Did you ever wonder why you rarely see bees flying after dark? The reason is that most bumble bees and honey bees cannot see. They maneuver their way around by using the polarized light created by the sun's rays.

However, some bees do possess night vision. These species are called crepuscular bees, meaning they are able to see some light. A crepuscular bee can fly about during dusk, nighttime, and early morning hours to avoid the sun's heat.

Bumble bees and honey bees are considered diurnal, the opposite of nocturnal. Diurnal bees can only fly during the daytime. All primary activities, such as collecting pollen, flying, building outside the beehive, and swarming, are completed during daylight hours.

Bee home before dark. Why honey and bumble bees can't fly at night?

Why honey and bumble bees can't fly at night, They must be home before dark. Honey and bumble bees only fly during the day. Even though these bees cannot technically see, they can use the sun's rays (polarized light) to guide them.

If these bees are required to do any nighttime movements, it must be done via crawling. A bee's schedule is much like ours because they sleep up to eight hours a night.

Honey bee vs Bumble bee

Bee Experiment Explodes On

When the lights are turned off, bees will cease flying; this is a theory referred to as "prey response." The bees will drop from the air, falling to the ground beneath in their attempt to hide from predators.

In fact, bees can't technically see at all! Instead, bees use the sun's polarized light rays to guide themselves. Bees have two large, compound eyes on each side of its head. These eyes enable them to make out the colors and shapes of their environment. On the head are three 'ocelli,' or simple eyes, which aid orientation and navigation.

Honey bees and bumble bees only fly during the day. An associate professor of entomology at the University of California Riverside declares bees use the sun's rays to guide them. The same associate professor from California Riverside confirms bees have compound eyes. There is one on either side of the head made up of thousands of tiny lenses.

What Species of Bees Fly at Night?

The Indian Carpenter Bee is one species that is able to tolerate various levels of darkness. In fact, this species requires a certain amount of moonlight, allowing it to fly during twilight and even in complete darkness.

Another of these completely nocturnal bees is the Lasioglossum Texana or Sweat Bee. These bees are able to fly at night when there is adequate moonlight, during the half moons and full moons.

There's one other type that can fly at night, and it goes by the moniker of Halictidae. These bees are foragers and have evolved to enable flight during the night time sans any light.

How Do Bees See in the Dark?

Bees are able to see in the dark because of their compound eyes on the bee's head with thousands of small lenses. The three simple eyes over these compound eyes and small lenses are for detecting light and motion.

When the lights go out, it's an on/off choice for them. Bees falling, no graceful trying to glide to land or anything like that. They literally just stop flying and plummet. Surely that's more dangerous than keeping flying?

How do bees see in the dark

Nocturnal And Crepuscular Bees

Most bees, like bumble and honey bees, can't fly at night. Instead, other insects that are nocturnal can pollinate flowers, but bees are diurnal which means that bees only fly during the day. Light intensity limits foraging activity in both crepuscular and nocturnal bees. Night-time foraging offers less competition from other insects.

Do honey bees fly at night?

The short answer is it depends on the species. Some bees, especially tropical species, do fly at night because they feed on night-blooming flowers. Honeybees and bumblebees, however, cannot fly at night because they use the rays of the sun to remain orientated.

The Eyes of Nocturnal Bees vs Daytime Bees?

In night-flying bees, the limited amount of light available has resulted in the evolution of proportionately larger compound eyes for detecting light. Their eyes are a collection of several individual islands. In addition, three ocelli are significantly larger in comparison to body size.

The compound eyes or individual islands are also a little larger in nocturnal bees than other bees. However, the relative difference in comparison with diurnal species is less pronounced. Apis mellifera - the Western honey bees active during the day. However, a couple of honey bee species are known to be capable of foraging activity of flying out during moonlight.

It's thought that the abundance of flowers containing nectar and pollen reserves probably drove bees to forage at dusk.

Why Do Bees Sting and How Can You Protect Yourself?

Both honey and bumble bees sting for two primary reasons, in defense of and against predators. Rarely bee stings occur when they are foraging away from their hive unless agitated or stepped on.

If you do suffer from a bee sting, ask a person to keep an eye on you in case you suffer an allergic reaction. Use some soap and water to rinse out the sting. Use a clean fingernail to gently scrape the skin over the bit to remove the stinger. Following up with a piece of clean gauze to wipe it clean.

Not all bees sting, but those that do, do so because they are confused, have been stepped on, or feel threatened.

Bee Sting

What Bee Species are Nocturnal?

Some bees have night vision, While others are crepuscular, which means they can see with little light.

Nocturnal Bee types include:

  • Megalopta atra (Halictidae, Augochlorini)
  • Indian Carpenter Bee

A study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology (2007) found that very dim light affected the average time required for the Megalopta to land.

When do bees sleep?

The foragers, tired from their long day seeking nectar and pollen, tend to sleep for longer spells, whereas the younger bees sleep for shorter periods.

Who Protects the Queen?

She is larger than the others and is the only female reproducing, usually laying about 1,500 eggs daily. The other honeybees and active females in the hive or nest are worker bees. Young workers stay in the hive to care for the queen and her larvae.

A bee home is also called the hive, where young bees are active for much of the night, ensuring housekeeping duties.

Bee hive

How to Get Rid of Honey Bees

Everyone knows the primary job of most bees and other pollinators is to retrieve pollen and collect nectar from flowers that produce nectar. Beekeepers will gladly remove honeybees from your property to their farm for honey production.

If honeybees are infesting your yard and you are not a beekeeper, call A.N.T. Pest Control, the best New Lenox pest control company,  at 815-215-7211 to get rid of them.

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