A Honeybee Swamp Cooler

Some people think that humans invented the swamp cooler.  Actually, honeybees did!

The principal of a swamp cooler is to create cool air by fanning a wet surface area, and then to distribute the cool air throughout a house or building via the same fan.

Honey bees follow this exact principal in cooling their beehives.  When honeybees collect water for cooling, they carry it to their beehives in their bodies.  They then regurgitate the water.   They usually smear the water on the underside of the beehive lid. Then worker bees fan furiously, creating cool, humid air that circulates throughout the beehive.  Apparently, honeybees figured out, just as humans did, that cool air drops, because cooling activities almost always take place at the top of the hive.  When you open a lid on a hot day, you will typically find smeared water on the undersurface of the lid, indicating that the bees have been working hard on their “swamp cooler.”

Some people who live in humid climates may not be that familiar with swamp coolers.  That is because these types of cooling systems create considerable humidity as a byproduct of their cooling methods, making them undesirable during times of high humidity.  Fortunately, honey bees, being insects, have no problem with extra humidity.  Bees are bugs after all, and love “bug weather.”