People are frequently curious about the tasks of bees atnight.  This topic is the topic ofscientific investigation.  Here, I’lldraw on several of the study (listed in ~ the end of this page) come answer concerns such as:

Are bees the end at night?Do bees fly at night? do bees have actually night vision?Which bees are active at night?Can bees view in the dark?

Among otherquestions.

However, girlfriend might likewise be interested in the web page Do Bees Sleep?

Do bees fly in ~ night?  The quick answer in summary...

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Yes, there are varieties of bees i m sorry fly the end at night.  They actively forage for food, and have evolved the capacity to see and also fly in the dark.The bees which have the right to fly in ~ night are mainly tropical species.Bees which deserve to see and fly in the dark have progressed slightly different eyes.  Bees have actually 5 eyes, and also the 3 ocelli space responsible for mirroring light.  The ocelli ~ above bees i m sorry fly in ~ night room notably larger in proportion to their bodies, than is the situation for daytime active bees.Some bees can tolerate various levels that darkness, but most it seems to be ~ to require at least some moonlight, or they fly out at twilight.However, an instance of a punishment which deserve to fly out during complete darkness and without the aid of moonlight, is the Indian Carpenter Bee.

Below is further information to build on the simple facts outlined above - please watch the end of this short article for released research  papers.

Are \"Night\" and \"Dark\" The same Thing?

When we ask \"do bees fly in ~ night\" and \"can bees see in the dark\", what perform we actually average by ‘night’ and also ‘dark’?

\"Night\" and also \"dark\" mean different things to different people.  Therefore, us should think about what we average by night time, andwhether we mean total darkness, or at least some light. 

A creature might be nocturnal in that habits(active at night), crepuscular (active during dusk and dawn – i.e. Twilight);or diurnal (active throughout the day). 


Nocturnal = active at night Crepuscular = energetic during dusk and dawn – (i.e. Twilight)Diurnal = energetic during the day


Mostbees space diurnal, however, there space exceptions, v a small variety of beesbeing crepuscular or nocturnal.

Nocturnal and Crepuscular Bees

As far as we room aware, nocturnal or crepuscular bees are mostly tropical species. 

Interestingly, a number of tropical wasp varieties have also evolved this lifestyle.  Such bees (and wasps) room able to fly andnavigate with a dark forest in between their nest and target foraging site.

However,to quote scientist and researcher, Eric Warrant (see ref 1 below):


“Despitebeing nocturnal…..light levels– and by implicit visual dependability –nonetheless border foraging task in bees and also wasps active at night (Kelber et al., 2006). Some types areclearly crepuscular, requiring contempt brighter twilight skies to watch wellenough come negotiate obstacles during flight and to uncover their way homefollowing a foraging trip. Those that fly every night frequently require the presenceof shining moonlight.

Light levels are for this reason limiting – a species capable ofvisual foraging in the beforehand dusk might be forced back to the swarm just a shorttime later prior to light levels have become unacceptably dim.”


Nocturnal and crepuscular (dusk and dawn) foragingactivity in bees has occurred independently in in ~ least 4 of the sevenrecognised family members of bees, namely in

the Colletidae, the Andrenidae, theHalictidae and also the Apidae families of bees.(Hopkins et al., 2000; Wcislo et al., 2004; Taylor, 2007; Warrant, 2007).Nocturnal bee Species:

Nocturnal bees include:

Megalopta atra (Halictidae; Augochlorini), native the Panamanian highlands) and; the Indian Carpenter punishment which is capable of flying out and also finding its method even ~ above the darkest nights, and even without the help of moonlight.Crepuscular punishment Species

Examples of species known to it is in crepuscular, incorporate

Xylocopa tabaniformis,Xenoglossa fulva,Ptiloglossa guineaPtiloglossa jonesiPtiloglossa arizonensisCaupolicana yarrowCaupolicana ocellataXenoglossa fulvaMartinapis luteicornisPeponapis sp.Lasioglossum (Sphecodogastra) galpinsiaethe main American sweat punishment Megalopta genalisMegalopta genalis is active under the thick rainforest canopyduring two short time windows soon after dusk and also before dawn.   

The sweat bee Lasioglossum(Sphecodogastra)texana is primarily diurnal, but has been found to be qualified of foraging atnight with sufficient moonlight (as least half full moon).

How room the eye of bees that check out in the dark different from those the bees the forage  in daylight? 


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Bees have actually 5eyes: 

2 link eyesThese are comprised of plenty of hexagonal facets, meaning that they deserve to simultaneously watch all approximately them (above, below, side to side, and forwards). 3 straightforward eyes (or ocelli)The ocelli room 3 eye positioned on height of the head. This eyes are sensitive come light, and help the bee in that orientation.

You have the right to read an ext about why bees have 5 eyes.

In nightflying bees, the restricted amount of irradiate available, hasresulted in the development of proportionately larger compound eyes and ocelli.  In particular, the 3 ocelli (which aresensitive to light) are significantly larger loved one to body size in speciesthat fly in dim light, compared with the ocelli discovered on daylight foraging (diurnal) bees.  (Kerfoot, 1967b; Kelber et al., 2006; Warrant et al., 2006).

Forexample, in the giant nocturnal Indian carpenter bee (Xylocopa tranquebarica)they measure practically a millimetre across, yet the ocelli that the an in similar way sizeddiurnal (daylight active) species X. Ruficornis are considerably lessthan fifty percent this size.

Thecompound eyes are additionally a little larger in nocturnal bees, but the relativedifference in comparison through diurnal species is less pronounced.

Do honey bees fly at night?


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Above - Apis mellifera - the western honey bee is diurnal (active throughout the day), however there room a couple of love husband bee species known come be capable of flying out during moonlight.

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Two varieties of love husband bees (Apidae, genus Apis) are diurnal, but– favor Lasioglossum(Sphecodogastra)texana discussed above, are recognized tobe able come fly out if there is adequate moonlight, and also these species are

the giant oriental honey punishment Apisdorsata and the afri honey bee Apismellifera adansonii.

Why are some bees energetic at night / in the dark?

Some that the reasons why a types may have evolved theability to forage at night or in non-daylight hours, room thought to it is in asfollows:

Pressures from predators and also parasites.  Bees foraging at night might be much less susceptible to strike from parasites andpredators, than those active in the day.Competition for limited food sourcesThere is much less competition because that food since there are fewer species active atnight, competing for nectar from flowers. Bats and moths room the only noteworthy competitors, rather than a vastnumber of different bee, butterfly, beetle and also fly types (and birds).Dry environmentsSomeof the bees may live in dry environments, and flying throughout the chillier morningand evening hours minimizes their loss the water (Hurd and Linsley, 1970). References:

Eric J. Warrant; see in the dark: vision andvisual behaviour in nocturnal bees and wasps; newspaper of speculative Biology 2008 211: 1737-1746;doi: 10.1242/jeb.015396Almut Kelber, Eric J. Warrant, Michael Pfaff, RitaWallén, Jamie C. Theobald, wilhelm T. Wcislo, Robert A. Raguso; irradiate intensitylimits foraging task in nocturnal and crepuscular bees, Behavioral Ecology, Volume17, problem 1, 1 January 2006, Pages 63–72Simon M. Tierney, Therany Gonzales‐Ojeda & william T. Wcislo; biologic of a nocturnal bee, Megalopta atra (Hymenoptera: Halictidae; Augochlorini), from the Panamanian highlands; newspaper of herbal HistoryVol. 42 , Iss. 27-28,2008