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Author Topic: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???  (Read 1340 times)

Offline threehives

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Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« on: January 30, 2017, 01:07:00 am »
Hi All

I recently checked on one of my apiaries and noticed all 14 of my hives had significant numbers of dead bees at the entrance. I noticed a lot of the blackberries had been sprayed and were starting to die on the property and thought this must be the cause but it turns out glyphosate (roundup) shouldn't cause acute deaths in honey bees. I am trying to find out what else would cause them to die, they have obviously come into contact with some sort of chemical. The property is in a hilly location with no crops being grown on the surrounding properties. any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated

Regards Phill

Offline 220

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2017, 02:32:01 am »
Very much doubt it would be roundup, it isn't very effective on blackberries and like you have already discovered low toxicity to bees.
metsulfuron, triclophyr and picloram are probably the most widely used herbicides for blackberries all are listed as low toxicity to bees.

Have been spraying blackberries on the farm with my bees, no obvious effect on my bees, probably close to 1000l a day for the past 3-4 weeks with the only concession to the bees being not spraying any plants that are flowering.
I think most herbicides are low toxicity to bees, even the documented health effects on mammals are normally long term cumulative effects not as the result of a single or short term exposure.

I would be looking for pesticide use locally, fruit fly control, lawn grubs etc, what has been used around the house yards locally.


Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2017, 04:26:34 am »
You mention that you have no other crops that could be being sprayed in they area. For how far? Your bees are traveling a 2 to 5 miles radius around your hives. If your bees are collecting a herbicide and a poison, it is a one two punch that is highly toxic to them. Are there a lot of residential homes that are treating there lawns and shrubs?
Jim
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2017, 09:04:37 am »
Phill, please put a location in your profile.  It helps.
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Offline Andersonhoney

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2017, 06:54:04 pm »
If spraying during the day even with round up, will kill the field bees. Even when low levels of chemicals are used I've seen this first hand. You may also notice a gap in the brood pattern and a loss of bee numbers in about 3 weeks. The damage is done now, although a medicated syrup feed ma help if not much nectar coming in.

Offline 220

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2017, 10:35:26 pm »
@Andersonhoney, interesting you report problems with bees and roundup, it goes against all the field and lab tests which show it as not fatal to bees even in field trials at above maximum usage rates.
My money would still be on insecticide of some sort, while most herbicides are listed as low toxicity to bees even at above maximum usage rates, nearly all pesticides are fatal at just about any level. Just because there isn't any cropping doesn't mean zero pesticide use, pastures are regularly sprayed for thing like red legged earth mites, pesticides are used around just about every home, spiders, ants, lawn grubs, garden pests the list is endless.

A few links on roundup and bees
https://entomologytoday.org/2015/10/13/glyphosate-acetamiprid-low-toxicity-honey-bees-2/
http://www.monsanto.com/glyphosate/documents/glyphosate-and-bee-safety.pdf

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2017, 01:35:09 pm »
>I noticed a lot of the blackberries had been sprayed and were starting to die on the property and thought this must be the cause but it turns out glyphosate (roundup) shouldn't cause acute deaths in honey bees.

And yet beekeepers all over the country keep reporting bee deaths after someone spraying roundup...
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2017, 01:56:07 pm »
It shouldn't surprise you Mike.  Studies say people don't die from Roundup.  I think it is better that you don't know.
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Offline Milo

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2017, 04:07:19 pm »
Has anyone bothered to record which formulation of glyphosate is being anecdotally reported as killing bees?

i.e. What salt? Potassium, isopropylamine, monoammonium etc.

Offline Lancej

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2017, 04:33:43 pm »
The wetting agents and some of the fillers used in herbicides are worse than the poison.  The red dye for marking causes lung damage and other problems, it's worse than most sprays.

Offline Milo

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2017, 04:48:25 pm »
That's along the lines of what was running through my head, but I am curious; at what level is potassium salt toxic to bees? Not thinking of the increased (or not) uptake of glyphosate from the different formulations. Simply at what level will potassium (or the other salts) cause imbalance/paralysis or toxicity?

Offline 220

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2017, 05:01:00 pm »
Has anyone bothered to record which formulation of glyphosate is being anecdotally reported as killing bees?

i.e. What salt? Potassium, isopropylamine, monoammonium etc.

