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Can insects predict the weather?

    
Can insects predict the weather? /istockphoto

Can insects predict the weather?

For centuries sailors and farmers have looked at behavioural patterns of insects to forecast the weather. It is said, if a spider leaves its web, it is going to rain. Or, that if bees fly close to the hive this foretells bad weather, whereas bees that fly far from the hive foretells good weather.

You won’t see a wasp or a bee in the rain as they don’t like to fly in the rain. Not surprising if you think how large a rain drop is in comparison to a wasp! Here are some interesting superstitions about insects and the weather.

    Fair Weather

    • Spiders weaving their webs during the middle of the day indicates continued good weather.
    • Fireflies in great numbers indicate fair weather.
    • When spiders’ webs in air do fly, the spell will soon be very dry.
    • When spider webs are wet with dew that soon dries, expect a fine day.
    • Frogs singing in the evening indicates fair weather the next day.
    • Ants scatter in fair weather, and travel in lines when stormy weather comes.
    • Ants close their holes before storms and open the holes when clear.

    Rain

    • If ants their walls do frequent build, rain will from the clouds be spilled.
    • Ants are busy just before rain.
    • Spiders in motion indicate rain.
    • Leeches kept in glass jars are active just before rain.
    • Ants building up their mounds indicates rain soon.
    • When cockroaches fly, expect rain.
    • Fireflies fly low before a rain.
    • The louder the frogs, the more the rain.
    • When spiders strengthen their webs, expect a storm.
    • Woodlice run in large numbers before a rain.

    Cold Weather

    • Spider webs floating at autumn sunset bring a night frost.
    • When hornets build their nests near the ground, expect a cold and early winter.
    • Fleas are many before rain and snow.

    If we have missed any pests please let us know!

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    2 Comments

    1. neil
      Posted June 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      I wish they could – I couldn’t play cricket because of the awful weather.

    2. Posted June 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      There is a precise mathematical relationship between air temperature and the rate at which tree crickets chirp! So that’s using a cricket as a thermometer, rather than a barometer – but still impressive!

      It’s called Dolbear’s Law; discovered by Amos Dolbear in 1897 and published in an article called “The Cricket as a Thermometer“.

      Dolbears Law

      Where TC is air temperature and N is the number of chirps per minute.

      Apparently, Dolbear’s Law is highly accurate for tree crickets but only roughly accurate for the common cricket – whose chirp frequency depends on many different factors.

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