• Use ground equipment instead of
aerial application to apply pesticides
Precautions for Beekeepers PROTECTING
Place colonies where they will be
near bee hives. Apply pesticides in
late afternoon or at night when bees
away from fields that are routinely HONEY BEES
treated with hazardous pesticides and
are not working the blooms.
will not be subjected to pesticide FROM
• Avoid drift of pesticides onto plants drifts.
that are attractive to bees. PESTICIDES
• Identify your apiary. Post your name,
• Notify beekeepers several days
address, and phone number in a
before applying any pesticide that is
hazardous to honey bees. This will conspicuous place near your apiary.
give them a chance to protect their Let farmers and custom applicators in
colonies. However, notifications are your area know where your apiaries
not a release of responsibility. are located so they will not
unknowingly poison them.
• Use pesticides only according to
the directions on the label. • Be familiar with pesticides commonly
used in your area and what their
• Read and follow all label application dates are.
• Relocate the colonies if they are likely
• Do not use pesticides on plants to be exposed to hazardous pesticides.
that are not listed on the label. Even moving hives a short distance of
1/4 mile from the treated area usually
significantly reduces injury to bees.
Moving bees one mile away from the Honeybees are some of our most beneficial
treated field reduces bee kills by 60 insects, yet most of us probably take them for
percent. granted. Not only do they produce a surplus of
honey and beeswax, they are almost
• indispensable in the pollination of such
Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, important crops as apples, blueberries,
Food and Forestry sunflowers, melons and cucumbers.
Oklahoma City, Ok 73152-8804
The honey bee is the only insect that can
www.oda.state.ok.us be moved quickly and in the desired
numbers to effect the pollination of
This publication is Approved by Terry Peach, Commissioner of cultivated crops, commercial gardens and
pesticides in the evening or early morning Fungicides seem to cause little trouble for
Pesticide Problems when the air is calm. honey bees.
Time of Application. Ideally, pesticides
Honey bees and other insect pollinators should be applied when there is no wind
play an important role in the production and when bees are not visiting plants in
of many crops in Oklahoma. However, the area. In general, evening or early
since most crops must be protected from night applications are the least harmful to
insect pests and diseases, pesticide bees.
poisoning is the most serious problem for
pollinating insects in agricultural areas. Formulation of Pesticides. Dusts are
usually more hazardous to bees than
Protecting pollinators, especially honey sprays. Wettable powders often have a
bees, from pesticide poisoning should longer residual effect than emulsifiable
be part of any pesticide program. concentrates. Granular pesticides seem to
present very little hazard. Ultra-low
Precautions for Farmers and
The following recommendations can help volume (ULV) formulations of some Applicators
minimize bee kills. pesticides are much more toxic than
• Apply pesticides only when needed.
Pesticides on Blossoms. The blossom is regular sprays.
usually the only part of a plant that bees • Use the recommended pesticides at
Toxicity of Pesticides. Most agricultural
visit. To avoid killing bees, do not apply the lowest effective rate.
pesticides have been tested for their
pesticides hazardous to bees during the toxicity to honey bees. Insecticides affect • Use the pesticide least hazardous to
blooming period. Treating non-blooming bees in one or more ways: as stomach bees that will control the pest
crops with a hazardous pesticide when poisons, as contact poisons, and as involved. If all recommended
cover crops, weeds, or wild flowers are in fumigants. Pyrethroids, pesticides are equally hazardous to
bloom within (or near) the treated field organophosphates, and carbamates vary bees, use the one that has the shortest
may also cause heavy bee losses. in their toxicity to bees from relatively residual effect.
Drift of Pesticides. Drift occurs from non-hazardous to very hazardous, • Use sprays or granules instead of
nearly all spray or dust applications of depending upon the individual material or dusts.
pesticides from a short distance to miles combination of materials.
• Make as few treatments as
downwind. Pesticide dusts drift farther Herbicides, defoliants, and desiccants possible, as repeated applications
than sprays. Pesticides applied by plane such as paraquat, MAA, and MSMA greatly increase the damage to
usually drift farther then those applied by reportedly were extremely toxic when fed colonies.
ground equipment. Generally, it is less to newly emerged worker honey bees or • Do not treat an entire field or area
hazardous to apply pesticides near when sprayed onto older bees in field if local spot treatments will
apiaries with ground equipment than by tests. control the harmful pests.
plane. Drift can be reduced by applying