Bee poisoning can be caused by various factors: from the infectious process to the improper care of insects. It often becomes the cause of mass deaths of residents of the hive. In each case, a complex of symptoms is observed, indicating intoxication and its cause.
One of the most common causes that causes mass death of bees is mortal poisoning. We are talking about the presence in the food that insects consume, paddy substances, which are produced by some insects (aphids, leaf flies) and plants or trees - poplar, aspen, fir.
The mouth that harms bees tastes sweet, so they consume it in large quantities. Insects eat the honeydew honey most often with a lack of nutrients. As a result, a severe digestive upset occurs.
Due to mass poisoning, the bee family is weakening, the death of the uterus is possible. In the most severe cases, all insects from the hive die.
When examining dead bees, changes in the intestine are revealed: its color becomes black or dark brown. It is flabby and fragile, easily destroyed.
Most often, mortal poisoning is noted in the summer, when a large number of paddy accumulate in the nest. The possibility of mass intoxication in the autumn-winter period is not ruled out.
To detect a pad and eliminate infected honey, you need to check it this way:
- take a tablespoon of honey from the hive and dissolve it in the same amount of water;
- add to the resulting composition 10 parts of ethyl alcohol;
- shake the mixture.
If the composition is cloudy, then it contains a pad that is dangerous for insects. If it remains transparent, then honey is safe.
If during the inspection it was found that the honey is infected, then it must be removed and disposed of, and a new one should be filled in instead. You can also give bees sugar syrup in large quantities, so that the insects have time to prepare the necessary amount of honey for the winter. In this case, at least 8 kg of sugar should be attributed to one family.
Intoxication of bees with nectar
Poisoning of honey insects with nectar can occur when it is collected from plants poisonous to bees. The risk of infection increases if such plants can be found within a radius of 1 km from the apiary.
Poisonous plants that can cause nectar toxicosis include:
- black nightshade;
- pharmacy rosemary;
- marsh marigold;
- St. John's wort
- laurel noble.
In nature, there are about 35 families of higher plants whose pollen is poisonous to bees. Under bad weather conditions, even non-toxic plants can produce toxic nectar.
The pathogenicity of nectar is due to the presence in it of essential oils, alkaloids, saponins and some other components that cause the death of honey insects.
Most often, intoxication of bees with nectar occurs in late May or early June. Adverse factors such as drought, rainy weather, and low temperatures increase the risk.
Nectar poisoning begins with an excited state of bees, which gradually turns into oppression. Due to paralysis of the limbs, wings, abdomen and mustache, insects lose their ability to move and fly. They can only make weak movements.
The duration of intoxication, as well as the outcome, depends on the particular poisonous plant from which the nectar was collected. If the insects collected it from the bleached, then the poisoning period lasts up to 20 days, after which there comes a mass death. Bees also die in large numbers from buttercup pollen. When collecting nectar from onions, insects suffer from severe digestive upsets. In addition, oviposition is reduced in the uterus and the larvae partially die.
Honey containing poisonous nectar causes poisoning not only bees, but also people.
Honey insects are etched with pollen. Pollen toxicosis is a non-communicable disease that belongs to the group of phytotoxicosis.
A similar disease is associated with the flowering period of plants poisonous to insects that grow in the vicinity of the apiary. Pollen from the plants mentioned in the previous paragraph is dangerous for bees. They contain in excess glycosides, alkaloids and essential oils that are harmful to honey plants.
Gathering bees that bring pollen to the hive by placing it in the hind legs do not suffer from it. Intoxications are more susceptible to young insects aged 3-13 days when eating poisoned pollen brought into the hive.
Under the influence of toxic substances, which are part of the pollen of poisonous plants, there is a violation of digestion and peristalsis, undigested particles accumulate in the body, which causes poisoning.
Bees are restless, are in an excited state. They are not able to move. Many insects fall out of the hives and creep on the ground.
If the poisoning is severe, then not a single individual dies, but a significant part of the bee family, not excluding queens, drones , as well as an open and sealed brood.
Poisoning also occurs with the use of pollen from non-toxic plants, in which toxin-forming microbes develop. These are pathogenic microorganisms of the groups of mucors, aspergillus, actinomycetes.
Salt poisoning of bees
Salt toxicosis is another form of bee poisoning. It occurs in autumn, winter or spring. Intoxication occurs as a result of an excess of mineral salts in the body of honey plants that enter the body along with food and water.
Most often, salt poisoning is associated with feeding sugar waste with an admixture of mineral salts to the bees, as well as supplying them with water, in which the salt content is increased. Bees can become infected if they drink contaminated sewage from livestock farms.
With salt toxicosis in insects, degenerative changes in the intestine occur, as well as the accumulation of microorganisms in certain parts of the intestine.
Most often, worker bees suffer from salt poisoning. The severity of intoxication depends on the concentration of salts in feed or water.
Symptoms of intoxication are typical: insects initially become excited, actively crawl along the hive and crawl out of it. They have a strong thirst. After a while, the bees become lethargic, suffer from diarrhea.
An adverse outcome is more often observed in the winter. In bees, irreversible degenerative changes in the intestine occur, resulting in death.
Chemical toxicosis in honey plants occurs when poisoning with chemical preparations (herbicides, insecticides), which are treated with plants to control pests of crops.
Poisoning can cause:
- intestinal insecticides (arsenic, methoxychlor, barium, thiophos): poisoning occurs when chemicals are ingested by the bee that cause the death of both adults and larvae;
- aqueous solutions of mineral fertilizers with which the leaves of plants are sprayed;
- fumigate insecticides used in vapor or gaseous form (hydrocyanic acid, dichloroethane, naphthalene).
Chemical intoxication is recorded during the period of vital activity of bees - from April to October.
The course of poisoning depends on the type and degree of concentration of the chemical. When a bee enters the body of a fast-acting poison, the insect dies quickly. In this case, the poisoned individuals do not have time to return to the hive and die on the way home.
If a bee has collected nectar, which contains a slow-acting chemical, then it manages to bring it to the hive. This causes mass extinction of families.
Chemical poisoning occurs in bees typically, starting with the phase of excitation, which gradually flows into a state of oppression.
Measures to prevent bee poisoning include the following:
- Temporary isolation of bees in the case of chemical treatment in areas within a radius of 7 km from the apiary. Apiary owners must be warned about the planned event 3 days before it.
- Proper storage of chemicals. At the sites in which toxic mixtures were made, plowing is performed. Paper bags and wood flooring are burned.
- The return of insects to the place treated with hazardous substances, not earlier than after 20 days.
- Creation of a special feed base for beekeeping. Sweet clover, buckwheat and other honey plants should be planted in the accessory areas. Planting should be done in such a period that their flowering period coincides with the processing of plants with chemicals. Read about the best honey plants for bees here .
Bee poisoning most often occurs when bees consume pollen or nectar collected from toxic or chemical treated plants. To reduce the risk of intoxication among honey plants, you need to create a sufficient forage base for bees and follow safety rules when processing plants with chemicals.