bee hazards

Pesticides can have an adverse effect on commercial apiarist activities if adequate precautions are not observed. Adverse effects can arise from two main areas. These are:

  • Pesticides being applied directly to a crop or nectar source in which bees are foraging.
  • Off-target movement of pesticide during application which may affect a non-target crop or nectar source where bees are foraging or a direct overspray of the bee hives.

Registered Pesticide labels carry specific bee warnings if the product is toxic to bees along with appropriate precautions and requirements. Growers should note these warnings when reading the label and when planning a spray application.

“Honeybee pesticide poisoning:  a risk management tool for Australian farmers and beekeepers” is a booklet published in 2012 by AgriFutures Australia (new Trading Name for Rural Industries and Development Corporation – RIRDC).  This information will assist beekeepers and farmers to identify pesticides that are toxic to bees and provide information to help manage the risk of honeybee poisoning.  The following gives some of the topics that are included.

  • the importance of commercial pollination to the hortcultural industry
  • the importance of commercial pollination to beekeepers
  • pesticide toxicity – including the list of pesticides toxic to honeybees
  • managing the risk of honeybee poisoning
  • responding to a poisoning event
  • Appendix 1 and 2 detail horticultural and broadacre pesticides known to be toxic to honeybees in Australia – alphabetically sorted by (1) active constituent and (2) by product name
  • a number of useful forms and contact details

This 97 page booklet can be purchased or downloaded for free from the AgriFutures Australia website.

Cotton crops
Prior to spraying, farmers can access information on honeybee hive locations through the Cotton Catchment Communities CRC web site.  Beekeepers can use the form on the Bee Alert page to provice the Cotton CRC with information on hive locations. This information will be made available to the cotton industry and other farmers in the cotton Region via this web site.  Apiarists can register hive locations online to avoid damage.

Cotton Catchment Communities CRC pages of valuable information regarding cotton growing and beekeeping:-

Form to register location of beehives in cotton growing areas

“Bee Aware of Honeybees”

Current listing of hives in cotton regions

Is my bee site near Cotton?

Cotton Catchment Communitoes CRC Contact information:

David Larsen
Australian Cotton Research Institute
Locked Mail Bag 1000
Narrabri NSW 2390
Ph: 02 6799 1534


Pests and Diseases
For more information on the many threats facing the Honey Bee industry, see our Pests & Diseases page

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