EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Every honeybee has a small electric charge, but what about a swarm of honeybees?

Researchers from the University of Bristol and the University of Reading have been focusing on this idea and their findings are creating a buzz.

12 News spoke with Dr. Ellard Hunting, an ecologist and biologist from the University of Bristol about his research.

“We essentially always looked at how physics influenced biology, but at some point, we realized that biology might be influencing physics,” Hunting explained.

Hunting has been working with a lab group in Bristol and said their focus is to see how atmospheric electricity is influenced by biology.

“I’m playing around with bees and flowers because they can sense electric fields or thunderstorms, and at our field site, we have a couple hives where we also measure the electric gradient,” Hunting said. “I just coincidentally went out to the equipment and that’s when I noticed this massive peak.”

That massive peak resembled a reading from a thunderstorm cloud, except there were no storms in the area at the time.

Hunting and his team concluded that it came from the swarm of bees, with returns of such magnitude that it could be comparable to a thunderstorm cloud.

“The charge density per cubic meter would be comparable to these kinds of events [thunderstorms], but its not going to generate thunder,” Hunting noted.

Hunting added that electrical fields in thunderstorms are more complicated due to different factors such as charge layers and the magnitude of the cloud itself.

Hunting said the focus going forward is to see how bees interact with other atmospheric processes.