Sampling: Process & Cost

Concerned about pesticide contamination in your beehives, water, soil or plants? PRI provides expert consulting services to beekeepers, farmers, homeowners, and businesses interested in sampling for pesticide residues.

  • We provide testing kits and sampling protocols, shipped directly to your door.
  • For larger projects, PRI will determine an optimum sampling scheme for the materials of interest and work with you and the laboratory to collect, process, and analyze the samples.

Process

First, you will need to decide what types of samples you will collect. For beehive materials, please refer to Sampling Beehives for Pesticides, an informational page that PRI maintains to help guide beekeepers in deciding what types of samples are best for a particular type of bee-kill incident. For other sample types, please contact PRI by emailing bees@pesticideresearch.com if you would like specific guidance for your situation.

  • Once you have decided upon a sampling strategy, contact PRI and SampleKitContents request a quote by emailing bees@pesticideresearch.com. The PRI Cost Estimator can help you compare several scenarios side-by-side.
  • Upon receiving your approval and payment, we will send a sample kit to the address you provide. This kit will include a shipping box, cold pack, sample vials, gloves, cover material for workspace, sampling spatula, and padded envelopes to protect the vials. We will also include detailed instructions for the sampling procedure and preparation.
  • When you have finished documenting and preparing your samples, you will ship them directly to the laboratory. PRI’s pesticide residue analysis is sub-contracted to one of three certified commercial laboratories, depending on the types of pesticides anticipated in the sample.
  • Following analysis, we provide you with the data in tabular and graphical form and provide guidance on interpreting the results.

Pricing

collectingpollen PRI offers competitive pricing for the analysis of pesticide residues in different materials. The PRI Cost Estimator can help you determine the cost of sampling by comparing different scenarios. For each sampling kit, there is a variable fee for PRI consulting time, depending upon the number of samples you plan to send. The fee covers:

  • Sample kit preparation
  • Coordination with the certified lab
  • Data analysis, including provision of results with specific information about the chemicals detected and implications for the environment
For beekeepers, take advantage of PRI’s consulting rates by coordinating with your fellow beekeepers to send in multiple samples at once.

There is also a fixed fee of $50 for supplies (sample containers, shipping box, and prep materials), and a variable fee for shipping the Sample Kit to you, depending on speed of shipping. You will need to choose which type of analysis you wish to run:

  • $396 per sample for the USDA National Science Laboratory “Comprehensive pesticide residue analysis on apiculture samples #1” (174 chemicals and metabolites)
  • $444 per sample for the USDA National Science Laboratory “Comprehensive pesticide residue analysis on apiculture samples #2” (>200 chemicals and metabolites)
  • $220 per sample for targeted pesticide screens (miticides or neonicotinoid insecticides). The advantage of the targeted analysis is that degradation products are part of the screen as well.

For beehive matrix samples, receive $25 off of the total price by contributing your results to the PSC/PRI pesticide residue database (see below).

Download the PRI Cost Estimator

Contributing Your Results from Beehive Sampling to the PSC/PRI Database

The Pollinator Stewardship Council and Pesticide Research Institute are working with beekeepers to gather data on pesticide-related bee kills. When no poisoning incidents are reported to the US EPA, the Agency assumes that pesticide products are not causing problems for bees. However, beekeepers have been experiencing both acute bee kills and longer-term colony losses that may be related to pesticide exposure. We want to be sure that when a pesticide poisoning occurs, two things happen:

  1. A bee-kill incident report is filed with US EPA, and
  2. Samples are taken to assess which pesticide(s) the bees were exposed to.

This can be done without giving away your identity and risking losing your locations, and it is critical to making changes to protect your bees from pesticide exposure. Contact the Pollinator Stewardship Council for assistance with reporting a bee kill to US EPA. Pesticide Research Institute can help you with collecting data on the pesticide residues in your hives.

Remember: If US EPA doesn’t know about your poisoning incident, it didn’t happen, and nothing will change to prevent incidents like it in the future.

PRI conducted a nationwide survey of beekeepers regarding acute poisoning incidents and their relationship to specific crops or other pesticide uses such as mosquito control. The results show that many beekeepers are affected by pesticides, and specific crops were identified as especially problematic for bees (see Results). US EPA acknowledged that they needed more information to fully understand the issue, since the data in the EPA Ecological Incident Information System database were insufficient to assess the realities in the field.

Sharing your data will enable us to present US EPA with essential information regarding pesticide-related bee kills, so they can make informed decisions.

How the data will be used

PSC and PRI will be submitting data in aggregate form to US EPA as evidence of pesticide misuse and other pesticide impacts on managed honey bees. We will also use the data for internal research purposes to evaluate potential correlations between honey bee health and pesticide use patterns, crops on which bees forage, and pesticides to which bees are exposed. For any bee kills, we encourage all beekeepers to independently use the data as part of a report of a bee kill incident directly to US EPA or the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC). See the PSC website for more information on how to report a bee kill.

How your identity will be protected

We will never divulge your personal information. We recognize that beekeepers are concerned about losing their apiary locations if they report kills. As a result, we will only be reporting summary data at the state level.

How do I participate?

You can have your data included in the PSC/PRI database regardless of whether PRI helped with your sampling or not.

If your sampling was done through PRI:

  • Let us know you wish to participate when you sign up to receive a sample kit.
  • Download, sign, and submit the signed Data Release Form agreeing to share your data. Scan and send by email or mail a hard copy via postal mail to:
    Bee Research Team
    Pesticide Research Institute
    1400 Shattuck Ave, #8
    Berkeley, CA 94709
  • Send us an email with the following information about your samples:
    • State in which apiary is located and general information about the surrounding area (e.g., crops being grown, wildlands nearby, availability of diverse forage, etc.)
    • Date problems observed with the colony. If you are submitting samples from a healthy hive, mention that as well.
    • Date sample was taken.
    • If applicable, describe symptoms observed (e.g., dead bees in front of the hive, brood being pulled out of the cells and discarded, bees twitching and/or acting strange (describe), queen supersedure, queen failure, and any other symptoms you observe). Take photos if possible and submit them as well.
    • If applicable, describe the suspected pesticide application by crop and the identity of pesticide applied (if known).
    • Provide any other information you think may be relevant.

If your sampling was done independently and you have results from a laboratory analysis that you wish to contribute:

  • Download, sign, and submit the signed Data Release Form agreeing to share your data. Scan and send by email or mail a hard copy via postal mail to:
    Bee Research Team
    Pesticide Research Institute
    1400 Shattuck Ave, #8
    Berkeley, CA 94709
  • Email the results to us in the form the laboratory sent them to you, usually a pdf file with a list of pesticides and the residue levels measured, along with the limits of detection (LOD), also called limit of quantitation (LOQ), Reporting Limit (RL) or Method Detection Limit (MDL).
  • Send us an email with the following information about your samples:
    • State in which apiary is located and general information about the surrounding area (e.g., crops being grown, wildlands nearby, availability of diverse forage, etc.)
    • Date problems observed with the colony. If you are submitting samples from a healthy hive, mention that as well.
    • Date sample was taken.
    • If applicable, describe symptoms observed (e.g., dead bees in front of the hive, brood being pulled out of the cells and discarded, bees twitching and/or acting strange (describe), queen supersedure, queen failure, and any other symptoms you observe). Take photos if possible and submit them as well.
    • If applicable, describe the suspected pesticide application by crop and the identity of pesticide applied (if known).
    • Provide any other information you think may be relevant

We will send out periodic updates to participants, with information on how the data were used to help further pollinator protection.

Thank you for your interest in finding out more about pesticide impacts on bees!


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