Suspected Cases of Poisoning

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Changed on: 14.06.2018

Measures in cases of suspected poisoning of bee colonies

Possible causes of poison damage

  • Plant protection products: main cause of poisoning damage; can be caused through plant protection measures in agriculture and forestry or horticulture
  • Intentional damage: bees are being poisoned intentionally 
  • Industrial emissions (e.g. emissions containing arsenic, lead or fluoride) 
  • Bee pasture poisoning caused by toxic nectar or pollen

Symptoms of poisoning

  • Piles of dead bees on the ground in front of the frontside of hives, landing boards and inside hives.
  • Conspicuous behaviour of bees in front of hive entrances.
  • Sudden and considerable decrease in bee flight and colony strength. If flying bees are directly exposed to pesticides of high, acute toxicity outdoors, many of them will die during flight.
  • Changes in brood: plant protection products classified as "growth regulators" that cause damage to the developing brood leave characteristic symptoms on dead pupae and young bees (white-grey sickle shapes on the inside rim of their compound eyes (see picture), which show only 10 to 25 days after the application of the agent.

Possible causes of poison damage

  • Plant protection products: main cause of poisoning damage; can be caused through plant protection measures in agriculture and forestry or horticulture
  • Intentional damage: bees are being poisoned intentionally 
  • Industrial emissions (e.g. emissions containing arsenic, lead or fluoride) 
  • Bee pasture poisoning caused by toxic nectar or pollen

Symptoms of poisoning

  • Piles of dead bees on the ground in front of the frontside of hives, landing boards and inside hives.
  • Conspicuous behaviour of bees in front of hive entrances.
  • Sudden and considerable decrease in bee flight and colony strength. If flying bees are directly exposed to pesticides of high, acute toxicity outdoors, many of them will die during flight.
  • Changes in brood: plant protection products classified as "growth regulators" that cause damage to the developing brood leave characteristic symptoms on dead pupae and young bees (white-grey sickle shapes on the inside rim of their compound eyes (see picture), which show only 10 to 25 days after the application of the agent.

Information leaflet on suspected poisoning in bee colonies

    Vorgangsweise bei Bienenschäden mit Vergiftungsverdacht (152 K)
    Procedure in cases of damage caused to bees through suspected poisoning (152 K) As of: June 2017
    download file  | open PDF

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Large numbers of dead bees at the hive entrance
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Dead pollen foragers at the hive entrance
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Bee with white eye sickles caused by Insegar poisoning

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