bee ocelli eyes

Can Bees See at Night?

Can Bees See at Night? Do Bees Sleep at Night?

Bees are not like other creatures. They don’t have an ordinary schedule. But as a human, one might always wonder, can bees see at night or do they even sleep? To answer this question, one still needs to know about different types of bees and their life habits. Because the ability of bees to see and sleep at night depends on what family they belong to and their ability to fly at night. For this purpose, one should first study some of the major types of bees and a few of their abilities. 

Fly at Night

Flying at night is like walking in a dark room where you can’t even see experience your presence. It is a trait that is not possessed by all bees. There are only some specific types of bees that are capable of doing so. These bees fly out at night, food search, and much more. Bees with such abilities often belong to the tropical species. But flying at night is not as easy as it might seem. It comes with many challenges, and unless the bees are blessed with the trait, they can’t do it.

Why do Bees Fly at Night?

But why at night when a bee is already capable of getting things done in daylight? Some specific types of bees become more active at night times. They gather pollen and nectar from the flowers that only open at night. These types of flowers offer more pollen and nectar than other flowers that open in daylight. That’s why some bees forage at night when there is less competition for food.

Moreover, foraging at night brings less competition to the table. As not all bees are blessed with night eyes, bees with such capability can easily search for their target and get things done without being disturbed by many bees and even butterflies, etc. 

Bees with the Night Eyes

The types of bees that are capable of flying at night do not have ordinary eyes. Unlike other bees, the ones with the ability to see at night have two compound eyes and three ocelli.

bee eyes ocelli

The three ocelli reflect the light that enables them to see even if the light is extremely dim. Unlike day bees, the ocelli in the eyes of night bees have a larger size. They occupy a larger portion of their bodies.

Does Night Mean No Light at All?

If you wonder if the night bees don’t require any type of light to see, even not the moonlight, you are wrong. Even the bees with large ocelli and the capability of seeing at night require some small amount of light. Like the moonlight will work great for them. 

However, only a few species of bees like Indian Carpenter Bees do not require moonlight to fly at night. Other than these few really special types, all bees require at least a moonlight to fly at night and search for their prey. 

Nocturnal VS Crepuscular 

The bees capable of seeing at night are divided into two categories based on their ability to see at dusk ad dawn time and night. These are crepuscular and nocturnal. Nocturnal is the type of bees that stay active at night; they search for their target and do all the da activities at night time. While bees belonging to the crepuscular category are active at twilight, i.e., at the dawn and dusk time. Therefore, bees capable of seeing in the dark are not the same as those with the ability to see at night, and there’s a minor difference between both. But does it mean these types of bees don’t sleep at night?

Do Bees Sleep at Night?

People have so many questions about bees, about their lives, and more. One of such questions relates to their sleep schedule. Even it is something to ponder about. Do bees sleep at night? The answer is yes, they do. Like all other animals, insects, and even humans, bees also need time to relax, and they do it by sleeping. However, their sleep schedule also differs based on their type, like the nocturnal bees, as they hunt at night, sleep during the daytime.

Here is a video about their sleep patterns:

So, let’s study some sleeping schedules of bees.

Honey Bees

The sleeping pattern of honey bees varies based on their role in the hive and their age. However, normally, honeybees sleep 5-8 hours a day. They are not like a human that has a specific time for everything especially sleeping. 

Forager Bees

The sleeping pattern of forager bees resembles those of humans. These bees sleep in the cycle of day-night that is the same as humans. Forager bees sleep more at night because the darkness reduces their ability to identify nectar and pollen. These bees have an identified sleeping pattern and follow a specific schedule. Forager bees normally sleep in their hives. However, if they are disturbed, they may also fall asleep on the flowers. 

Young Bees

Unlike forager bees, young bees sleep for shorter durations of time, but they do it continuously throughout the day. They don’t follow the rhythm and proper day-night schedule of sleeping. Studies show that young bees move continuously in the light. However, at night times, they have a deep sleep. After it wakes up, a forger bee stays active for the rest of the day, but the young bees work for few hours and then sleep again. 

How Do Bees Sleep?

Bees don’t have a bed and a pillow to sleep like humans. They often sleep in their hives. When a bee falls asleep, its legs flex, and it slowly starts bringing its head to the floor. This is the sleeping posture of almost all the bees. However, if the bees get extremely tired, they may also even fall asleep on the flowers. This mostly occurs with the forager bees. 

Moreover, sometimes when the bees are more exhausted, they don’t follow their sleeping posture; rather, they sleep sideways. While few types of bees hold each other’s legs while sleeping or fold their legs beneath the body, forming a unique posture. 

The reason behind Bees’ Sleeping

Bees also sleep to enhance their energy. Most of the time, bees can’t communicate well with each other, resulting in a loss of direction. Roaming around without finding food wastes energy. In such situations, to enhance their energy and begin searching again, the bees need to sleep and relax for a while. 

When a bee is sleep-deprived, it cannot get its work done properly. They even find it hard to return to their hives. That’s why most of the bees fall asleep on flowers because they cannot collect enough energy for finding their home to going back to the hives. This situation occurs more frequently, especially with the forage bees. You will often find a bee sleeping on the flower. 

Last Word

To sum up, the life of bees resembles humans to some extent. Bees also work hard, so do humans. Bees also need time to relax and sleep no matter if the sleeping pattern differs, but they need sleep. This again resembles a human’s need to relax.

Bees, depending on their types and categories, have different sleeping priorities that differ from one another. But at the end of the day, all bees need time to sleep, relax, and work to boost their energy and start working again. 

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