The Effects of a Solar Eclipse on Honey Bees

      I wrote this post for our 2017 eclipse and thought with our approaching April 8th eclipse a repost would be appropriate.  
     With a solar eclipse scheduled for tomorrow morning (beginning at 9:10 am, reaching it's maximum at 10:21 and ending at 11:37am in Vancouver - 2017) and the obvious concern for eye safety I wondered how bees and other critters coped with this phenomena.  It appears that unlike stupid humans animals generally don't stare at the sun so don't suffer from the damaging effects of the sun on eyesight.

       As for honey bees, studies like the one above from HOBOS honey bee research in 2015 show that foraging bee activity is decreased during an eclipse as it would be at the normal setting of the sun.  "The reduction in flight activity commenced as soon as the brightness was lower than 400 watts/m2. Only as the re-emerging sun reached a brightness of 400 watts/m2 did the bees’ flight activities begin to increase once more. The bees also reduced their flying ventures in the evening when the brightness level falls below the 400 watts/m2 mark."  
     As most who use links to studies can attest, they are short lived so I've included a few recent links to  studies on the effects of a solar eclipse on honey bees.  "Foraging and homing behavior of honey bees (Apis mellifera) during a total solar eclipse" , "Disruption in honey bee (Apis mellifera) foraging flight
    I'm relieved I don't have to purchase protective eyeware for my bees.


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