IPM Chemical Control Methods
Currently, there are three products with Section 3 (General Use) registration available for controlling V. destructor. These are Apistan® (fluvalinate), Mite-Away II™ (formic acid) and Sucrocide™ (sucrose octonaote esters). In addition, CheckMite+® (coumaphos) and Api-Life VAR® (thymol, menthol and eucalyptus oil) have been granted Emergency Exemptions from registration (Section 18) by the US-EPA. These latter two products are only available in those states that have applied for and received Emergency Exemptions, which must be renewed each year.
Resistance to the two major pesticides, Apistan® and CheckMite+®, is widespread. This is problematic because the resistance status of the mite population must be determined before treating a colony, rather than after. Presently, such a determination is difficult to obtain. See https://www.masterbeekeeper.org/ or to https://www.ars.usda.gov/northeast-area/beltsville-md-barc/beltsville-agricultural-research-center/bee-research-laboratory/ for information on making this determination. There is no known resistance to formic acid (Mite-Away II™) at this time.
Established pesticide tolerances
Honey may contain 0.05 ppm fluvalinate and 0.1 ppm coumaphos. Beeswax may contain 100 ppm coumaphos. Remember! These are limits, not goals. Always think of pesticides as a means of last resort. Formic acid and sucrose octanoate esters are exempt from tolerance when used in accordance with label instructions. Menthol, thymol and eucalyptus oil (the active ingredients in Api-Life VAR®) are also exempt from tolerance, but their exempt status is subject to periodic renewal.
How to minimize pesticide residues in hive products
The use of pesticides inevitably results in residues in wax and honey. To minimize this problem, and to ensure that residues do not exceed established tolerances, use pesticides only when necessary and only in accordance with label instructions. Use separate hive bodies and combs for your brood chambers and honey supers and keep them separate. Never move combs from the brood nest into the honey supers. An easy way to keep these combs separate is to use deep hive bodies for brood chambers and mediums or shallows for honey supers. Apply pesticides in the brood chambers, never in the honey supers. These practices will greatly reduce the level of pesticide residues in the honey and the wax cappings.
General recommendations for the use of pesticides
1. Read and follow the product label.
2. Follow all safety instructions, and wear all indicated personal protection equipment.
3. Apply the proper amount of pesticide in the manner specified on the label.
4. Remove the pesticide at the end of the specified treatment period.
5. Dispose of used pesticides in the manner specified on the label.
6. Follow any required withholding period. This is the minimum time that must elapse between removing a pesticide or antibiotic from a colony at the end of a legal treatment period and the addition of supers for honey production.
7. Place pesticide strips in such a manner that they will remain in contact with the bees when the cluster contracts. This is particularly important in the fall.
1. Leave pesticides in your colonies over the winter. It is illegal. It also increases the amount of time your combs are in contact with a pesticide, thereby increasing the risk of residues in hive products. It may also increase the chance of the mite population developing resistance to the pesticide.
2. Reuse products.
3. Use any chemical, pesticide or formulation of a chemical or pesticide to control V. destructor unless it is legal to do so in your state.
4. Use any pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its label.