I doubt it, it would also be nice to confirm that it was in fact glyphosate. Plenty of people just assume that is a farmer is spraying then it has to be roundup that is being used.
There are hundreds if not thousands of chemicals used around farms and the majority are known and have been shown to be more harmful to bees than glyphosate yet people seem to want to blame it for anything and everything.
In Aus at least if you see a farmer spraying you can bee 99% sure that what is being applied isn't straight roundup. At the very least it will almost certainly being applied along with a surfactant. Add a surfactant to water and spray bees and in ideal conditions there is a very good chance you will kill bees. The surfactant doesn't kill them the water does because they are properly wet.
Glyphosate is often applied along with other herbicides and pesticides, they are mixed and applied in the one application, chances are the other chemical being applied at the same time are more harmful to bees and a combination of chemicals can be harmful even when individually applied they are not.

I'm sorry but I don't buy the anecdotal reports of glyphosate killing bees, sure bees dying after spraying maybe even after spraying with glyphosate but I would be 99.99% certain they haven't died from glyphosate poisoning.


Offline Acebird

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2017, 05:17:58 pm »
If you mix pesticides with Round up don't you mess up the dosage for both chemicals?
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Offline 220

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2017, 06:05:46 pm »
Not all chemicals are compatible but when they are the amount of chemical added is rarely above 1-2% so not really.

Here is a list of herbicides LeMat a popular pesticide for control of earth mite, aphids etc is compatible with. Most of them are low toxicity to bee but the LeMat will almost certainly kill them. They claim flowers sprayed with it repel bees but at the same time state it will continue to kill earth mites that feed on sprayed pasture for up to 6 weeks and is fatal to bees directly sprayed.

2,4-DB
Brominil?
Dual?
Kerb?
Simazine
2,4-D Ester & Amine
Bromoxynil
Eclipse?
Logran?
Sprayseed?
Achieve?
Bromoxynil + MCPA
Fusilade?
Lontrel?
Spinnaker?
Ally?
Buctril? MA
Fusion?
Lexone?
Starane?
Ally + Roundup?
Buticide? 400
Gesaprim? FL
MCPA
Targa?
Atlantis?
Correct?
Gesatop? FL
MCPB
Tigrex?
Atrazine WP & FL
Decision?
Giant?
Paraquat
Tillmaster?
Balance?
Dicamba
Glean?
Reglone?
Topik?
Banvel?
Dicamba + 2,4-D or
Glyfos? + Glyfos CT
Roundup & Roundup CT
Touchdown?
Banvel M
MCPA
Goal? + Goal CT
Select?
Tristar? Advance
Barracuda?
Diquat
Gramoxone?
Sencor? SC & WG
Verdict? EC
Broadstrike?
Diurex?
Hoegrass?
Sertin? 186EC
Wildcat? 110EC
Brodal?
Diuron
Hussar?
Shirquat?
Bromicide? EC
Diuron + MCPA 500 EC
Jaguar?
Siege?

Offline Acebird

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2017, 08:20:13 pm »
Not all chemicals are compatible but when they are the amount of chemical added is rarely above 1-2% so not really.
So if I spray half Round up and half some other chemical it doesn't reduce the dosage by half for each chemical?  I am just trying to figure out the numbers.
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Offline 220

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2017, 09:27:48 pm »
So if I spray half Round up and half some other chemical it doesn't reduce the dosage by half for each chemical?  I am just trying to figure out the numbers.

No you are adding both chemicals to one lot of pure water to give you the application rate needed not combining already mixed chemical.

If your spray equipment is set up to apply 100L per ha and the application rate of the herbicide is 1L/ha then you would add 1L of herbicide to your spray tank for every 100L of water in it.
If at the same time you were going to apply a pesticide that needed to be applied at 100ml per ha then you would add it to the mixed herbicide at a rate of 100ml for every 100L that is already in the tank.

Your not mixing them separately with water and then combining them in one tank, your right in that if you were to do it that way you would be reducing the dosage by half if you still applied it at 100L per ha.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2017, 11:12:47 pm »
I did not know Roundup came in dry form.  Where can I get it?
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Offline 220

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2017, 11:27:20 pm »
It doesn't, what gave you the idea it did?
It does come in different strengths but  it all needs to be diluted to the applicable rate before application.

Bit like dishwashing liquid, you don't fill the sink with dishwashing liquid to wash your dishes you add a little to lots of water to get the job done.




Offline Lancej

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2017, 11:59:25 pm »
It's not Roundup brand, but you can get in dry form. Sorry Acebird I only know where to buy it in Australia.

