I was asked the question, “What do bees do when it rains?” The answer is I really don’t know. But I can make an educated guess.
Bees are like any other small insect when it rains. They are about the same size of hard raindrops. If a drop of water hit a bee with the force of hard rain, it would probably kill her or at least maim her. That would be disastrous for her. If a drop of rain hit a bee with the force of slow rain, it would probably at the most, knock her out of the air and onto the ground, or maybe into a puddle of water with the possibility of drowning. At the least it would get her wings wet to the point of not being able to fly. So I would think that the bees would elect to stay home and help with the central air and heating and other household chores.
Before I tell you any more, here is a link to show you the life cycle of the honeybee. Make sure you know what the bees do in the hive normally. First of all the normal functions are: queen bee (producing eggs for population), nurse bees (caring for the brood), housekeepers (keeps the place clean), cooks (those bees that take the nectar and pollen from the field force and processes and stores them in the wax cells), engineers and laborers (repairs old wax cells and builds new wax cells), climate control operators (heating and air conditioning and humidity control), undertakers (removing the dead adults and trash), and guards (protectors against marauders and robber-bees).
Then there is the field force (the worker bees that goes out into the great open spaces to collect pollen, nectar, and water) that is staying home today because of the foul weather. Its job would be to help out wherever there is a need. Extra bodies mean more heat and humidity. Some of the field bees would undoubtedly help in guarding and controlling the temperature and humidity.
There would be more bees dying at home, so some would help the undertakers in removing the bodies. There would be more mouths to feed, so some would be designated as cooks’ helpers and help feed everyone. As a side note, the cooks also have kitchen helpers who have to mix the nectar with water and enzymes and then they have to fan the mixture to evaporate the water until it turns into honey. I am sure that some of the extra bees would be put to work helping to cure the nectar so that they will have enough honey to feed the multitude of extra bees.
Probably, there would not be enough room in the hive for every bee to be in out of the rain, so some of the overflow would stay outside until they got a chill and then change places with some of the ones inside who by this time are hot and tired of doing something they graduated out of before they became foragers. Sort of like changing of the guards.
If you need more information, let me know and I will try to expand more. Remember, these are only my thoughts. There will nearly always be some beekeeper to say that I don’t know what I am talking about and then there will be another that says he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Read books, talk to beekeepers, extension agents, state bee inspectors, and attend meetings. That is where you will gain most of your information.