Do Bees Have Eyes? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

If you are a bee keeper or you have bees in your farm, then you must have wondered about their eyes and if they see.

Do bees have eyes? If yes what is it for? Is it like other animals and insects and are there special advantages?

Yes, bees have eyes and as fascinating as it sounds, bees have more than one eye, as a matter of fact, they have five of them.

Vision is completely essential in the lives of humans, insects or animals because it aids in the running of their daily activity.

What type of eyes do bees have?

Do Bees Have Eyes

The bee has a total of five eyes – two larger eyes which can also be called compound eyes.

The compound eyes of bees are the most visible of their eyes, and they can be found on the sides of the bee’s head. 

The bees compound eyes are made of individual lenses that give them really sharp vision.

The role of these individual lenses found in the compound eyes is to recognize colors, shapes and what can be seen in the immediate environment. 

The other three eyes of the bees are called ocelli eyes or simple eyes. The ocelli eyes can be found at the top of the bees head in a triangular form.

The bees make use of the ocelli for navigation and finding their balance in relation to the position of the sun. 

The ocelli eyes are easy to be missed because they are quite small, unlike the compound eyes.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on do bees have noses?

What do bees compound eyes look like?

The compound eyes of bees are really large and they are quite easy to locate on the head of bees.

The compound eyes of bees are located on either side of the bee’s head.

Do bees blink?

It is not known if bees blink their eyes, but it is certain that they close their eyes to sleep.

Do bees have eyelids?

Bees do not have eyelids but they have antenna’s that can serve as eyelids.

Also, the compound eyes of bees have hair-like structures which protect the eyes, as well as helps the bees in detecting the direction of the wind.

Do Honey Bees have 5 eyes?

Yes, honey bees have 5 eyes. Two of the bee’s eyes are quite visible while the other three aren’t as visible. 

Bees have two compound eyes – the visible eyes. The compound eyes of bees can be found on the side of the bee’s head.

While the other three eyes of bees that are not so visible are called the Ocelli or simple eyes.

The Ocelli is located at the top of the bee’s head. These simple eyes look like three tiny dots at the top of the bee’s head. 

Can bees see humans?

Bees cannot recognize humans, but it doesn’t mean that they do not have the ability to recognize humans.

According to Dr Adrian Dyer in the Journal of Experimental Biology, bees can be trained to recognize humans.

Do bees have a third eye?

Bees have more than a third eye. Bees have a total of five eyes. 

They possess two large eyes which can also be called compound eyes, and also three smaller eyes called ocelli eyes or simple eyes.

Also here is an article I wrote on can bees lay eggs?

What colors do bees see?

Bees see blue, violet-green, blue colors, and bee’s purple – a combination of yellow and ultraviolet light.

Bees have the fastest color vision amongst animals, and their color vision is also faster than that of human by five times.

The compound eye of bees is made up of thousands of tiny lenses which are called facets.

Now each facet takes one small part of the insect’s vision, and the bee’s brain converts the signals into a mosaic-like picture made of each image. 

Worker bees have about 6,900 facets while drones have 8,600 facets. And all bees have two compound eyes, which means double these figures.

The facet in the compound eyes of the bees is connected to a tiny tube called ommatidium which in turn contains a lens, a cone of visual cells and pigment cells that help separate it from its neighbour cells.

A bee is able to see color because each of these tiny tubes contains eight cells that respond to light.

Four out of these cells respond to yellow-green light, while two respond to blue light, and the others respond to ultraviolet light. 

All of these come together to give bees magnificent eyesight. However, this magnificent super sight doesn’t end at seeing just colours for bees but it gives them the ability to detect polarized light.

This is a big deal because polarized light is not just any light. Polarized light is a type of light that moves in one direction.

This light is caused when air molecules from the atmosphere scatter the photons to create a highway of light. 

The bee’s super eyesight can help it scan and match the polarization patterns in the sky, and then make use of the pattern as a navigating system when the sun isn’t out. Basically, it’s a bee roadmap. 

Also, if a bee is ever lost, it can find its way back home by using the pattern of polarized light in the sky.

Bees might have super eyesight, but this sight of theirs cannot recognize red colors.

Can bees see in the dark?

The answer to this question is Yes and No, and this is because bees are blinded at night since their eyes are not suited for seeing in the dark.

However, there’s a particular species of bee that can see in the dark perfectly. 

Some scientists have claimed that bees try to use their brains to stimulate their poor vision in the dark. 

While others have maintained that the eyes of bees are quite useless in the dark. 

Bees make use of two tricks to see in the dark. 

The first trick is an image processing trick. This trick is similar to what most professional photographers do with their cameras.

Photographers can slow down the shutter speed of their cameras for good pictures. Bees make use of this method to lengthen the time their photoreceptors collect light.

Also, they could make use of their neighboring photoreceptors to create a mosaic image with larger and brighter pieces.

While these two tricks are not without their disadvantages, bees still make use of them. 

This could be because it is better to see something than see nothing at all.


Yes, bees have eyes, and not just one but five eyes. The eyesight of the bee is one of it’s super powers.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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