Pesticides and Honey Bee Poisoning

Chemicals and pesticides make bees vulnerable to poisoning and may cause the death of bees and a bee colony.

Honey bees are vulnerable to agricultural chemicals and other pesticides used for the treatment of plants and parasites.

Air pollution from fossil fuels like diesel exhaust fumes also causes bee poisoning.

Therefore, beekeepers must manage the risk of bee poisoning.

How bee poisoning occurs

Honey bee poisoning can occur in several ways.

These are:

  • a crop that is flowering contains some form of pesticide then a foraging bee becomes exposed to contamination.
  • a chemical was used on a crop that is not flowering, but bees are foraging other plants in the same area
  • a chemical is directly applied to a bee
  • a bee consumes contaminated water
  • chemical spray drifts onto the bees, plants and flowers contaminating the area

To get more information about pesticides and honey bee poisoning topic, please visit agriculture.vic.gov.au.

Local beekeeping and plant treatment in your area

From time to time, as a registered beekeeper, you may receive a letter from the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources. So, do not be surprised if you will occasionally receive information about the proposed treatment of trees for exotic insect pests.

The government-run programs, when required, will take place. You will be notified as a registered beekeeper. You will be notified usually a few weeks in advance. Most of the time, you will have ample time to do something about your hives. The adverse effect of the treatment of plans could be avoided or minimised. To minimise the risk to your bees, you might consider moving the hives temporarily to another area. Or, if you can not move your hives, you could close the gate of the hives on the date of the treatment and extend it a maximum of two days.

The major factor in your decision to deal with your hive depends on how far you are from the treatment area. So if you are more than 3 km away, it may not be a big issue for your apiary.

You may also learn more about related topics under the Health & Welfare of Honey Bee Colonies.

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