>Beekeeping Guide>Insecticides

Protect Honey Bees from Insecticides

Pesticide Applicator

Use spray applications instead of dusts.

Apply sprays to plants when bees are not foraging on the plants.

  • plants not in bloom
  • after petal fall
  • late in the day when blossoms are closed
  • mow cover crops under fruit trees before applying cover sprays
  • mow blooming plants foraged by honey bees around field borders

Use insecticides which are less toxic to honey bees when possible.

Use insecticides with short-residual life.

To reduce drift, apply insecticides during periods when wind velocity is less than five miles per hour.

Keep sprayers in good repair for efficient coverage of crop plants.

Direct spray application on and under target plant in fine mist for effective coverage of crop.

Do not spray over colonies. Do not spray when drift is in the direction of colonies.

Notify beekeepers in your area at least two days in advance when spray applications are scheduled for the following crops:

  • sweet corn
  • fruit
  • cotton
  • vegetables


Register colonies with state apiarist's office as required by state law.

You are responsible for protection of your colonies.

You can confine your colonies for three days during periods of heavy insecticide spraying in your area. The colonies should be released for at least one day of flying at the end of the three days. Confining bees is not practical when a large number of colonies are located a considerable distance away from a good source of water. Draping with burlap is not practical because it requires the application of water every one to two hours. However, this is the only protective measure we have short of
moving the apiary out of the area.

Locate colonies a distance of 300 feet or more away from treated field. Use wind breaks of vegetative growth to filter insecticide drift.

Locate colonies upwind of field in direction of prevailing winds in the area.

Locate colonies so flight path is not directly over fields that are sprayed frequently.

Move colonies two miles away from large fields that must be sprayed frequently.

You should be thoroughly familiar with all agricultural crops and pesticide use within flight range of your colonies.

Avoid hazards, anticipate problems and cooperate with your neighbors.

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