MU study: As people buzzed about solar eclipse, bees fell silent

5 days 1 hour 28 minutes ago Friday, October 12 2018 Oct 12, 2018 Friday, October 12, 2018 10:36:00 AM CDT October 12, 2018 in News
By: Shoshana Dubnow, KOMU 8 Reporter and David Estrada, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
loading

COLUMBIA – While millions of Americans watched the moon move directly in front of the sun in August 2017, bees across the country suddenly acted as if it was time for bed.

Researchers at the University of Missouri found bees stopped buzzing along the path of last year's solar eclipse during totality.

Bees are typically active during the day and inactive at night. Candace Galen, MU professor of biological sciences, said researchers found darkness is a cue of night for bees. 

"Getting dark in the middle of the day is not something that happens in a bee's normal life," she said. 

Researchers used microphones the size of a USB flash drive in 16 locations near bee-pollinated flowers and away from human-generated traffic.

One of those researchers was Zack Miller, a second-year graduate student at MU. He worked with Galen to process the audio collected from bees. 

"It’s a fun study and it’s something a lot of members of the public can get excited about.”

During the eclipse, MU researchers weren't doing their work alone. They were helped by hundreds of scientists, volunteers, and elementary school teachers and students.

Miller worked directly with students in eight Columbia schools. They helped monitor the microphones in flowers to listen for a change in bees' activity. After the eclipse, they also recorded the number of buzzes they heard for comparison.

"They sent it back to us and we found out that the kids were 90 percent accurate," Miller said.

Earlier studies found bees slow down in the evening and return to their colonies at night. The eclipse study found that, though the bees stopped buzzing during totality, they kept flying during the periods of reduced light resulting from the phases of a partial eclipse.

"It's a soundscape," Galen said. "What we have is a buzz that is longer. Either the bees were flying more slowly or making longer flights."

Chris Pires, the associate dean of research for MU's College of Arts and Science, said the research puts MU on the map.

“If people didn’t know where Missouri was, they might have Googled it and looked it up,” Pires said. “Now they know where Missouri is and that we are a world leader in basic science.”

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA (AP) — The University of Missouri had to toss out giving its Nobel Prize winning scientist a parking space... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, October 17 2018 Oct 17, 2018 Wednesday, October 17, 2018 10:24:00 AM CDT October 17, 2018 in Top Stories
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — No winning lottery ticket was sold for the latest Mega Millions drawing, meaning the estimated... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, October 17 2018 Oct 17, 2018 Wednesday, October 17, 2018 10:14:00 AM CDT October 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department is looking for a suspect after an armed robbery at a convenience store in... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, October 17 2018 Oct 17, 2018 Wednesday, October 17, 2018 9:32:00 AM CDT October 17, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA- A new mobile pantry location through The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri will open Wednesday afternoon providing... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, October 17 2018 Oct 17, 2018 Wednesday, October 17, 2018 6:27:00 AM CDT October 17, 2018 in Top Stories
LADDONIA—The Community R-6 School District is the second district to get new beef options added to its school menu. The... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, October 17 2018 Oct 17, 2018 Wednesday, October 17, 2018 6:13:00 AM CDT October 17, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department investigated a shots heard call on Tuesday evening. The incident happened at the... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:03:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Neighborhood Watch recently secured funding for next year. The Columbia City Council awarded them this money... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 8:17:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia woman will be collecting items to transport down to Florida in order to help the recovery... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 6:40:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA – Burrell Behavioral Health introduced a medicine-first approach to its facilities in Missouri’s central region to help clients with... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 6:40:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Despite a wide gap in their campaign finances, Sen. Claire McCaskill and Josh Hawley remain locked in a... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 6:20:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri vehicle owners will be getting new red, white and blue license plates to commemorate the... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 5:48:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A New York man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two counts of attempting to produce child pornography.... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 4:21:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Jerome Sally, a Hickman High School assistant principal, is suing Columbia Public Schools as a result of "systemic... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 3:23:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe made a stop in Columbia Tuesday to campaign for Proposition D, the gas tax... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 1:28:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Royal Inn manager said Tuesday the maintenance team was beginning renovations when the building's second-floor walkway came... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 1:25:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A federal judge sent the lawsuit over Kenneth Suttner's death back to circuit court on Friday after... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 1:01:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The problem of unsolicited robocalls has gotten so bad that... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 11:19:50 AM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Kansas woman connected to a deadly car crash in Boone County has been sentenced to five years... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:27:00 AM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
1pm 57°
2pm 58°
3pm 59°
4pm 58°