Can Insects and Plants Predict Weather?

A lot of weather folk lore over the years has made claim that insects can predict the weather and that by observing the insects, we humans can make better decisions on how to dress, what crops to plant or whether to water the lawn or not. I have yet to read or see any evidence the confirms insects somehow have a better ability to forecast the weather than the local meteorologist on TV. Fact is, insects don’t predict weather. They simply react to its immediate changes.

Take for example a cricket. It has been studied and observed that the chirps of a cricket decrease in number the colder it gets and increase in number the warmer it gets. The equation being: number of chirps in 14 seconds + 40 = current temperature. Now, this doesn’t exactly predict the weather. It simply tells you what the temperature is at this particular point in time and if you took readings over a period of time one could make an observation that it’s either getting warmer or colder. But the crickets’ chirps won’t tell you what the temperature will be tomorrow, or 12 hours from now, or even 30 minutes from now. So I don’t really think the cricket is a predictor of the weather, instead it’s more like a temperature sensor.

I presume this is the case with most things in nature. That being insects, plants and animals react to the weather at present, but do react based on what they “think” the weather will be 6 hours from now. A change in humidity my cause a tree to curl its leaves or birds to fly lower, and a change in temperature may cause crickets to chirp less or make lightning bugs not flash as often. We humans may catch onto mother nature’s reactions to these changes and then make our own assumptions about what the weather will be like based on these observations. But the insects and plants don’t think. They react. Therefore, they can’t predict the weather.

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