You Find a Bee in the Rain
If you find a wet bee, is there anything you could do to help it? If it looks as though the bee is struggling to move because it is wet, the best thing you could do is to gently move it to a sunny spot (if the sun is out, obviously) so that it can dry off and warm up.
You can also offer some sugar syrup, but it is best to leave it near to the bee rather than trying to force the insect to take the syrup. If the bee wants to eat, it will.
Are Bees More Active After Rain?
As you might imagine, honey bees do become more active after a rain shower and is generally because they are making up for lost time. Even though they had been busy in the days leading up to a storm, the bees will be eager to get back out foraging as soon as the adverse weather has passed.
Bees can fly in light rain showers but in heavy downpours they will usually stay in their hive or find shelter elsewhere. Bees seem to know when a storm is coming and will become more defensive because of this. They typically work for longer hours in the days preceding a storm, foraging for more nectar to feed the hive during the days where they are stuck inside.