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The Effects of Pesticide


Hi Guys :slight_smile:
I am Michael from Indonesia

I already kept 15 colonies in two different locations, one of them is near agriculture zone . .
There are 6 colonies there since two months ago, they look busy bringing many food and build comb (even wild comb).
Last week I came & inspect 6 colonies, and everything look like normal. But today when I came to check the bee-flowers, I found this:

When I see the hives, usually there were dead bees like that, but due the number of dead bees are low (less than 100 bees from 6 colonies) I think this is not a problem (is this true?)

And then I smell something bad from the hives, and I was really shock when found this:

At first, I think this must be pesticide because the location is near agriculture zone, but after I check other hives everything is OK. This situation only happen in one hives, and there are some survivor bee too (I don’t check any frame at that time).

I began to thinks is this Nosema diseases?
What do you guys thinks?


Have you a microscope?
It’s easy to check for nosema if you have.
What are the frames like, by the way?

PS. I notice the dead bees all have their proboscis extended. This is often a sign of poisoning. I know you say it is only the one hive. Could the stores inside have fermented?
You need to look into all of them


I don’t have it, I may bring some samples to university, they have it but right now we are still holiday so can’t check anything right now :frowning:

I see some bees in the frames, but most bees were hanging in the wall of the hives, maybe tomorrow I check the frames, and takes some photo here . .
Thank you :slight_smile:


In my opinion, Nosema is unlikely as there is no obvious bee diarrhoea - brown streaks, near the hives. Unless you can see lots of yellow/brown streaks somewhere that is not in the photos, Nosema seems unlikely. Also, how do the brood frames look? Any sunken capped brood? Could it be AFB? I only ask because of the smell.

I think your bees have insecticide poisoning. Here in the US you can get dead bees tested for insecticides, but you have to freeze a cupful or so of them as soon as possible, because the insecticide dissipates very quickly.

If you have a local bee inspector, I would call them in for advice. Meanwhile, I blame human chemicals until proven otherwise.



I don’t see any streaks anywhere near the hive, but I see some liquid in bottom board inside the hive, where the bees died. .

That will be a nightmare for me :frowning:
But I think the smell may come from the dead bees (dunno when they dead, I checked them one week ago, and everything is normal)

At first this is my diagnosis too (sudden death, proboscis out), but is this possible only infected one hive?

Yes I already call a local bee inspector, tomorrow they will come to check this
Thank you for your opinion :slightly_smiling:


Not for that reason. N ceranae produces no diarrhoea and is much more of a problem than apis


That number of bees in such a short time I would hazard a guess CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder).

To me meaning a combination of poisoning, low brood rates, and some sort of Tigger of unhealthiness.

In a tropical zone they need a good clean water source, quality and mixed floral forage. Bees can die from single source forage if they do not get diversity of food they can become deficient, just as we do they need a diverse food source to gain essential nutrients.

Have a look at the types of forage, if it is treated with any chemicals, is there a clean water supply, is there a good balance of forageable blooms suitable for these bees. Not all bees forage on the same floral sources.

Check the brood to see the laying patterns, for supesedure cells, an incumbent laying Queen that is properly mated, if the hive has swamed and or cast 1 or more swarms, if there is signed of wax moth, AFB, EFB, Noseme, SBB (Small hive beetles), pepperpot, brood, you need to take a really close look at each hive and each frame.

Change glove between hives

You need to be Scientific and log your findings. Isolate and find any obvious problems, look how other hive are faring. See if any diseases have been recognised or diagnosed near by.

The more research you put in now will help to see what problem caused this and how it can be prevented next time.


Please do let us know what they say, then we can all learn from this. Thank you!



Yes please, do et us know.
I don’t think it is CCD. It doesn’t occur in the UK so I have never seen it but the adult bees just “disappear” from the colonies, leaving behind a box full of honey, pollen, capped brood, a queen, and maybe a few worker bees. You don’t see heaps of dead bees. My money is still on some sort of toxin and the smell being decomposing bees/brood in the heat.


I would also rule CCD out. I’d also rule out AFB, EFB & wax moth. That colony may have found a food source that has been sprayed with pesticides. I can’t see any evidence of Nosema. The foul smell could be coming from SHB larvae on the dead bees or simply the dead bees themselves. If it is SHB, get on to it straight away to prevent thousands more being bred in that hive to make matters worse for the other hives.


I provide them with them water feeder, there are 2 water feeder (I bring water from the well, in the same location)
I seen many different plant in that area, so I guess there must be mixed floral for the forage. Before I put my hives there, the bee inspector already came & check the location, and he said the area is good, the bees will doing great.
Two week ago, when I conduct full inspection I see the queen are laying well, found some swarm cell in the other hives, also seen wild comb being build up.

There are no SHB here in Indonesia, but last week I found wax moth in the other hives, like this:

there are 3 wax moth, they were died already. When I check the frame, I see the bees covered the whole frame. I also check the frame and see no sight of worm, or other things like that just bees . .
But I will check this out again today, and post what I found.

