A conceptual model was constructed to define the network of potential routes of exposure of pollinators to pesticides in greater detail than has previously been done. This model provides a basis for biologically and ecologically realistic basis for mathematical estimation of exposure versus time both individually and at the colony level. It also shows the distinction between primary exposure routes, such as contact during foraging with vegetation and soil, contamination of drinking water, and secondary routes of exposure in the hive including consumption of pollen, and nectar that are collected by foragers or the honey and bee bread produced in the hive. Secondary exposure from contact with nest construction materials such as wax are included. These secondary routes of exposure can affect both adults and immature life stages of social pollinators in the hive or nest. The conceptual model allows detailed consideration of the overall pattern of potential exposure, including the dynamics of exposure to various castes and life stages of social bees. This conceptual model also aids in assessing the completeness of the risk assessment and identifying exposure pathways that require further investigation.