Eye loupe suggestions mainly for bees

I was thinking about adding a loupe to my kit, but it appears that there are quite a few out there. I’ve seen prices range from 15 bucks to $172.00, and a range of magnifications. I would be using it almost exclusively for bees. Does anyone have any suggestions for what mag and what companies to go with? I don’t mind spending money on good equipment so I’m not necessarily looking for a budget model but seeing a $172.00 price tag had my eyebrows meet my hairline.


If I was going to buy a loupe I think I would start with an inexpensive one, but I would prefer wearable.

I have an old-fashioned jewelers loupe that fits on the temple of a pair of glasses. It’s not the easiest thing to use but it is nice to have both hands free.

If the inexpensive one turns out to be less than what you want, you can always pass it along to someone else when you upgrade. Children love getting things like that.


I don’t have an answer specifically for bees, but just two considerations:

  1. Will you be using in the field or at home? If in the field, I’d start with a cheaper one just because they can get scratched up and that would be a shame with a really pricey one! If you have a nice one that needs to stay in a case or whatever, you might not use it much in the field because of the hassle of getting it out each time, etc.

  2. I have a cheaper one (for lizard scales) that has a light built in which can be really handy. Just one feature you could consider looking for if it would be useful to you.


cheaper usually means plastic lens, expensive = glass… but of course it varies within each group as well. Aim for around 20x, cheaper the better and use it for a couple months, then you will find out if you will be losing them often, getting them damaged etc, at a lower cost… and having used it for a couple months, you will get a feel of whether the 20x (middle of the range) is too much or not enough magnification. Seriously consider an illuminated one even for your first one, especially if in the field where you will have no additional artificial lighting readily at hand. Any time things are magnified, additional light almost always helps!

Then, after that couple of months, consider shelling out for a quality glass lensed one (they scratch far less and generally have better quality optics) with illumination, and maybe even UV secondary illumination, which can reveal some very interesting things on small critters! Your first trial one then becomes a spare that you can throw in your kit, and when someone is out with you it can be loaned to them to use, or even could be gifted to a budding iNatter that you meet so that they can trial and repeat!


Thanks everyone, Bausch and Lomb has a couple that I might start with. Oh and I just saw a $500 price tag. Won’t be doing that one.

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One thing I found is that on cheap ones like this the screw comes loose really easily and gets lost.

ditch the other screw and the pin that the cover pivots on, and just put a wire through and tie a knot at each end, as close to the cover as possible… so it still hinges… if hanging it round the neck on a lanyard by the eye on the cover it won’t stay shut anymore, but compared to trying to track down the lost screw (or a replacement one) it’s a far easier solution!


I would stick with the more inexpensive loupes, $5-25. Look for triplette if you can, the optical quality is usually better. 10x - 20x is a good start. And think about the LED type. They focus close and having enough light is important. You don’t have to turn it on if natural light is available.

Sometimes American Science & Surplus has some. Otherwise, web searches should turn some up.

ahh thats a good solution.
I read about a dab of superglue, but imagine that wouldn’t last long

At the time I bought a different loupe with different design instead, but i think the optical quality was much better on this sort despite the low price


There’s also ThreadLock. Keeps screws from spinning free. Two main kinds are blue and red. Blue works for most applications and you can still unscrew the part for maintenance. Red is more permanent, usually need to warm the part to soften the threadlock before a driver/wrench will move the part. I use a stick product, easy to use on small screws. https://www.walmart.com/ip/THREAD-LOCKER-STICK-BLUE-MEDIUM-STRENGTH-LOCKS/48346600


I personally use a 16x hand lens from BioQuip (catalog #1129B). It cost less than $20 and works fine for my purposes, though annoyingly I did manage to scratch it slightly almost right away.

This is a useful explanation of why the triplet (more expensive) loupe is better. https://www.yourgemologist.com/Loupe/loupe.html


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