can light bulbs kill bees

Can Light Bulbs Kill Bees?

Last updated on January 8th, 2024 at 11:19 am

Yes, very hot light bulbs or light fixtures will kill bees on impact. Bees are attracted to light much like other flying insects via an innate positive phototactic response. This response increases considerably as the bee reaches maturity.

The short video below shows the extreme reaction bees have to sources of light:

Why are bees attracted to light bulbs?

Many flying insects get drawn toward light sources, but why does it happen, and how does light attract bees in the first place?

Light acts as a kind of stimulant for bees; the system by which a bee is drawn to light is called positive phototaxis.

The positive indicates the bee’s movement towards the light source. In contrast, animals actively moving away from light are undertaking negative phototaxis.

Positive phototaxis becomes more prevalent as bees mature. Young bees will spend the first 2-3 weeks of their life within the hive.

But as their attraction to light increases, their instincts will naturally encourage them to leave the hive and to either forage or mate.

Young bees undergo several chemical changes in their brain and endocrine system that cause progressive attraction to light sources.

Are bees at night attracted to light?

Bees, as a majority, are inactive at night. The setting sun is an indicator for bees to return to the hive or nest, so it’s unlikely any bees will seek out light sources after the sun has set.

Young bees have been observed to stay active during the night, but their need to stay within the hive and lack of proper flying skills will mean they are very unlikely to venture out past dark.

Do Bees Like Light?

In some cases where the hive or nest is exposed to artificial light, the bees within may struggle to identify the lack of natural light and continue to forage in the surrounding area.

This can lead to bees becoming attracted to artificial light and expiring due to exhaustion or heat.

This can lead to severe consequences for the colony as a whole. If bees can’t clearly understand when to stop foraging, they run the risk of severe exhaustion.

The calories required to fly and maintain a healthy body temperature means bees have approximately 40 minutes of food stored at any one time.

To avoid this, simply ensure your managed hive or wild nest is wholly removed from any artificial light sources.

*Got a bee problem? Check out our guide on how to keep bees away from your home.

Why Do Bees Like Light: The Conclusion

Hot light bulbs and light bulb fittings can kill bees on rare occasions. If you have managed hives in your garden or on your property, ensure they are removed from any artificial light.

Bees aren’t the only insects attracted to light bulbs and some of these insects will be active after dark. Consider changing your light bulbs or light fixtures for an alternative that produces less heat.

This ensures any bees or insects are safe from harm and reduces your energy costs simultaneously.

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