ABSTRACT. . An improved model for the repellent effect of pyrethroid insecticides on insects was developed using small colonies of honey bees, Apis mellifera L., in flight cages. Conditioning to scented feeders allowed the separation of foraging bees from a single colony into paired treatment and control groups. The repellent response was characterized as a sublethal toxic effect resulting in transitory inhibition of activity. Permethrin and cypermethrin were shown to be contact repellents to honey bees; exposure was primarily to the tarsi and abdominal venter. Repellency was fully reversible within 24 h. No permanent effects on either memory function or foraging efficiency were observed following acute exposure.