This study examined the performance of male bumble bees (Bombus impatiens) in color and pattern discriminations and compared it to that of female bees. Bees were trained to forage from rewarding (S+) and unrewarding (S-) artificial flowers which differed in color (blue vs yellow) or pattern (e.g., concentric vs radial). Learning of the discrimination by the bees was then assessed by examining choice proportions of different flower types while none of the flowers offered reward. Color discriminations were made with 98% accuracy by the males, and the choice proportion was no different for females. Pattern discriminations were very poor or nonexistent for males but significantly better for females, especially in one of three pattern discriminations (radial vs concentric patterns).
Church, Dana; Plowright, Catherine; and Loyer, Diana
"Discriminations of Color and Pattern on Artificial Flowers by Male and Female Bumble Bees, Bombus Impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae),"
The Great Lakes Entomologist, vol 34
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/tgle/vol34/iss2/11