If you’ve noticed bees hovering around a lamp outside before you may have been confused, which begs the question: are bees attracted to light?
The short answer is yes, bees are attracted to light. The reason is phototaxis, and many insects in nature experience this same thing.
Want to learn more about bees? Keep reading!
Why Are Bees Attracted To Light?
The short and long reason for why bees are attracted to light is because of phototaxis. Phototaxis is a phenomenon that impacts many in nature, like moths for example, that seem to hover and flock to bright lights or flames.
It seems that the light makes the insect feel good, which is why they are attracted and drawn to it.
Bees in the Dark
Bees are generally diurnal, that is, they are active during the day and remain in the hive after dark. Though this is their normal behavior, the sight of your bright house lights could draw them from their nest. Light triggers a positive, pleasing response in bees- and other insects and animals, too.
There is a possibility that the bee has gotten lost and is heading toward a bright light- whether it is your porch or home- for a source of possible heat and a bit of food.
Some insects will visit lights to eat other insects- it is an inherent survival strategy- but not bees, necessarily.
Bees and Phototaxis
Phototaxis refers to the bees’ natural attraction to light. It compels the bee to fly out of the hive and toward the light. For this reason, beekeepers are encouraged to not position hives near their houselights or light that could cause them to frequently leave the hive, which has its own inherent risks for the bee.
Light is quite a resource for a honeybee. They can use it to find food, navigate when foraging, and make it back to their hive. Bees fly in haphazard circles, but when they follow a light source, they will fly in a straight line. Most bees stay in their hives at night, but there are some nocturnal species of bees and other flying insects that do come out at night.
For instance, other insects compelled and impacted by bright lights include some wasps. Furthermore, if a predator has breached the entrance to the hive, bees may fly out and fly toward any bright lights nearby.
Tips to Safely Deter Bees
Not everyone is a big fan of bees, and though harmless, you may not want them entering your home when they fly toward light. When bees fly toward the light of your home, porch, or patio, it is likely that they are looking for either a food source or heat. Bees don’t usually fly around at night, so they could have gotten lost when foraging. There are easy ways to deter bees without hurting them- as you always want to treat these gentle pollinators kindly and with their wellbeing in mind.
Here are some tips to safely deter bees from your dwelling:
- Think about Installing some insect-proof screens over your windows and any cracks or crevices that could let bees inside.
- Set up a separate light somewhere away from your home’s entry, and that will be safe for the bees. If there is a hive in the vicinity, bees should be drawn to it- which distracts them from coming into your home, hopefully.
- Ever see a red light on someone’s porch? This could be due to bees. Bees are not attracted to red lights and do not even see the color red visually. Use red bulbs near the entry that you want to prevent bees from using.
- Plant something where you want the bees to stay. That is, plant them a nice patch of marigolds away from the lights of your home. This will keep them busy and less likely to bug you indoors.
Bees do not really want to come inside your home- they are just compelled to by the welcoming lights. Consider this when setting up your apiary as well as designing landscapes to facilitate bees and try to organically curb them from coming into your home.
Bees and Light FAQs
Do bees like light?
Bees are naturally drawn to light. It compels them to come close. They also sometimes follow the light as a potential source of food or heat. Bees like light.
When do bees swarm?
Swarms occur most often on warm, bright days during May through the end of July. Poor weather curbs swarming, but then it could peak again.
Why are bees attracted to bright flowers?
Bees do not see the color red, but they do see bright yellows, blues, and white. They are attracted to these shades of bright flowers because they are able to see and detect them easily.
What flowers do bees prefer?
Bees prefer flowers that pay off in terms of nectar for making honey.
Some of their favorites include poppies, marigolds, sunflowers, crocus, lilac, calendula, and crocus, as well as snapdragons, bee balm, cosmos, echinacea, and hosta. Later in the season, in fall, bees love zinnias, asters, foxglove, and goldenrod, among others.
What plants do bees love?
Bees love Lavender, Viper’s Bugloss, Bluebells, sunflowers, lilacs, marigolds, mint- and many more.
Now you see why bees are drawn to light- and how to gently deter them if it is an issue. Use these tips to create other well-lit attractions for wayfaring bees that may find themselves in your yard after dark. After all, it is in everyone’s best interest to let this little pollinator be and look out for its wellbeing whenever possible.