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How do bees see?

How do bees see?

Have you ever got close enough to look a bee in the eye. Did you realise bees have 5 eyes. They have 2 large eyes and 3 black dots on the top of their head. These three dots are actually eyes. They are known as the ‘ocelli’. They are ideal for detecting what is around them; they pick up on light but not shapes. This is extremely beneficial in terms of spotting predators above them. 

The larger eyes are known as compound eyes, they pick up on patterns and allow bees to see flowers and other bees. If you look close enough, you can see all the small hairs that are located here. These are extremely sensitive to wind and can be used to navigate in windy conditions. 


Bees can see through sensing motions. They are very sensitive to movement, even if it occurs at 1/300th of a second. This means that they can see individual flowers, even when traveling at high speeds. They can actually even see flowers more clearly when they are traveling than stationary. They can see more depth and can see 3D when they are flying, this precision helps them to accurately judge distances. 


In terms of colours, bees have three photoreceptors in their eyes, which means their colour vision is based on the three colours those photoreceptors can read. These  colours are blues, greens, and ultraviolet light. Picking up UV light is very useful for bees as plants reflect large amounts of ultraviolet light. This attracts more bees to them as they stand out. It also allows bees to see patterns on plants that are not apparent for humans. 

It is thought that bees are most responsive to purple and blue colours hence why bees favourite flowers are Lavender and Forget Me Nots.  

Did you know, bees cannot see the colour red. 

Wouldn't it be cool to see how bees see for a day!!

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