How Many Eyes Does a Bee Have? Do Bees See You As You See Them

Do bees see you as you see them? How many eyes do they have?

No, they don’t. They sense us, and they see us if we hold a bulb in our hands!

Bees have 5 eyes. 3 on top of their head and 2 on either side of their head.

Why do bees have 5 eyes?

The 3 eyes on top are placed in the shape of a triangle and are called simple eyes. The 2 eyes at the sides are called compound eyes. So, when you look at a bee, you see its simple eyes. What you don’t see is her detecting your movement from her compound eyes.

how many eyes do a honey bee have
Image source:flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/15068816101

Cool facts about the eyes of a bee

Since you are curious to know about a bee’s eyes, here are some cool facts for you to enjoy reading:

  • Bees look at the world differently. They can recognize ultraviolet light thanks to the photoreceptors they have, which can help them see blue-violet and blue-green colors. These photoreceptors stay within the 1000+ ommatidia or individual lenses inside their compound eyes. And these individual lenses have their own cells, cones, and lenses that help them observe the bees around them from multiple angles. Complex, right?
  • Bees really can’t see one of the most attractive colors, red. Red is black to them! Read more about this below.
  • The eyes of male bees are bigger than the eyes of female bees. This is because the male bees have to find their Queen bees quite a lot!
  • The colors that attract bees the most are blue and violet. If you want more bees in your garden, make it more colorful. And get more lavender and rosemary plants. On the flip side, if you want to get rid of them, you have to first get rid of these plants or hide them at another location.
  • Bees’ simple eyes that are at the top of their head cannot detect shapes, they can only detect light. So, if a predator approaches a bee, it can only detect the danger if it has a light or if it makes a sound or movement.
  • The compound eyes on the bees’ either side of the head are there to identify other bees, different patterns, and types of plants. So, when a swarm of bees is heading towards their business, if they happen to see another bigger swarm from their compound eyes, they are likely to change their way.
  • Do you know that the bees’ three eyes at the top have tiny hair upon them? But these hair don’t disturb their vision at all. In fact, they help the bees navigate well when the weather is windy. The hair detects the wind’s direction. Cool, isn’t it?

Want to see how these tiny hairs help them!

The nerve extensions that are attached to hair help them sense the approaching wind and transfers this information to their brain. The brain directs them in the correct direction.

why many eyes does a bee have
Cool facts about the eyes of a bee

The correct direction here means that they move towards the force of the wind, where they’d get their bodies swamped with pollen grains. It’s their best method of collecting pollen. Due to the wind, the pollens also move towards their eyes but the tiny hair prevents these pollens from getting inside the bees’ eyes. Check out bees’ eyes close-up in the image above.

  • Flowers look appealing to us, but they look even more vibrant and attractive to a bee’s eyes. That’s why they are always hovering around in your garden.

Flowers reflect a huge amount of ultraviolet light, which makes them look bright. So, if you have a habit of keeping flower pots inside your houses, and your windows are usually wide open, bees are bound to come inside and stay there for long.

  • Bees are nearsighted. But they can process the images that they see more quickly than humans do. Perhaps 15 times more!

Makes one wonder a lot more about these mind-blowing insect species, right?

Let’s learn a bit more about their photoreceptors to understand why bees can see particular colors but cannot see others.

Bees are trichromatic. Learn about their 3 photoreceptors

Bees have 3 main photoreceptors, based on which they recognize color combinations.

We humans recognize colors on 3 base colors that are blue, red, and green. Bees, on the other hand, base their colors on these:

  • Blue
  • Green
  • Ultraviolet Light
Bees have 5 eyes
Bees are trichromatic Image source: flickr.com/photos/rhruzek/5082191789

That’s the reason why bees can’t see the color red. They don’t have a photoreceptor for it. But they can sure see the wavelengths of red such as in the colors yellow and orange.

Can bees see at night?

Bees are not bats, but they can see during the night. Some of the species that often get active after the day ends are Apidae and Genus Apis. If the moonlight is good at night, these species of honeybees get to work.

Now you know why bees have 5 eyes!

Well, there are some other species like the Indian carpenter bee that can work their way out in very dim light. That’s because they have giant eyes.

How to get rid of bees by diverting them from your house?

What to do if you find bees sharing your living space? You won’t want to kill these fascinating insects, but also don’t want to share your house.

Well, here’s how you can use the above information about bees’ eyes to get rid of them from your house.

  • Create an illusion with smoke: Build up some smoke using an incense stick, cardboard, paper, or rotten wood near their habitat. Bees’ eyes can’t detect smoke in its real form; they’d see it as natural light. Perform this act during the nighttime. That’s because bees would most likely be in their hives during that time. And some of them would be right outside of their hive. And you’ll be able to see the desired effects.
  • Citronella Candles: Bees process light 15 times faster than humans. They may not be able to see the light in its right form, but their processing power is amazing. So, use this information by placing 3-4 citronella candles right below the beehive. Citronella is believed to be a popular repellent for mosquitoes. But the effect is similar on bees as well. The light of Citronella candle will attract the bees, but its smell will repel them. It would take several days for them to get thoroughly irritated by the smell and relocate for good. This process would work best if the beehive you are worried about is in a covered area. Outside, the candles might stop burning due to wind and rain.

It’s better to look for ways to get rid of bees using tricks and tactics instead of directly killing them through pest control. Stay tuned for more such tips and information about bees.