For beekeepers and farmers who provide and receive pollination, it is critical to know which pesticides are known to be toxic to bees, as well as their bee related warning statements in order to avoid honey bee poisoning events.
Three summary lists, originally published in Honey bee pesticide poisoning – a risk management tool for Australian farmers and beekeepers, are provided below. These lists provide details about pesticides that are registered for horticultural and broadacre use in Australia and are known to be toxic to honey bees. Pesticides that are unlikely to affect bees in broadacre and horticultural situations, such as rodent controls, livestock treatments, home garden and domestic insect sprays, have been excluded from the list.
Products have been included on the basis that they either contain a bee related warning on the product label, or they have the same active constituent(s), active constituent(s) concentration, application rate and intended use as products which contain a bee related warning on the label. All pesticides included on the Infopest database as of July 2011 were considered. It should be noted that the document contains no herbicides, fungicides or adjuvants, as none of those products used for horticultural and broadacre applications in Australia, contain a bee related warning on the label.
It is important to note that the absence of a honey bee related warning and subsequent exclusion from the list does not mean that a pesticide is entirely safe for honey bees. Whilst all new agricultural chemicals (and their label) are assessed and registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA ) some pesticides on the market have not been assessed under the current system, and may instead have been registered under the old state based system.
Sometimes a product is referred to by its active constituent, rather the actual product name. For this reason, the list is provided in three formats:
Each of these lists are extracts from Honey bee pesticide poisoning – a risk management tool for Australian farmers and beekeepers, published by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.
The intended use and target crop of registered products are very extensive and constantly change, and for this reason such details were not included in the lists. The Public Chemical Registration Information System (PUBCRIS), maintained by the APVMA, allows users to search for registered products by a range of fields, including target crop and pest, and may be a useful companion to the list provided, especially as in many cases, the product labels are available on the database.
The information about pesticides toxic to honey bees is summarised from Daryl Connelly (2012) Honey bee pesticide poisoning – a risk management tool for Australian farmers and beekeepers Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Publication 12/043.