Fact Check

Is This Photo a Real Close-Up of a Bee’s Face?

Artificial intelligence has made it very difficult to tell what’s real or fake.

Published Apr 19, 2023

Image Via Twitter/AmazingNature00
An image shared online is an authentic close-up photograph of a bee’s face.

With the rise of digital art using artificial intelligence (AI) software, it has become increasingly difficult to tell what is real and what is fake. One particular image had the internet buzzing, as it appeared at first glance to be a real close-up of a bee's face. 

According to Twitter user "Amazing Nature" that claims to "analyze and fact check to bring you the best in real genuine nature research" this is a "really cool macro shot of a bee!"

This picture raises some red flags, one of those being that bees have eyes that normally look like honeycombs under a microscope. According to photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher, who has used powerful scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) to capture the insect in extreme detail, her photos show the bee's multi-lensed compound eyes. 

"In that first moment, when I saw its eye, I realized that the bees' eyes are composed of hexagons, which echo the structure of the honeycomb," she told the Smithsonian. "I stood there, just thinking about that, and how there are these geometrical patterns in nature that just keep on repeating themselves."

The image above does not show that detail in the bee's eyes. 

When tracing the image source we found it on Adobe Stock, uploaded by a user named "mac" whose profile content consists entirely of digitally created images. The same image also popped up on  Freepik, uploaded by "lazybonejr9," and tagged as an illustration. This user also has an account populated with digital illustrations. 

Given that the image itself does not accurately depict a bee's eyes and we traced it to online accounts that generate images using AI technology, we rate this claim as "False." 


"Bee on Blue Background Stock Illustration." Adobe Stock, https://stock.adobe.com/images/bee-on-blue-background/565796671. Accessed 19 Apr. 2023.

"Lazybonejr9." Freepik, https://www.freepik.com/author/lazybonejr9. Accessed 19 Apr. 2023.

Lee, Jessica. "Fake or Real? Snopes Fact-Checked These Images in 2021." Snopes, 17 Dec. 2021, https://www.snopes.com/news/2021/12/17/digitally-altered-images-snopes/. Accessed 19 Apr. 2023.

"Mac Photos, Images, Assets." Adobe Stock, https://stock.adobe.com/contributor/211263096/mac. Accessed 19 Apr. 2023.

"Premium Photo | Art Illustration Painting Photography Cute and Adorable Insect." Freepik, https://www.freepik.com/premium-photo/art-illustration-painting-photography-cute-adorable-insect_38033831.htm. Accessed 19 Apr. 2023.

Snodgrass , R. E. "The Anatomy of the Honey Bee." U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1910, https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/CAT31027153/pdf. Accessed 19 Apr. 2023.

Stromberg, Joseph. "What Does A Bee Look Like When It's Magnified 3000 Times?" Smithsonian Magazine, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-does-a-bee-look-like-when-its-magnified-3000-times-5553827/. Accessed 19 Apr. 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.