By , on March 26th, 2010

US hive products heavily contaminated

Mike Hansen just sent me the paper via email — the paper was published quite recently (March 19th). Look at what we have been putting into the beehives!?? Some of the pesticides (especially those in pollen) are collected by bees from the field, but some, we put into the hives to control varroa, AFB, and what not.?????? Zachary

Research Article

High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bee Health

Christopher A. Mullin1*, Maryann Frazier1, James L. Frazier1, Sara Ashcraft1, Roger Simonds2, Dennis vanEngelsdorp3, Jeffery S. Pettis4

1 Department of Entomology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, United States of America, 2 National Science Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Marketing Service, Gastonia, North Carolina, United States of America, 3 Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States of America, 4 Bee Research Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Maryland, United States of America



Recent declines in honey bees for crop pollination threaten fruit, nut, vegetable and seed production in the United States. A broad survey of pesticide residues was conducted on samples from migratory and other beekeepers across 23 states, one Canadian province and several agricultural cropping systems during the 2007???08 growing seasons.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We have used LC/MS-MS and GC/MS to analyze bees and hive matrices for pesticide residues utilizing a modified QuEChERS method. We have found 121 different pesticides and metabolites within 887 wax, pollen, bee and associated hive samples. Almost 60% of the 259 wax and 350 pollen samples contained at least one systemic pesticide, and over 47% had both in-hive acaricides fluvalinate and coumaphos, and chlorothalonil, a widely-used fungicide. In bee pollen were found chlorothalonil at levels up to 99 ppm and the insecticides aldicarb, carbaryl, chlorpyrifos and imidacloprid, fungicides boscalid, captan and myclobutanil, and herbicide pendimethalin at 1 ppm levels. Almost all comb and foundation wax samples (98%) were contaminated with up to 204 and 94 ppm, respectively, of fluvalinate and coumaphos, and lower amounts of amitraz degradates and chlorothalonil, with an average of 6 pesticide detections per sample and a high of 39. There were fewer pesticides found in adults and brood except for those linked with bee kills by permethrin (20 ppm) and fipronil (3.1 ppm).


The 98 pesticides and metabolites detected in mixtures up to 214 ppm in bee pollen alone represents a remarkably high level for toxicants in the brood and adult food of this primary pollinator. This represents over half of the maximum individual pesticide incidences ever reported for apiaries. While exposure to many of these neurotoxicants elicits acute and sublethal reductions in honey bee fitness, the effects of these materials in combinations and their direct association with CCD or declining bee health remains to be determined.

The full article can be access at:

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