- Pesticide toxicity to bees
Pesticidesvary in their effect on bees. Contact insecticides, those which kill by touching the organism, affect the worker beethat is directly sprayed. Systemic insecticides, those that are incorporated by treated plants, can contaminate nectaror pollen, and kill bees in the hive.
Dusts and wettable powders tend to be more hazardous to bees than solutions or emulsifiable concentrates.
Actual damage to bee populations is a function of the degree of toxicity of the compound, in combination with the mode of application; a highly potent insecticide applied only to the soil, for instance, would be expected to kill mainly soil-dwelling insects, such as
grubs or mole crickets, and not bees.
Classification of pesticide toxicity
Insecticide toxicity is generally measured using
LD50- the exposure level that causes 50% of the population exposed to die. Toxicity thresholds are generally set at
* highly toxic (acute LD50 less than 2
* moderately toxic (acute LD50 2ug/bee to 10.99μg/bee)
* slightly toxic (acute LD50 11ug/bee to 100μg/bee)
* practically non-toxic (acute LD50 more than 100μg/bee) to adult bees. [ [http://www.agr.wa.gov/pestfert/Pesticides/docs/PollinatorSLNSect18.pdf] Pollinator protection requirements for Section 18 Emergency Exemptions and Section 24(c) special local need registration in Washington State; Registration Services Program Pesticide Management Division Washington State Dept of Agriculture, Dec 2006] [Hunt, G.J.; [http://www.entm.purdue.edu/Entomology/ext/targets/e-series/EseriesPDF/E-216.pdf Using honey bees in pollination]
Purdue University, May 2000 ]
LD50 is an incomplete measure of toxicity to honeybees (Apis mellifera) and other
social insectsbecause it is a measure of individual toxicity, not colony toxicity. It does not account for the ways in which bee behavior can mitigate or exacerbate the effects of the pesticide on the colony. For example, a moderate to low toxicity pesticide (by LD50 measurement) which is used in granular form and is collected and concentrated along with pollen can be highly lethal to the colony. On the other hand, a pesticide which is so toxic that the exposed bees die in the field can be less dangerous to the colony than a less toxic pesticide which allows the exposed bees to return to the hive and contaminate their fellows. Likewise, a highly toxic pesticide (according to LD50 measures) is "safe" for bees if it is applied on a grass lawn or other location without blooming flowers which would attract the bees. Furthermore, LD50 studies are conducted against adult bees and do not measure the effects on larvae, etc.
Bee kill rate per hive
The kill rate of bees in a single bee hive can be classified as::< 100 bees per day - normal die off rate:200-400 bees per day - low kill:500-900 bees per day - moderate kill:> 1000 bees per day - high kill
Toxicity of Pesticides to Bees
Source: [http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/insects/g1347.htm Protecting Bees When Using Insecticides]
University of NebraskaLincoln, Extension, May 1998
Common insecticides toxic to bees and used on soybeans
insecticides used against soybean aphids are highly toxic to bees.
*Orthene 75S (
*Address 75 WSP (
*Lorsban 4E (Chlorpyrifos)
*Steward 1.25 SC (Indoxacarb)
*Cheminova Methyl 4EC (Methyl Parathion)
*Penncap M (microencapsulated Methyl
Highly toxic and banned in the US
* [http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts1.html Aldrin] banned by US EPA in 1974
* [http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/carbofur.htm carbofuran] (banned in granular form)
* [http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts1.html dieldrin] banned by US EPA in 1974
* [http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/heptachl.htm heptachlor]
lindane, BHC(banned in California)
Lawsuit against the EPA in the United States
In August 2008, the [http://www.nrdc.org/ National Resources Defense Council] , a
New Yorkenvironmental advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agencyaccusing the agency of withholding information about the risks pesticides pose to honeybees. [ [http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_585226.html EPA sued after allegations Bayer pesticide killing honeybees] ]
Banned in Germany
In June 2008, the
Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (Germany)suspended the registration of eight neonicotinoid pesticide seed treatment products used in oilseed rapeand sweetcorn, a few weeks after honey bee keepers in the southern state of Baden Württembergreported a wave of honey bee deaths linked to one of the pesticides, clothianidin. [ [http://www.i-sis.org.uk/honeybeePesticideBan.php "Emergency Pesticide Ban for Saving the Honeybee"] ]
Banned in France
Bees and toxic chemicals
Colony Collapse Disorder
* [http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/entomology/extension/InsectInfo/Soybean/Soybean%20Insecticides.html Commonly Used Insecticides for Soybeans]
Kansas State UniversityExtension, Aug 2004
* [http://maarec.cas.psu.edu/bees_pesticides.html Honey Bees and Pesticides] , 1978, Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium
*Mayer, D.F., Johansen, C.A. & Baird, C.R.; [http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/pnw0518/pnw0518.pdf "How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides"] , PNW518, A Pacific Northwest Extension Publication, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Copyright 1999 Washington State University. Includes an extensive list of toxic chemicals such as pesticides that affect bees.
* [http://ndsuext.nodak.edu/extpubs/plantsci/pests/e494w.htm#highly McBride, Dean k.; Protecting Honeybees From Pesticides, 1997]
North Dakota State University
*Sanford, Malcolm T.; [http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/AA145 Protecting Honey Bees From Pesticides] ,
University of FloridaInstitute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension, April 1993
* [http://www.epa.gov/opppmsd1/PR_Notices/pr2001-5.pdf US EPA Pesticide Registration (PR) Notice 2001-5]
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