Is Permethrin Safe for Bees

Is Permethrin Safe for Bees – Everything You Should Know

Insecticide and pesticide spraying are an important part of land farming. But it can be a nightmare for beekeepers. 

There are some chemicals that don’t affect bees but a lot more that do. And you come across permethrin. Which is a widely used chemical by house farmers.

So this raises the question, is permethrin safe for bees?

No, it is very toxic for bees. It should be sprayed during nighttime when the bees are not out for harvesting. Permethrin kills bees who go to gather nectar and pollen for food. Be cautious and keep bees at their hives. Move them elsewhere if necessary.It also kills other pollinators like butterflies.

That is the answer to your question. But there is still a lot to learn. So let’s hop in!

How Important are Bees for the Environment?

We may take them for granted, but bees are key to our survival.

Bees are adapted to be great pollinators. They are responsible for pollinating most crops we have around us. 

Honeybees produce honey as well as pollinate fruits and flowers. Wild bees also pollinate many native plants that can’t be pollinated by anything else.  Here’s what the FAO had to say regarding Bees and their importantce.

While trying to gather their food and resources, the bees transfer pollen from flowers to flowers. 

Without this, we would never have this vast variety of flowers and crops around us. And they get severely affected by permethrin bee toxicity

Symptoms of Bee Poisoning with Permethrin

It’s commonly asked that is permethrin bad for bees? The answer is yes but finding out its symptoms aren’t quite easy. It’s challenging to know about bee poisoning by permethrin beforehand.

Most insecticide spraying is planned roughly an hour or two before. So you need to look out for some signs that will tell you that your bees are getting affected.

One of the first signs that you will see is that there will be a pile of dead bees in front of the hive. This is a distinct indication of pesticide poisoning in bees.

Also, the bees will act aggressively and show different unusual dance patterns to communicate.

Permethrin and other insecticides cause organ failure in bees. Also, they disorient them.

Due to that, you will find crawler bees that are unable to fly. They will also show signs of paralysis and abnormal jerky movement.

Some bees will also show the symptom of spinning on their back. 

If you look closely, you will also notice that many blooming crops will be empty. 

Usually, new blooming corps are the main attraction for honeybees. But if it is affected by pesticides, then the bee surrounding it will be very less.

And inside the beehive, you will find poorly maintained or dead broods.

Also, there will be a shortage of newly made bees. And the queen also could act abnormally.

Bees can also be seen to abandon their hive.

What Danger Does Permethrin Pose on Bees?

In recent days, the number of bees is decreasing at an alarming rate. This is something to worry about.

One of the main reasons behind this is the vast use of various pesticides like Permethrin. Dragonflies harm bees but that is nowhere near the threat these chemicals pose.

People have been using pesticides to keep pests off their crops. But most homegrown farmers don’t follow the number of pesticides that should be used.

If used by proper guidelines, pesticides wouldn’t have made such an impact. But it seems that the growing use of pesticides has a direct impact on the decreasing number of bees.

What Can be Done to Protect Bees From This?

To protect bees in this situation, we need combined efforts of both beekeepers and pesticide appliers. 

Because this is a delicate and serious matter. And just one side won’t be able to solve it.

Here’s what can be done to save bees:

1. Following Label Direction

Every pesticide has a specific applying limit. This limit is set by experts who know which amount is safe to use.

But most home farmers do not care about this and apply as much as they like. They somewhat affect their land but affect other lives more.

If the pesticide and insecticides are applied according to their application limit, they would be broken down by the sun soon. 

Those amounts quickly drop to the ground and get absorbed by the soil. So bees don’t get affected by it.

2. Relocation of Bees

Relocating bees can be very helpful in this matter. 

When pesticides and insecticides like permethrin are applied in an area, the effect lasts a few days.

The amount that goes airborne doesn’t affect humans or others but it affects bees when they go out to forage.

And if the bees are closed in their hives for too long then they could overheat and die.

So relocating for a few days is a good solution.

3. Informing Beforehand

Relocating bees takes time. But pesticides are usually sprayed at night’s time.

So the farmers or pesticide appliers should let the beekeepers know a day beforehand.

This way the beekeepers will have enough time to make necessary changes. And the bees do not get harmed.

4. Keeping the Bees at Bay

After getting information about pesticide spraying, you should confine your bees in the hive for a while.

Running the sprinkler in the garden does the work. As the bees think it is raining. And they don’t go outside.

You should also keep the queen safe. You can put the queen in a queen cage for the time being. But this should not be done for a long time.

5. Timing & Choosing the Right Chemicals

Bees normally go out to forage in the daytime. So any type of pesticide spraying should take place at night.

But low-temperature nights should be avoided. Because the formation of dew leaves the pesticide on the ground for a long time. So don’t forget to keep track of the temperature. 

Here we have listed some good quality thermometers that will help you in this regard-

Also, farmers should use insecticides which tend to get absorbed quickly. And is the least harmful to bees.

Now you know what is the best course of action for your bees. Next time you hear news of pesticide spraying, don’t forget to close your hive doors.

How are Bees Coming in Contact with Pesticides? 

Bee’s diet mainly comprises nectar, pollen, and water. And all 3 of these are potential sources for pesticide poisoning.

Bees can also come into contact with pesticides that are suspended in dust or airborne liquid. 

Bees mainly are attracted to blooming crops. And when they collect their food from a pesticide sprayed field, they come in contact with the pesticide.

Also even if the bees are not visiting those crops, there are

other ways. Using automated machines to plant seeds or spray pesticides plays a role too.

They kick the pesticide-infected dust very high from the ground. And the bee comes into contact with it while flying. Also, the dust settles on other flowers too.

And when bees sit on those flowers they are affected by pesticides as well.

Sometimes bees can get attracted by blooming weeds too. And various chemicals are often used to eradicate weeds too. 

As a result, those bees who sit on those weeds die too.


Regularly asked questions about Permethrin are specified below.

Can Permethrin Cause Cancer?

Permethrin can cause cancer. But it takes a long exposure of heavy amounts. Pesticides do not contain that amount of permethrin so it is classified as mild carcinogen.

Can You Use Permethrin on Vegetables?  

Yes, you can use permethrin on vegetables. It is one of the most useful pesticides in vegetable gardening. It can be used in a wide array of vegetables, also to control termites.

Are Butterflies Pollinators?

Yes, butterflies are natural pollinators too. But they don’t do as much pollen transfer as bees. Honey Bees are nature’s best pollinators.


We hope this article answered is permethrin safe for bees. This was an important piece of information and hopefully, you’ll be able to take better care of your bees from now on.

Have a good day and best of luck!

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