Dead bees

Asked August 13, 2018, 4:28 PM EDT

Other people, other than myself, have commented that they are seeing bees dying & dead bees in our gardens. This scared me. We need our bees desperately. Can you tell me something about this problem??

Clatsop County Oregon bee health

1 Response

This is a complicated question. First, not all striped winged insects are bees. Second, Oregon has over 500 species of bees, so its hard to generalize. If you are able to send in a picture that will help us figure out what is going on.

Bees can die for a variety of reasons, many of them natural. Natural causes of death can increases as we head into late summer and early fall, as many adult bees near the end of their life cycle (apart from honey bees, the state's bees don't live in colonies that survive the winter, instead, the youngsters from this year are in a resting stage either in a twig or the ground).

Bees, can, however, die from improper use of insecticides. This typically looks like 5 or more bees dead in a clump. The bees will show sign of poisoning; some of the bees may still be twitching, rolling around on their backs and regurgitating nectar. If you suspect a bee poisoning you should contact the Oregon Department of Agriculture:
https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/Pesticides/Pages/PollinatorIssues.aspx
To learn more about the ODA's bee pesticide reporting system, listen to the following podcast:
http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/pollinationpodcast/2018/07/23/dale-mitchell/