Bees Drop to Floor When Lights Go Out

by Bee Site December 07, 2021

Bees Drop to Floor When Lights Go Out

It is easy to see these bees suddenly drop to the floor for no apparent reason except that the lights were turned off.

There is no known cause for the bees to suddenly head for the ground, although some people speculate that bees may have become afraid of bats that hunt at night.

We do not know if this is a freak occurrence or if this has happened in other places as well. 

As can be seen on the video, dozens of bees zoomed down to the ground once the lights went out.

This unusual video footage was captured by a biotechnology and biological science PhD student, Hamish Symington. He posted it on Twitter, where it has been watched more than 1 million times.

In the footage, the bees are first seen swarming around two light bulbs near the top of a transparent cage. When the light goes off, the flying bees dive to the ground.

In this 2:33-minute video by doobiedukesims you can see the bees drop to the floor when the lights go out:

 

 

Symington commented on his social media posting that he was surprised that instead of the bees gliding gracefully to land, they literally just stopped flying and plummeted to the ground. After all, he questioned, isn’t that more dangerous than to keep flying?

Thousands of people started sharing their thoughts in additional comments.

Several people suggested it might be an evolved fear of bats that caused the strange behavior. Flying bees would be much easier for bats to hunt and catch than moths, they pondered.

Symington responded that to test the predator theory, he would make a cardboard cutout eagle to try out.

Another person asked if that is why bees can be seen looking lethargic in the shade of large buildings on the ground.

The expert replied that those bees were probably just tired or accidentally flew into a windowpane.

Someone commented that the bees’ reaction didn’t seem odd. If they were out jogging and the sun disappeared in an instant or they lost their vision, they would behave in a similar manner.

Another observer said if bees don’t fly at night, and suddenly the light disappears, isn’t this just their normal behavior?

Bees are solar creatures, and they use the sun to navigate. It is possible that suddenly being without light causes them to shut down in a sense. We do not know if any studies have been done on this phenomenon.

 

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