Plan to moved every hives (except the infected hive) to other location, near the resident area today. .
and then check the infected hive, but I will hear the instructor first. .
Hopeful this situation never happen again

Thank You Valli :wink:


Yes, of course friends :slight_smile:

Most bee died in the hives, so I agree this is not CCD, yes the smell may come from decomposing bees, I will check this out today :slight_smile:

I also suspect this,
but today the instructor will come and I will like to hear what he said, and post here too

Thank you guys :slightly_smiling:


Your welcome Michael, good luck with that. I couldn’t help notice that maybe your entrance is in the middle of the hive. I’m a fan of the entrance at the bottom of the hive. It’s much easier for the bees to discard debris & dead bees at the bottom, I think.

I was wondering if robber bees got into your hive & killed a lot of bees in order to steal their honey.

Also in Japan, they have a giant hornet that raids beehives & kills many bees in order to steal bee larvae & pupae to feed to their young. Do you have anything like that in Indonesia?


Entrance at the bottom of the hive, is widely used in Indonesia (I think every beekeeper in Indonesia except me used that). After keeping bee for some months, I prefer middle entrance because of this animals :

always enter the hives and start eating my bees. We called this “Cicak” (Gecko), usually they eat mosquito and other insect). The middle entrance seem solved this problem, so I used them until now. The debris and dead bees will be clean out by me.

I don’t think this is robber (some say “Bee War”) because there not many bees died in the front of the entrance. .

like this?

No we don’t have it right now, but we have some wasp here,

but I think the bees usually overcome this problem, sometime when I check the hives, I found dead wasp there :slightly_smiling:

Anyways @JeffH, have u noticed that the bees are hanging in the wall of the hive not the frames, is that a problem?


That could be a problem. You’ll know more once you inspect the frames. The only thing that I have that would keep the bees off the frames is SHB, after which, they abscond. You could have a bad case of AFB but if that was the case, you wouldn’t have all those dead bees. Anyway, good luck with that, cheers


Yes, good luck mate.
Always dreadful to see bees like that.


Is your location affected by varroa mites?


Hi everybody . .
@Dee @Dawn_SD @Valli @JeffH @Red_Hot_Chilipepper
Yesterday we (with bee inspector) check every hives & every frames in that locations. .
Here’s what happen:


  1. There are not any streaks found (either hives or floors)
  2. No bad smell from the hives (maybe the smell come from the dead bees that were decomposing)
  3. The hives seem in good condition
  4. There are some dead bees again (in the floors)


  1. There are 2 from 6 colonies that are heavily infected (or in very bad condition).
  2. Every colonies suffer losses (Bee population decline), the condition each colonies is different.
  3. My strongest colonies is alive, but there are only some brood left, the bees population suffer some casualties, there are some drone left.


  1. Every Queen is alive, just like usual
  2. But not lying any eggs.


  1. Almost every bees are fat
  2. The bees seems weak and only some bees that can fly and then fall again.
  3. Dead bees all have their proboscis extended.


  1. Good condition
  2. There are not any wax moth, or some like that
  3. There are some frames that the bees are build up
  4. There are some eggs in the new frame
  5. No pollen or nectar left in the comb
  6. Almost no brood or eggs in the old frame


  1. Almost none either in bottom board or in the dead brood

The conclusions:

  1. The bee inspector said that he never seen something like this before (at least in 25 years in the field), and was shocked when he open the hives.

  2. He already check every hives and didn’t found any disease, or something like that.

  3. "The forage MAY fly near the agriculture zone that are being spray by the farmers (in the same day or even same hours), most forage are died . . there are 2 situation may happen here: (Or this 2 things are happen in the same time)

  4. The colonies food supply began to decline and empty so the bees are died from starvation (Forage bees can’t support the colonies). = No nectar & pollen in the comb

  5. There are some forage went back to colonies with the bad nectar and give it to the colonies, and it caused massive dead to the populations in the short period of time = Proboscis extended

Because the supply are running low, the bees may start to fight each other. (Robbing)
The “healthy” bees population can’t take the dead bee out from the hive because of middle entrance. = bad smell.
Not need to worry because the pesticide effect will last only for 1-2 days (after the farmer spray the plants), so not need to moved the hives right now, it’s safe"

What we did:

  1. We took out some frame, left some for the colonies according to it’s strength.
  2. Every hives now using bottom entrance (not middle entrance)
  3. Give stimulant in every colonies (the frames & the feeder) = the bees start to fly and buzz. . .
  4. Use any dead bees as fertilizer for plants (?)

What do you think guys?


Yes, in fact the varroa mites were coming from this island Java


Hi Michael,

Thank you so much for typing all this out for us, and posting the photos.

I think your bee inspector is right. In summary, insecticide probably killed a lot of forager bees away from the hive, but those which made is back then died inside. The nurse bees and drones have eaten most of the stores because so many foragers died. They may even have eaten larvae if they were starving with no pollen. The bad smell was probably from dead bees trapped inside the hive because of the middle entrance.

I think your plans for a remedy are good - feeding the bees with an in-hive feeder is going to be essential. If you can get some pollen substitute, that might help too. Personally I would look into reducing weak hives to one brood box by removing empty frames, or even going down to a nucleus box. That makes it easier for the remaining bees to defend the space. The other possibility is to merge weak hives together, but I hate to lose good queens, so that would be a last resort. One other thing to consider is an entrance reducer (or even a mouse guard) to make the guard bees’ job easier, and prevent your lizard friend from raiding the hive.

Please let us know what happens over the coming weeks. This is a valuable learning experience for all of us. I will be very interested to read what others think.