The Effect of Pesticides on Bees – University of Georgia
Pesticides are substances used to eliminate unwanted pests. Insecticides rid us of unwanted insects. Unfortunately, honey bees are insects and are greatly affected by insecticides.
There are several ways honey bees can be killed by insecticides. One is direct contact of the insecticide on the bee while it is foraging in the field. The bee immediately dies and does not return to the hive. In this case the queen, brood and nurse bees are not contaminated and the colony survives. The second more deadly way is when the bee comes in contact with an insecticide and transports it back to the colony, either as contaminated pollen or nectar or on its body.
The main symptom of honey bee pesticide kill is large numbers of dead bees in front of the hives. Another symptom is a sudden loss of the colony’s field force. After a honey bee pesticide loss the colony may suffer additionally from brood diseases and chilled brood.