Bees are an essential partner in helping pollinate our flowers, enabling healthy production of quality fruits in greenhouses and vertical farming.
Picking the right light source is an important step in boosting the performance of pollinators.
Below are three key ways in which LEDs improve bee pollination:
Bees can see and navigate better under broad-spectrum LEDs compared to HPS
Bees can see from 300nm to 650nm, which includes UV, blue, and green regions of light until the beginning of the red part of the spectrum. This differs from humans, who typically see 390nm to 750nm.
If you were only using HPS, most of the light produced would be in the yellow to red areas of the spectrum, which interferes with the bee’s vision because bees primarily use blue, green, and UV parts of the spectrum. For bees to navigate effectively and find their flowers, they need to be able to see all the wavelengths encompassing their visual senses.
Hitting the floral bullseye
Floral bullseyes in the center of flowers are marked with patterns in UV reflectance. These are invisible to the human eye but visible to bees.
If your greenhouse is blocking UV from entering, or you are running a vertical farm, then having some UV present in your LEDs will help illuminate these floral bullseye zones, which act as a target to help the bees land and pollinate your flowers.
Figure 2. Flowers that appear simply yellow to the human eye secretly contain patterns in the UV spectrum that are visible to bees and help guide them to their nectar.
Bee activity during the day
It has been reported that with HPS, bee activity is often delayed and requires the presence of natural light. However, trials with Valoya LEDs have shown that bees can begin earlier and become immediately active when the LEDs are switched on. Using Valoya LEDs not only helps the bees navigate and hit their floral bullseyes but also activates them to start their day.