BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says beekeepers in North Dakota can now use a new pesticide to control a major parasite of bees.

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved my request for a Section 18 emergency exemption for HopguardTM to control varroa mites in bee colonies,” Goehring said. “Varroa mites are the most serious pest problem facing beekeepers, causing deep and widespread losses if left uncontrolled.

The exemption allows application of HopguardTM strips at a rate of one strip per five deep combs. The use directions specify that the strips must be placed only in brood chambers. A maximum of three applications per year is allowed.

Applicators must wear protective gloves when handling treated strips and must have a copy of the use directions with them during application.

No honey can be harvested from the brood chamber. Users may only harvest honey from the honey supers. A honey super is a part of a commercial that is used to collect honey.

Goehring said there are 440,000 registered bee colonies in North Dakota.

“The North Dakota Beekeepers Association conducted a poll that indicates up to 30 percent of these colonies or more could have Varroa mites that are resistant to currently available insecticides,” he said. “It is clear that an emergency does exist, and that action must be taken to protect this important industry.”

Manufactured by BetaTec Hop Products, HopguardTM is natural product extracted from hop plants.

North Dakota leads the nation in the production of honey, producing 46.4 million pounds of honey in 2010.

A Section 18 exemption under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) authorizes EPA to allow an unregistered use of a pesticide for a limited time if EPA determines that an emergency condition exists.