- Education and Science
WEATHER - Nature's Forecasters - Insects and Spiders
How Spiders and Insects can predict the Weather ...
Ants are the most reliable weather forecasters on earth. A change in the weather is inevitable if the ants behave in a manner which is out of the ordinary. They will be extra industrious and work frantically to clean out nests, construct and move into new nests, and gather in food, when heavy rains are on the way.
Ants building cones or crowns around their nests in the ground are excellent indications that rain is on the way.
When ants build nests on top of fence posts or old stumps, rain is imminent.
Nests can also be found in or around any object that the ant deems to be higher than ground level when rain is on the way. Pot plants and hard leafed plants make ideal hide-outs.
During dry times ants often come into houses (without necessarily relocating their nests) searching for food and moisture.
Some species of ants become hostile and aggressive prior to the breaking of a long drought, with some ant species attacking others.
Crickets chirping is quite a common sound heard at night during warmer months of the year. When they call/chirp throughout the night it is a sign that a change of weather is on the way.
FIRE FLIES (Glow Bugs)
Fire flies become more noticeable prior to rain. Male beetles fly around in spring and flash their lights as mating signals to the wingless female. As the larvae of the firefly live in damp, organic matter and feed on tiny slugs and snails, it is assumed that the anticipation of rain initiates the mating rush as this would coincide with the production of firefly larvae.
Common houseflies (which are usually very quick moving) become ‘sticky’ before the onset of wet weather. There are usually more flies around than normal prior to rain.
Flies tend to become sluggish and crawl on exposed body parts prior to hot, humid, wet weather coming. This is also noticeable before cyclonic weather.
Some species that do not generally bite humans, have been known to bite rather strongly before bad weather.
FLYING ANTS (Thunder Bugs)
Swarms of flying ants usually predicts wet weather. Millions of insects can be seen crawling up tree trunks, entering homes (attracted by the bright lights) and flying around in the late afternoon and early evening when ran is on the way.
Dragonflies, when seen hovering just above the ground, are a good indication that rain is coming.
Mole crickets will attempt to get inside houses a couple of days before rain, and most often before flooding rains.
In general, moths can appear in large numbers, circling night lights prior to rain.
SLATEY BEETLES (Slaters)
When slatey beetles are on the move in scrub country, it is an indication that rain is imminent.
Spiders react to weather changes in a number of ways. Baby spiders emerge from egg sacs, and older spiders shed their skins with changes in humidity and temperature.
There are four main groups of spiders - those that construct webs and leave them; those that rebuild them daily; those that are free-roving ground hunters; and trapdoor and funnel web spiders that burrow in the ground. Each of these different types of spiders react differently to changes in the weather.
Rain is indicated when spiders build their webs higher than usual, and when they over-spin their webs. Huntsman spiders are more noticeable high up on walls and ceilings inside houses and sheds. Some ‘daily rebuilder’ spiders construct smaller webs if wet weather is anticipated.
Spiderlings disperse only in certain light winds. They must be able to sense the movement of high and low pressure systems and gauge the wind intensities, and leave the egg sac when the right winds are anticipated.
Spider webs being over-spun can indicate a period of windy weather.
There are a number of species of insects known as stink beetles or stink bugs. Prior to rain there is a large increase in the numbers of stink beetles.
Many other insect species also tend to increase in numbers prior to the onset of rain. This may be due to the weather providing ideal conditions for food production such as fresh growth on plants etc.
WHITE ANTS (Termites)
Termites will take to the air when conditions are fine and favourable.
Swarms of flying ants can indicate several days of hot weather to come.
During very dry weather, activities such as nest building are put on hold as the termites conserve all available moisture for self-preservation. Once rains are on the way the termites will once again tend to building mounds and extending their nests.
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