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Pesticide Issues for the Backyard Beekeeper

Honeybees are highly complex, social pollinators that can travel miles from their hives in search of nectar and pollen. In their search, they can also bring back pesticide residues. They can build up in hives and cause harm to the eggs, larvae, and adult honeybees. When things start going bad, it can be difficult to find the cause of the problem.

How can honeybees become exposed to pesticides?

How can a backyard beekeeper reduce pesticide risk?

Honeybees typically live only 5-6 weeks. It is normal to see dead bees in or around the hive. Honeybees remove the dead bees and throw them away from the entrance. However, pesticide poisonings can cause large numbers of bee deaths, resulting in piles near the hive.

Some signs that pesticides may be involved with bee deaths:

Some pesticide effects may not be lethal. Pesticides may affect bee development or behavior.

If you suspect pesticides poisoned your bee hive(s), call your state’s pesticide regulatory agency right away. The sooner they can investigate, the better your chances are of finding out what happened.

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Additional Resources:

Last updated April 15, 2016

Related Topics:

What are pests?

Learn about a pest

Identify a pest

Control a pest

Integrated Pest Management

What are pesticides?

Herbicides

Disinfectants

Fungicides

Insecticides

Natural and Biological Pesticides

Repellents

Rodenticides

Other types of pesticides

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