ClimateWatch

An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

Bees put to test over climate change

Over the coming months, in each eNews, we’ll feature websites from across the globe to help notify you of other sites full of useful climate watch information, including some seemingly bizarre ways in which scientists study the effects of climate change on our ecosystems.  



Bees are one of those wonder creatures that give us humans a lot. Not only do they provide us with honey to put on our morning toast, wax to turn into soothing candles and royal jelly to cure our ailments, they also pollinate many of our crops, and now, bee keepers are using bees to monitor the effects of climate change. By simple, yet careful, daily weighing of hives to track incremental changes in honey production, bee keepers have been able to reveal peak nectar flow occurs nearly 4 weeks earlier than in the 1970’s. That’s an incremental change to peak honey flow of about 0.5 days per year. The change of the nectar flow timing is likely due to climate changes and the warming effect of urbanisation on the timing of flow in the plants bees use to collect nectar. Now NASA and bee keepers in America are forming a network of bee hives across the country to help monitor the effects of climate change. For more information click on this link: http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/