Offline Andersonhoney

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2017, 07:10:19 am »
The bees losses I had on one occasion was when on a farm with canola and I think lupins (a few years ago can't quite remember). The farmer is the local agronomist and she really knows here stuff. She is very conservation minded, in fact her property was a unusable farm when she purchased it as it had been ran to hard for too long and is now a great. When I arrived one morning as I drove past my hives which were placed along the lane way either side of the two crops. (  like I said a very well ran farm). I noticed hundreds of dead bees out the front of the hives (70 ish hives). Some bees still moving, but all fresh kills. The farmer came down the lane as I was inspecting the damage. I asked what she was spraying on the weekend (it was Monday morning). She pointed out a paddock further down the lane that she had sprayed a weak solution of round up on. This is some times done to brown of a paddock a bit before putting stock on it particularly in spring when there is no dry feed. The paddock was a pasture with a mix of grasses, clovers and a little capeweed. It was the flowering capeweed that had attracted the bees. She way most apologetic and also didn't know that herbicides could affect the bees. She knows now.
It was a good lesson for us both. The hives where huge and starting to swarm so a little set back worked in my favor. It was only the field bees that had been hit that had died mainly. The hives were lined along the driveway and it was very much the hives closer to the sprayed paddock that had the largest loses. Absolutely positive that is what caused the issue.  As to wether it was glysophate the wetting agent or any other residual chemical is just academic.  If you place hives on farms there are some risks.  As there is risks in state parks too. I don't hold the farmer accountable as it's her farm and she is doing what is needed to get her job done. Good communication and understanding of each others needs is the biggest lesson I took from it.

Offline 220

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2017, 06:07:32 pm »
@Andersonhoney, thanks for the first hand info, good to hear it didn't set you back.
Still think a hell of a lot more could be learnt from the experience if it was know for sure what was the cause of the deaths.

Like you have said farmers need to do what they need to do but knowing exactly what they can do with the least negative impacts on bees would be hugely beneficial. If it was the roundup that was responsible then it goes against all the scientific evidence, knowing why it did under the circumstances would be very important. If it was the wetter then it would back up your stance that any spraying will kill bees but raises the question of what would have happened if a wetting agent wasn't used. Would the bees have been unharmed, is this what we should be pushing to farmers who do want to look after bees. Spray if you must with a low bee toxicity herbicide but don't use a wetter?
Chemical use in agriculture is a fact of life bee keepers need to live with, at the moment it appears the consensus seems to be you can have bees or you can spray you cant have both. It would be great if there was a way for farmers to continue spraying and have little impact on bees.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2017, 08:51:51 pm »
If they didn't need the wetting agent they wouldn't use it.  Chemicals reduce labor so they will continue to be used in a countries that have a high standard of living
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Offline 220

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2017, 11:02:31 pm »
A wetter increases the effectiveness and are cheaper than chemical sprays.
Same results with less chemical, but if it also comes at increased bee deaths the real cost may be higher.
Very little research  seems to have been done on wetters and their effect on bees. Most people who might be interested in doing as little harm to bees as possible would think their use would be a good thing for bees as it allows lower chemical usage rates when in fact the complete opposite may be the case.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2017, 12:10:19 pm »
Most wetters are little more than dish soap. They break the water tension so that the chemical sticks to the plant. Other wise it just beads up and rolls off. Problem is that is does the same thing to the bees when they get sprayed or contact the chemical while it is wet. It allow the chemical to enter their body instead of beading up and falling off.
Jim
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Offline 220

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2017, 08:55:55 pm »
interesting paper here on agricultural wetters/surfactants/adjuvants
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4862968/

Offline Acebird

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2017, 09:26:09 pm »
I would need a chemist that I trust to tell me what that all means but I will stick to my simple beliefs that chemicals what ever they are used on our food is good for the supplier not the consumer.  It just doesn't make sense to me that putting poisons on my food is good for me in the long run.
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Offline Skeggley

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2017, 10:48:19 am »
So still without knowing the OP's location I'm wondering why she/he is so sure they were poisoned?
Due to the poor honey season here in Oz I wonder how their stores were? The area we are in is just coming out of a summer dearth and I've seen similar with one of our colonies.

Offline threehives

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Re: Poisoned Bees- Main cause???
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2017, 10:00:45 pm »
Thanks for all the replies, I am located in Wagga Wagga, NSW. I am yet to put my finger on the cause. All the colonies had plenty of stored honey and pollen. It was definitely poisoning. Since I found the dead bees, one colony has died, hopefully the rest get through.