• Question: Why are bees attracted to bright flowers? Do the bright colours just grab the bees attention?

    Asked by Zobo64 to Colin, John, Kevin, Shikha, Triona on 17 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: Tríona O'Connell

      Tríona O'Connell answered on 17 Nov 2014:

      Flowers provide sweet nectar for bees in exchange for them carrying some pollen to the next plant to fertilise it. Some plants have specialised flower parts that attach pollen to specific insects (or birds, or mammals, or reptiles, or other insects even (moths/butterflies/all kinds of bugs). They would use particular colours and scents to attract the right kind of bee (or other pollinator) so that their pollen load wouldnt be given to the wrong kinda pollinator.
      Different colours are often associated wtih different types of pollinator (white is good for attracting moths in the dim light, red is good if you use birds to pollinate your flowers) but there may be more than one pollinator attracted to your colours, which can be a bonus.

    • Photo: Kevin Motherway

      Kevin Motherway answered on 17 Nov 2014:

      We see the flowers a pretty things but insect eyes are way way different comprising hundreds of little crystal lenses so they may see something totally different to what we see? We may never know if it’s the colour, the pattern or geometry of the flower or the odour the plants give off that attracts the insect. Either way they’ve evolved in harmony with each other and it works!

    • Photo: Shikha Sharma

      Shikha Sharma answered on 20 Nov 2014:

      Hi Zobo64,

      Bees are not only attracted by bright colors, but they even can differentiate between colors. Bees are able to see ultraviolet light that we humans are not able to see. Bees are attracted to colors as the color veins give clues to the location of the nectar. Bees cannot see red, and are very attracted to yellow and blue. They are warned off by black. The brighter the flower, the more likely it will be visited by a bee.