The existence of honeybees within the ecosystem is crucial in worldwide agricultural production. Exposure of these insects to residues of many contaminants or poisonous materials like plant protection products (pesticides) causes death or reduces their activity. This study aims to assess the status of pesticide application, its use and possible impacts on bee communities in East Wollega Zone of Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia. A simple structure questionnaire and key informant interviews were conducted to generate qualitative and quantitative data. A pre-developed model called Pesticide Risks In the Tropics for Man, Environment and Trade (PRIMET) was used to determine risks to bees when beehives are in the in-crop and off-crop situations. Results of the analysis indicated that pesticides, particularly carbaryl, malathion, diazinon, fipronil, chlorpyrifos and profonefos are highly risky to bees when used in the in-crop situations (ETRs 3254-120000); while they are possibly risky when used in the off-crop scenario (ETRs 91-335). The result also revealed that farmers are not aware of how to protect bees while applying pesticides. Developing proper risk communication strategies (selecting time of application when honey bees are inactive, covering hives during application, notifying beekeepers before pesticide application) and awareness creation are recommended to avert damage.
Key words: Pesticides, risk assessment, PRIMET, bees, Ethiopia.
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