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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Best Management Practices > Pollinators and Their Habitat > Bee Kill Compensation

Pesticide Investigation into Honey bee Death


A brochure has been developed to help beekeepers and pesticide applicators understand Minnesota's Bee Kill Compensation program.

Bee Kill Investigations

In order for the MDA to respond to an alleged pesticide bee kill, complaints must be reported in writing to the Pesticide & Fertilizer Management Division. Submit a written complaint online.

Upon receipt of a written complaint, the MDA sends a team of pesticide investigators with training in pesticide investigations, bee handling/colony assessment to the site where the dead bees are located.

Samples of live/dead bees and other materials are taken to determine the presence of pesticides, colony pests and overall colony health. In addition, the MDA attempts to determine the extent of pesticide use in areas adjacent to hive locations through contacting pesticide dealers, growers and applicators in the area.

The MDA Laboratory Services Division (LSD) is a State Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) laboratory and analyzes MDA samples for pesticide residues.  Samples may also be analyzed by the USDA Lab in Gastonia, North Carolina under contract to the MDA.

The University of Maryland evaluates honey bee samples for the mite, Varroa destructor, known to vector viruses and reduce bee longevity and the fungal pathogen, Nosema spp. that invades a bee’s gut causing adverse effects. North Carolina State University evaluates samples for a set of bee viruses that cause adverse effects.

Once analytical results are received by the Pesticide & Fertilizer Management Division, the MDA confers internally regarding all evidence collected and attempts to determine the cause of the bee kill as well as provide an underlying assessment of colony health. Individual investigation summaries are created for each bee kill. Legislation passed in 2014 authorizes the MDA to compensate beekeepers for honey bee colony loss due to “acute pesticide poisoning.” Revisions to Minnesota’s Pesticide Laws (Minn. Stat. chapter 18B) went into effect July 1, 2014.

Follow the links below to view the annual summaries of MDA Pesticide Bee Kill Complaint Investigations

Summary of MDA Pesticide Bee Kill Complaint Investigations in 2014 (PDF: 427 KB / 16 pages)

Summary of MDA Pesticide Bee Kill Complaint Investigations in 2015 (PDF: 437 KB / 18 pages)

Bee Kill Compensation

New: Registry Requirement for Bee Kill Compensation in Minnesota

In an effort to improve communication between pesticide applicators and beekeepers, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has designated BeeCheck, located at driftwatch.org, as a voluntary registry for beekeepers to communicate apiary locations to pesticide applicators. The 2015 Minnesota Legislature passed a law requiring beekeepers to be registered with a MDA designated registry, BeeCheck, if they would like to be eligible for compensation under the Compensation for acute pesticide poisoning of bees law. The new compensation eligibility requirements went into effect August 1, 2015. There is no fee for registering apiary locations on BeeCheck.

NOTE: Beekeepers can select during the registration process whether or not their apiary location will appear on the public map, or if they are only visible to applicators registered on BeeCheck. Registered applicators participating in BeeCheck can view all apiary locations (public map viewing and hidden sites), whereas non-registered applicators will not be able to view hidden apiary sites.

To register visit BeeCheck.

18B.055 COMPENSATION FOR BEES KILLED BY PESTICIDE; APPROPRIATION

The statute allows for compensation when an MDA investigation determines that of “acute pesticide poisoning.”  In consultation with a number of stakeholders, including national and local academic experts, as well as commercial and hobbyist beekeepers, an “acute pesticide poisoning,” for purposes of the law’s implementation, is considered an event reported to the MDA, report a bee kill related to pesticide use, wherein dead bees collected in/around the honey bee hive have pesticide residues present; and where there is likely 100 or more dead bees in/around the hive, at the time of the investigation, for every live frame of bees quantified. If there are 3 or fewer frames of bees present, a minimum of 300 dead bees need to be collected; if there are 10 or more frames of bees present, a maximum of 1,000 dead bees need to be collected.  Quantification of the number of individual dead bees is performed using a volumetric measurement. Pesticide exposure and residue analysis is evaluated using state and federal laboratories.

Compensation for an “acute pesticide poisoning” may be made at a “fair market value” for an affected colony when a beekeeper submits a compensation claim form to the MDA. The “fair market value” is established by academic experts and beekeepers and is intended to help mitigate monetary losses including the loss of labor, honey, pollination services, equipment and bees. The "fair market value" is reevaluated on an annual basis.

The compensation value of a colony considered "acutely" poisoned by pesticides is currently $230.

When an alleged pesticide related bee kill is reported to the MDA, the complainant has the right to submit a compensation claim form for “acute pesticide poisonings” of bees. On this form, the complainant has the opportunity to request and justify an upward compensation adjustment. Once the MDA investigation is completed and closed, claim forms will be reviewed and compensation made, as appropriate, by the MDA commissioner.  Requests for upward adjustments to compensation will be considered in consultation with academic experts and beekeepers. Claim forms can be downloaded below:

MDA honey bee colony compensation claim form (PDF: 104 KB / 2 pages)

To view a graphical and written representation of MDA’s investigation process for alleged bee kills caused by pesticides as related to compensation visit:

Investigation Process for Alleged Pesticide Related Bee Kills as Related to Compensation

To view meeting notes from MDA discussions with the Bee Kill Compensation Advisory Group visit:

2015 Bee Kill Compensation Discussion Meeting Notes (PDF: 246 KB / 5 pages)

2014 Bee Kill Compensation Discussion Meeting Notes (PDF: 632 KB / 13 pages)

 NEW  The MDA has created an email list server dedicated to providing you with the latest information on review related topics being researched for the Special Registration Review of Neonicotinoid Use, Registration, and Insect Pollinators Impacts in Minnesota, along with other pollinator related activities the MDA is involved with or observing.

Sign up: Pollinator List Server