How bees stay cool on hot summer days

How bees stay cool on hot summer days

If you’ve ever walked past a bee’s nest on a hot summer day, you’ve probably been too focused avoiding getting stung, rather than stopping to wonder how all those bees stay cool. Don’t worry, Harvard scientists have braved the stingers to ask and answer that question for you.

Honey bees live in large, congested nest cavities, often in tree hollows with narrow openings. When it gets hot inside the nest, a group of bees crawl to the entrance and use their wings as fans to draw hot air out and allow cooler air to move in. The question is, how do bees self-organize into these living ventilating units?

Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology(OEB) have developed a framework that explains how bees use environmental signals to collectively cluster and continuously ventilate the hive.

 

 

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