Updated at 2:35 p.m., Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Hawaii beekeepers making progress against varroa mite
The local field office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Statistics Service reported that a treatment using vaporized formic acid in bee colonies is giving beekeepers some momentum in their fight against the mite.
Varroa mites are a parasite that kill honeybees. Use of the formic acid kills a large percentage of mites, allowing beekeepers to control infestation, the USDA report said.
March 29th, 2010
BASF and NOD Apiary Products partner for bee health
LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany and ONTARIO, Canada 29h of March, 2010 – BASF and NOD Apiary Products have announced a partnership to bring to European beekeepers a new product that controls the Varroa destructor, a parasitic mite that has been identified by independent institutions as a major contributor to the declining number of bee hives on a global scale.
BASF and NOD are investing in “Mite Away™ Quick Strips” (MAQS), which target Varroa mites while they feed on developing baby bees. The backbone of this easy-to-use strip is a film made of BASF’s biodegradable plastic Ecoflex®, which is filled with the miticide formic acid in a saccharide (plant sugar) formulation. The strip’s secret: Designed to penetrate the brood cap, it stops the mite where it reproduces.
“Through our work with scientists, farmers and beekeepers in the Bee Biodiversity Network in France, we have gained a broad understanding of the factors impacting bee health,” says Sandrine Leblond, France-based BASF bee expert. The Network has delivered practical, tested solutions to improve bee nutrition, but to date there is no easy way to control the Varroa mite. Bringing MAQS to the market will help fill this gap, supporting beekeepers and BASF’s farmer customers.
The strips reproduce a defense mechanism observed in nature. Formic acid occurs in the venom of bees and the sting of many insects, such as ants. Nonetheless, it is the convenience and effectiveness of MAQS that gives beekeepers’ peace of mind. The strip can be applied right through the season and beekeepers also enjoy the benefit of a single application product with a short treatment period (7 days versus 42). In product trials in the US, Canada and France, MAQS have controlled up to 97 percent of Varroa mites.
Paying tribute to NOD’s entrepreneurial spirit, Markus Heldt, President of BASF’s Crop Protection division said, “We are pleased to be part of a positive solution that addresses the important issue of bee health, which is of central importance to beekeepers and farmers. This is a great example of partnership on many levels. The solution was co-designed not just by BASF and NOD, but importantly by the people who experience the problem first hand – beekeepers. Within BASF, we also used expertise and products from across a number of different divisions.”
David VanderDussen, CEO of NOD Apiary Products said, “I am excited about this relationship and I am very pleased with BASF’s great support. While our companies are very different in terms of size and focus, we share common values and are both passionate about the importance of biodiversity and the protection of the honeybee.”
The strips are already on the market in Canada and the U.S., and authorities in Hawaii requested and received a “Special Local Needs” registration to ensure that beekeepers obtain access to the solution as quickly as possible. BASF and NOD plan to work with registrations authorities in Europe to make MAQS available to the European beekeeping community within 2 years.
According to the terms of the agreement, BASF will provide substantial support to facilitate a global product launch, including on-going technical and regulatory assistance over a five year period. Both companies currently co-own the patent, with BASF committed to providing support for product registration and distribution within the EU.
NOD Apiary is located in Frankford Ontario.
What is MAQS?
MAQS is a Biopesticide. The core is a plant-based gel containing formic acid. The strip is thinner than the height of a bee so it fits in the bee-space between hive parts.
Why Formic Acid?
Formic acid is a very common acid in the environment, part of many foods and drinks, such as coffee. As well formic acid is one of Nature’s defense chemicals, found in plants (nettles) and ant venom. Formic acid is NOD’s active ingredient of choice as it is a component of honey, not an impurity, so the concern is not residues but levels. NOD monitored the levels of formic acid in the honey before, during, and post treatment. Levels remained within what occurs naturally in honey.
MAQS is not seen as posing any risk to the environment or causing food contamination.
Target within a Target: The male varroa.
Males live only within the capped brood cell. They do not develop a hard outer shell so they are more susceptible to the formic acid vapours. With the MAQS formulation enough formic acid is able to penetrate the brood cell cappings to cause varroa death, yet leaves the pupating larva unharmed. An element of the treatment is the bee’s natural ventilation response when MAQS is applied – air movement created by the bees drives the vapours into the cells.
Varroa Sex: going for Sterility:
Varroa reproduction takes place in the capped brood cell, where the baby honeybee is pupating. For worker bees, the cells are capped for 12 days, for drones, the cells are capped for 14 days.
The female varroa mite goes into the cell just before the workers cap it over. She lays her first egg 60-72 hours after the cell is capped (2.5 days at the earliest) and it is a male. The first female egg is laid 30 hours after that (3.75+ days after capping). It takes 5-6 days for the female to become sexually mature (9+ days after the cell is capped).
The male produces sperm packets, which he takes into his mouth and places in the v*gina of the most recently sexually mature female. Multiple matings are required over 30 hours to ensure full fertility (10 + days after the cell is sealed). The varroa from the first female egg laid has a very high probability of successfully mating; the second has a very low mating success rate in worker brood, high success rate in drone brood.
If the male varroa is killed at any time within 10 to 11 days of the cell being capped over, even if the female sisters survive they will not be fertilized, so no female offspring.
Mite Away Quick Strip™ Development and Results:
Gel formulations were developed in the lab at NOD Apiary Products. The target was to have an effective rate of vapour release spanning three days. The colony’s drive for homeostasis (control of Temperature and Relative Humidity) is a factor in the product’s effectiveness. After achieving success in incubator trials NOD took action to have trials conducted in the field. Trials were conducted in Hawaii, Florida, Texas, France and Ontario in 2009.
MAQS performance far exceeded expectations!
In the field trials NOD’s formulation achieved almost 100% kill of the varroa males in both drone and worker cells and over 95% kill of the phoretic mites.
As well, we achieved excellent efficacy killing female varroa under the cap; 65 to 80% in drone brood, over 95% in worker brood.
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We’re in the Bee Protection Business!!
613-398-8422, Toll free 866-483-2929
Formic Acid Pad
For Treatment of Honeybee Colonies Infested with Varroa or Tracheal Mites
DANGER – CORROSIVE TO SKIN AND EYES
POTENTIAL SKIN SENSITIZER
READ THE LABEL BEFORE USING
KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN
GUARANTEE: Formic Acid….47.65%
REGISTRATION NO. 27836 PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS ACT
Net Contents: 10 pads
NOD Apiary Products Ltd.
P.O. Box 117, 2325 Frankford Rd.
Frankford, Ontario, Canada K0K 3E0
Phone: 866-483-2929 Fax: (613)395-0495
Pesticides, McGuinty, Gerretsen, Ontario, Pesticide Ban, Organic