View Full Version : Bees attracted to light like moths?

06-11-2007, 01:45 PM
I tried to search previous threads to see if anyone had mentioned anything like this before, but didn't find anything.

Bees aren't supposed to be attracted to light, right? They work during the day and go inside the hive at night. Except a couple (literally, two, one last year and one this year) of my bees started buzzing around the porch light after dark. Last Thursday, when I went out to verify that the thing flying around the back porch light was a honeybee, she got inside the house and made straight for the halogen lamp, where she buzzed around for a few minutes before she fried herself.

Does this happen sometimes? I'm not hiving some mutant strain of half moth half bee, am I?

Brent Bean
06-11-2007, 01:52 PM
Odd bee-havior , one possible explanation they may have been displaced from their hive by a marauding animal? Got lost and made a beeline to the nearest light source.Honeybees are attracted to light sources I go into a dark room with a window to release attendant bees from a queen introduction cage. It has saved me a couple of queens from flying into the wild blue yonder. Instead they just fly into the window.

06-11-2007, 05:41 PM
I have seen bees work if there is enough artificial light to guide them also seen them swarm a dairy queen when the bee truck was parked across the highway while the driver was eating inside. Boy did he get in a lot of trouble

06-11-2007, 05:53 PM
If you go out at night and check on them they will come an investigate the light. If you move them at night and open the hive, jsut make sure the flash light is pointed away from the opening. :p Some will even fly at you, learned this the hard way. :rolleyes:

Jim Fischer
06-11-2007, 06:40 PM
Bees certainly ARE attracted to the light.

If bees enter a house, they are soon found beating themselves
against the nearest window.

If a streetlight or porch light is bright enough, bees will fly in the
light shed by the lamp, most often, directly toward the light.

I did a removal of a very nasty colony of Eastern Yellow Jackets
(as big as your thumb, with a stinger to scale) at night. The job
was simple - lift a log in which they had set up shop into the
back of a pickup truck, and relocate the log and colony to the
woods. I soon realized that a flashlight was a bad idea, as the
Yellow Jackets flew up the bean of the flashlight, straight towards
me. Intimidating.

06-11-2007, 07:05 PM
Hi Jim,
This trait has a lot of influence on loading a truck with bees. Of course you want to keep the bees with the hive. There's no question of closing hundreds of colonies in. It has to be done at night and and without too much light. In my latest adventure, The guy on the loader would only flash the lights occasionally. To get the bees off of the suit, the trick was to stand in the trucks headlights until the bees left you, duck out of it and run for the cab.


06-11-2007, 07:53 PM
I just brought home a swarm in a swarm box, turned the halogen light on out back, took the screening off of the front entrance and turned the lights off fairly quickly to keep them in the box and off of my lights.
I make a point of keeping the lights off out in my back yard...otherwise I get quite a few honeybees buzzing the lights...

06-11-2007, 10:42 PM
Can they see all forms of light? Certain animals cannot see red. Many of the hunting lights have a red LED for this use. Maybe working bees at night while using red light is an option. Hmmmmm?

06-11-2007, 11:48 PM
Maybe working bees at night while using red light is an option. Hmmmmm?

Yes it is it helps some to have a red light on the forklift and clear ones if you need more light for a while.

06-12-2007, 04:41 AM
attracted to light... most definitely. workers always and new queen sometimes... as I discoved last year when I placed a mating nuc a bit too close to my front door's porch light.

06-12-2007, 12:22 PM
thanks for the responses! Glad to hear I'm not the only one.

06-12-2007, 01:01 PM
It has been my experience that the bees are attracted specifically to UV light sources. With my hives about 30 feet away, and warm summer temps where the bees are still gathered on the porch of the hive at night. If I open the garage door and turn on my bank of flourescent lights, in just a few minutes I will have many bees buzzing around the tubes.

If I turn on the outside light only, incandescent -- no bees fly to it. If I use a flashlight around the hive, even open it at night, no problem. But these are poor sources of UV light.

So, working with a red light is a good option.


06-12-2007, 02:51 PM
Can they see all forms of light? Certain animals cannot see red. Many of the hunting lights have a red LED for this use. Maybe working bees at night while using red light is an option. Hmmmmm?

Karl von Frisch did some experiments that determined that bees could not distinguish the color red from black. Their range of vision apparently is shifted up into the UV end of the spectrum compared to ours.

Note to self: Cancel order for stylish red bee suit.

06-12-2007, 09:09 PM
I figured its a few strays that are still out and get confused after eating all day. Have had them come in the house too, and get caught under lamp shades...

06-12-2007, 09:13 PM
My hives are on my deck about 10 feet from my sunporch door. I constantly have bees in the house - mostly they come in with the dogs through the dog door - once in the house they kill themselves on the lights - particularly the can lights in the ceiling.

I keep the lights off outside at night because they are so attracted and I keep a drinking glass and a postcard readily available in the house to trap the bees and return them to the deck.

Still about 6-10/night get killed in my house.

Linda T in Atlanta

06-13-2007, 08:13 AM
My wife would not tolerate this. My daughter would screaming and carrying on. It would be very ugly if this were to happen at my house.

jim b
06-13-2007, 04:23 PM
when i got up in the morning-quite a few of them.

"What the heck?"

Oh yeah, kids left the kitchen lights on all night, hive is about ten feet off the kitchen window.

Figure they flew out to the window and cooled down too much to get back til the day warmed sufficiently.

Curly flourescents in the fixtures.