Bee Eyes

why do bees have sticky hair head
Bees have two types of eyes and each has its own function

Bees have unique eyes that make them different from other types of bees and insects. Bees have five eyes in total: two large eyes and three smaller ones. Each set of eyes carries its own unique function, such as detecting shapes and seeing UV markers from flowers.

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    What Are the Eyes of a Bee Called?

    There are two types of eyes bees have. Ocelli, which means “simple eye” or eyespot, refers to their three smaller eyes that help detect UV light. Ocelli can also help a bee find their way around and navigate clearly. The two larger eyes on the sides of the head are called compound eyes, and these carry multiple lenses the bee can see through.

    How Many Eyes Do Honey Bees Have?

    Bees have five eyes total. There are two large eyes on the sides of its head as well as the three ocelli, or eyespots in the middle of its head. These eyes help them see colours, shapes, sizes, and much more. They are crucial to the bee’s survival and are not to be overlooked.

    Why Do Bees Have Five Eyes?

    The two eyes on the sides of the head help a bee detect objects from different angles. However, the most interesting thing about bees having five eyes is that the top three in the middle of the head help the bee see differently. The bee’s middle eyes are there to help detect UV markers from the flowers. These help them land safely and get the nectar they need.

    do bees have teeth leaf cutter
    Nocturnal bees have larger ocelli than honey bees, so they have a better vision in the dark

    Do Other Insects Have Five Eyes?

    Bees are not alone in the fact that they have more than two eyes. There are other types of insects that have five eyes too, including wasps, grasshoppers, and dragonflies. All of these insects need the ability to detect different objects and colours in order to be able to survive.

    What Do Bee Eyes Look Like?

    Bee eyes are round, smooth and glassy, but for such a relatively small creature, they are picking up thousands of little details. Unlike human eyes, they do not have pupils that look like ours but a single, solid eye colour. When studied closely, it is noticeable that bees have smaller lenses within their larger eyes. 

    What Colour Are Bees’ Eyes?

    Most of the bees have black eyes. The lenses that make up the compound eyes will also appear black, which makes them seem shiny and smooth. Sometimes it can be noticed that the lenses are individually separated by light brown or black. These are the most common eye colours for bees.

    However, certain bees may have startling-coloured eyes, like blue, yellow, silver, or pale green. When studying bees, it is advised to pay special attention to the eyes. This is one of the ways that can help identify the type of bee. Some honey bees have mutated to also carry yellow eyes, but these are not seen very often.

    What Are Compound Eyes Used For?

    The bee’s two larger eyes are incredibly fascinating to observe. They may look like two large, plastic-like eyes, but they are made up of several smaller lenses in reality.

    These lenses take pieces of information in helping the bee see one larger object or picture. Several lenses create a wide image for the bee to see through. These eyes are crucial for bees to have because it helps them detect if there are any predators around while they are collecting nectar.

    What are Facets?

    A bee has several lenses in its compound eye. These lenses are called facets which help collect detailed information that creates one, wide picture. Each lens or facet plays a critical role in helping the bee find the information they need to navigate their way through trees and flowers.

    closeup of bees eye with small sticky hairs
    The hair on the bees' eyes help with navigation through the wind

    What Are the Ocelli Used For?

    The ocelli are also referred to as “simple eyes” and contain only one lens each. While their function is not as understood as that of the bee’s compound eyes, the ocelli are arranged in a triangular pattern and help the bee detect sunlight and general light intensity. They help the bee’s flight navigation abilities as well.

    Do Some Bees Have Larger Ocelli Than Others?

    Not all bee species will have the same size eyes as honey bees or bumblebees. It will depend on what time of the night they work the most. Some bee species are mainly active at dawn and dusk. Since they work at this time of the day, they will naturally have bigger ocelli to help them see better than bees with smaller ocelli.

    This can especially happen in very warm areas like the desert, where a bee may collect pollen and honey at night versus during the day. Many flowers bloom regularly at night, like the evening primrose.

    What Are the Differences Between Ocelli and Compound Eyes?

    One of the significant differences about the bees’ eyes is their sizing. The compound eyes are larger and located on the sides of their heads. In contrast, the ocelli, or simple eyes, are located right in the middle. Ocelli in the middle of the bee’s head only contain one unit of the eye, or one lens, while the compound eyes have multiple facets, which help create a bigger picture.

    The job functions of each are drastically different: one helps the bee see the shapes of an object while the other eyes look for the UV light emitted by each flower and the sun for directions.

    Are Bees’ Eyes Hairy?

    Most bees have hairy eyes.

    Hairy eyes allow bees to navigate through the wind easily, making them expert fliers compared to other bugs. They can sense when the wind changes and when the best time to take off is.

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