BeekeepingStudy: Beekeeping Made Easier

Surprising Fact: Bees Can See In The Dark




Can bees see in the dark

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Also, we do not constitute pet medical advice. Please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.

We all know humans can’t see well in the dark. At night humans only can see shades of gray. What about bees? Can bees see in the dark? Yes, some bees can see in the dark. But most bees are unable to see at night.

If you have the same concern Can bees see at night or in the dark? This will be the absolutely right place for you. I will try my best to provide you exact answer with the source of research about the facts.




Bee vision(How Bee See?)

As we know humans can only see the reflection of light from an object. When light falls upon the object, it absorbs some portion and reflects the rest. Our eyes absorb the reflected portion and can see the colors.

Bees also see and detect any objects based on the absorbed color. Bees have the capability to detect light from 550 to 400 nm. That is they are capable of detecting ultraviolet rays which humans can’t.

Bees see anything based on the color combination of UVA light, blue, and green. For this bees are unable to see some specific colors like orange, red, etc.

Bees have compound eyes at the front of their head. They have a very strong vision of around 260-280 degrees.


Bees see the color of the compound and behave according to the color of the object. This is why bees get attracted to some colors and repelled to some other colors.

Their color choice is very important for pollination. By observing the color they can identify the nectar of flowers easily.

Their strong vision and color selection are the base of their travel. They can remember different patterns of colors. After collecting nectar they return to their hive by identifying those patterns.

Bees have thousands of color receptors in each eye. Their color receptors are well known as “facets”. These receptors mix different received colors and help the bees to detect an object.




Can Bees See In The Dark?

A research was published by Sajesh Vijayan and his team that found some bees can see in the dark. The research named “Dim-light colour vision in the facultatively nocturnal Asian giant honeybee, Apis dorsata” found that carpenter bees and Asian giant honey bees are capable of seeing various colors in the dark.

This research gives some exciting knowledge about bee behaviors. It is seen that Asian giant honey bees and carpenter bees are capable of detecting some patterns of color in the late afternoon.

Which plays the main role in the pollination of bees in the evening and night. European and other honey bees are not capable of seeing in the dark.




Can Bees See At Night?

Those 2 bees, Asian giant honey bees and carpenter bees can see flowers at night. This actually works for pollination by bees at night.

Can bees see at night


We know we only see the reflection of light. During night we can’t see anything other than shades of gray. Most of the bees also have the same problem.

Then how do Carpenter bees and Asian giant honey bees see at night? The answer is hidden within their eyes.

You know some animals like cats and dogs can see at night. Because they can emit light from their eyes. So, the light from their eyes falls on the object and their eyes detect the reflection and identify the object.

The same thing goes for such bees. Though their eyes are unable to emit such strong light like other animals. But still, they can produce some sort of light that is enough to detect a few colors from a close distance.

This is how carpenter bees see flowers and nectar at night. These 2 bees take advantage of this surprising capability to collect pollen at night.




Can Bees Fly At Night?

Only giant honey bees and carpenter bees can fly at night as they can see in dim light. No other type of bee has proven to be capable of seeing at night. So, they are unlikely to fly at night.

Sometimes you may see a bee swarm flying at night. This might be because of an emergency. If the colony is in danger they can’t but have to take the flight.

They will target any source of light close to their hive. Then their flight will take place toward the source of light. Otherwise, bees might not fly at night. They become inactive at night.

However, as Asian Honey bees and carpenter bees are able to detect colors at night, they can fly too at night. By identifying the color pattern they will get to know whether this is a flower or not.

By doing so they might travel from flower to flower to collect nectar. Carpenter bees are solitary. So, they don’t need any specific and fixed nest.

As a result, they can fly from flower to flower to collect nectar whenever they want. This is why sometimes you may see a bee in a flower at night. There is a high chance that this is a carpenter bee.




Final Thoughts

So, you know Asian Giant honey bees and carpenter bees can see in the dark at night. This capability helps them to pollinate at night. 

Bees are crucial for our ecosystem as they perform most of the pollination worldwide. Learning about their behavior is also very important for us. Helping this creature will be helpful in creating a better world.

So, it’s all of our role to save bees all over the world. Now you can check my other article on do beekeepers get stung or not.




Frequently Asked Questions


Are bees afraid of the dark?

As most bees can’t see at night they are afraid of the dark. But still, there are some bees like Asian giant honey bees and carpenter bees are not afraid of the dark. Because they can see through the dark.

Can bees see you at night?

Most bees can’t see at night. Those who can see are able to detect patterns and colors of flowers. So, you can say bees won’t be able to see you at night.

What do bees do at night?

Most of the bees are inactive at night. They are unlikely to go outside the hive. They will be hanged inside the hive and sleep at night.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest posts