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Erratic Bee Movement - Poisoned?

On the weekend I noticed a bee seriously struggling on the ground in front of one of my hives (see link for a video below). I believe this erratic movement indicates poisoning.

I’m not aware of any agricultural land near my hives, I live in a mostly residential and native bush/beach scrub area. I suspect it could have been from a neighhbour spraying insecticides. This was the only bee doing this and I didn’t notice any dead bees around the hive.

Is anyone familiar with this erratic movement and knows the cause?


Oh Bianca, so awful to watch!! I tried to see if she could move her front legs, were they paralyzed or was she using them to frantically wipe her proboscis, and the terrible shuddering her whole body was doing :fearful:

Hard to say why this bee was in such a state, but poisoning seems possible.

Here’s what I found that seems relevant:


Yes, very hard to watch :pensive:

I uploaded another 2 videos to the folder. It actually does look like her front legs may be paralysed, definitely in the third video.

Hi Bianca, while watching your video, I wondered if the bee was a recently emerged bee. I could be wrong, but does she have more fur around the thorax than a regular foraging bee. If so, she may have been unceremoniously turfed out on account of some disability.

Interesting thought.

It didn’t occur to me that she was a younger bee. Looking at the video again though I believe she resembles more of an adult. See photo below of her particularly non-fluffy looking thorax.

Screen Shot 2021-04-27 at 1.38.00 PM

I brought some bees inside to see if they were as fluffy under the wings as yours & it appears that they are. We took some photos, but couldn’t get the bees to sit still long enough. I see that yours in bald on top, however the overall appearance looked to me like a younger bee. It might be an adult bee that got injured during a fight, trying to defend the hive or something like that.

The only thing I know about bees getting poisoned is that they die with their tongue out.

Wilma’s working on trying to get a good photo.

PS I copied the image from my video.


I think the tops of the thorax’s, especially the three at the bottom in the middle look less furry than the one in your hand.


True, I see what you’re saying and actually hope your theory is true rather than mine. I’ll keep an eye out for more of this.

Thanks for your help guys (and Wilma).


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You’re welcome Bianca, I guess having bees in suburbia must have risks with bees visiting gardens that have recently been sprayed with pesticides. However people do complain that they don’t see any bees in their gardens. That could be a good thing when you think about it. I tell people how the bees go for the best nectar source via the waggle dance. As long as there’s lots of flowering native trees, the bees will ignore back yards.