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Why do bees like flowers?

It’s Spring and flowers are in bloom. It also means bees will be out and about getting up and close and personal with flowers, gardens and wildflowers. But why? What is it about flowers that attract bees? To help answer this question we turn to our friends at It’s Okay To Be Smart and The Children’s Museum (hey, that’s us!).

Before we get too deep into answering the “why?”, it's important to note that many flowers depend on bees and other pollinators for their survival. Without bees, some flowers couldn’t reproduce because it's bees who carry pollen from flower to flower in their search for food.

So, it’s all about food for bees?

Yes, mostly. Bees like flowers because they feed on their nectar and pollen. The nectar is used by bees as food and an energy source to get to and from their home. The pollen they also pick up from flowers are used to feed larva (baby bees) in the hive. Bees need flowers and flowers need bees. Because of this, flowers have developed a special way to get a bee’s attention—and we can’t see it. Bees and humans have different types of eyes. In short, we see the world very differently because of how we process light (and the colors that are in light).

This video from It’s Okay to be Smart shows you how bees see the world very differently than we do and why it makes flowers so appealing.

Flowers have a big “We’re Open, Come On In” sign that bees can see. So, while humans like flowers because they are pretty, bees just see dinner. 

If you want to see how pollination works for yourself you can try our experiment Saturday Science: Powdery Pollination!

Why do bees like flowers?

Looking for more Never Stop Asking "Why?" questions? Catch up on all of the past "Why's" on the blog!