We know that the atmosphere is charged with electricity that can reveal itself, in spectacular fashion, by discharging lightning, generated by the friction of tiny ice particles within storm clouds. The columns of gas and dust emitted by volcanic eruptions also give rise to flashes and lightning. These are caused by static electricity produced by atmospheric or geological processes, while we still know little about discharges induced by biological activity. Yet even living organisms, such as bees or locusts, are capable of producing a large amount of static electricity. Research conducted by the University of Bristol and published in the journal Cell reveals that a swarm of honeybees (Apis mellifera) becomes charged with electricity either through the friction of air molecules against their wings, which beat up to 230 times per second, or when the insects land on charged surfaces. The researchers measured electric fields above the hives and found that a large swarm of bees can generate a lot of static electricity with a charge density comparable to that of a storm cloud.