This time of the year I hear and see so many cool animals and plants in their splendor during the growing season. It often gets me thinking about how they cope with blazing sun, drying winds, drought, downpours and such. Certainly they have some behaviors that are fairly reliable indicators of upcoming weather in the short term.
Take for example crickets. If you count the number of cricket chirps in fourteen seconds then add forty, you have the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit! Since crickets are cold-blooded animals, their body temperature matches that of its surroundings. The higher the temperature the faster crickets saw their back legs on their bodies (or chirp). Some other insects react to temperature by the duration of their song, rather than the rate. For example the longer a katydids song, the higher the temperature. The following temperature corresponds to the following katydid phrasing.
78F Kay-tee-did it
Here’s a few other insect weather proverbs. Cockroaches are more active before a storm. Locusts sing while the air is hot and dry. Before a rain expect ants to be very busy, gnats to bite, crickets to be lively, spiders to leave their nest, and flies to gather in houses. When spider webs in the air do fly, the spell will soon be very dry. If garden spiders leave their webs, it indicates rain. If spiders are many and spinning their webs, the spell soon will become quite dry.
Flowers have a bunch of weather sayings associated with them. Here are some of them. When the temperature rises look for tulips to open their blossoms, while they close again when the temperature drops. The daisy will shut its eye before rain. If the marigold should open early in the morning and not close until late afternoon, we may expect settled weather. If the perfume of flowers is unusually strong, expect rain. Flowers smell their best before a rain. When ditches and ponds offend the nose, look for rain and stormy blows. The reason aromatic molecules tend to smell more before a rain is the fact that that the increased humidity allows water molecules to form a layer over the top of the aromatic molecules. This helps the aromatic molecules to stick better to the moist surfaces of your nose. As such you smell them better.
Well, be on the lookout for those plant and animal signs all around you as you go about your outdoor activities. It’s fun and interesting and once in awhile, it could just be useful in figuring out the weather!
This post was written by Tony Schumacher on June 11, 2012