Hornet flight activity and its correlation with UVB radiation, temperature and relative humidity

Stanislav Volynchik, Marian Plotkin, David J. Bergman, Jacob S. Ishay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

During the active season, extending from June to October, hornets emerge from their nest in the field in all the daytime hours. In the beginning of the season, when the number of workers is relatively small, the number of exits from the nest is fairly uniform numerically throughout the day. However, with the increase in hornet population from July onwards, the number of workers emerging from the nest entrance around noon (1100-1300 h) is by 1-2 orders of magnitude greater than the number of those emerging in the morning or evening hours. This disparity persists till September or October, at which time the workers revert to behave as in the beginning of the season. It appears, therefore, that in this period hornet activities outside the nest are coordinated with the meteorological conditions, and in this regard, the highest correlation is with the ultra violet B (UVB) radiation level and to a lesser extent with the temperature. Presumably, also, the greater noon-hour activity in the nests of hornets in the field stems from the digging hornets benefiting from the greater availability of solar energy at noon, mainly that of UVB radiation. We assume that the hornets are able to utilize the UVB radiation, but what part of their body is "absorbing" the UVB energy is still a matter of further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-85
Number of pages5
JournalPhotochemistry and Photobiology
Volume84
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008

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