Publications

Bumblebees land remarkably well in red-blue greenhouse LED light conditions

Vries, Lana J. De; Langevelde, Frank Van; Dooremalen, Coby Van; Kornegoor, Ilse G.; Lankheet, Martin J.; Leeuwen, Johan L. Van; Naguib, Marc; Muijres, Florian T.

Summary

Red-blue emitting LEDs have recently been introduced in greenhouses to optimise plant growth. However, this spectrum may negatively affect the performance of bumblebees used for pollination, because the visual system of bumblebees is more sensitive to green light than to red-blue light. We used high-speed stereoscopic videography to three-dimensionally track and compare landing manoeuvres of Bombus terrestris bumblebees in red-blue light and in regular, broad-spectrum white light. In both conditions, the landing approaches were interspersed by one or several hover phases, followed by leg extension and touchdown. The time between leg extension and touchdown was 25% (0.05 s) longer in red-blue light than in white light, caused by a more tortuous flight path in red-blue light. However, the total landing duration, specified as the time between the first hover phase and touchdown, did not differ between the light conditions. This suggests that the negative effects of red-blue light on the landing manoeuvre are confined to the final phase of the landing. This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.