We waited to post this until this morning because we didn’t want to step on the toes of National Teacher Appreciation Day.
Did you know that some bugs have been proven to predict the weather? Also, some are just legend or superstition. Read below to find out how they do it.
Bugs and Weather: Old Wives Tales or Science
When a person thinks of insects, probably one of the furthest thing from their mind is the weather man on the evening news or some scientist in a National Weather Service lab looking at computer models of the next storm front to move through.
But…here at Paramount Pest Solutions, insects are always on our mind no matter what the occasion.
Today is known as National Weather Observers Day. While it may not be a national holiday that requires parades and barbecues, it is a day to stop and pay attention to something that we have taken for granted: Modern weather science.
Back before fancy Doppler radar and big brother-style satellites, people would rely on radio reports of storm fronts moving in their direction. Even before that, people had to rely on the environment around them to figure out the weather.
Through oral tradition and superstition, people began to come up with phrases and sayings to help us remember how the activity of bees, ants, crickets and other insects can affect weather. Here are a few of the sayings/proverbs.
See how high the hornet’s nest, ‘twill tell how high the snow will rest.
If ant hills are high in July, the coming winter will be hard.
When cicadas are heard, dry weather will follow, and frost will come in six weeks.
If ants their walls do frequently build, rain will from the clouds be spilled.
When bees to distance wing their flight, days are warm and skies are bright; But when their flight ends near their home, stormy weather is sure to come.
The early arrival of crickets on the hearth means an early winter.
The more quickly crickets chirp, the warmer the temperature.
Many of these sayings have been debunked as rumor or “Old Wives Tales”, but some have been studied and found to be a bit more…accurate. Take in point, the cricket. Many scientist continue to believe that crickets can forecast the temperature with their chirps.
If you live pretty much anywhere in the continental United States, summer evenings are serenaded with an orchestra of nature’s winged fiddle players known as the cricket.
To the untrained ear, the cacophony of crickets could could be considered chaos, but there is hidden meaning to their rhythm. They are acting as the weatherman and reporting the temperature to you.
Here’s how to use the “cricket thermometer” method for your next summer evening on the porchswing.
Back in 1897, a scientist named Amos Dolbear published an article “The Cricket as a Thermometer” that explained the relationship between the ambient temperature and the speed and rhythm of a cricket’s chirp.
The insects’ muscles contract to produce chirping, based on chemical reactions. The warmer the temperature, the easier the cricket’s muscles activate, so the chirps increase. The cooler the temperature, the slower the reaction rate, and the less frequent the chirps.
Here is the simple math behind Dolbear’s law that can help you determine the temp by listening in.
To convert cricket chirps to degrees
Just count the number of chirps in 14 seconds, then add 40 to get the temperature.
The number you get will be an approximation of the outside temperature.
Example: 30 chirps + 40 = 70° F
To convert cricket chirps to degrees Celsius:
Count the number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by 3, then add 4 to get the temperature.
Example: 48 chirps /(divided by) 3 + 4 = 20° C
Use the method you prefer and then convert to degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit a temperature converter or you can just google it.