EPA approves insecticide for bee parasite

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

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved my request for a Section 18 emergency exemption for Hopguard,” Goehring said. “Varroa mites are the most serious pest problem facing beekeepers. If uncontrolled, they cause deep and widespread losses in bee colonies.”

The exemption allows application of Hopguard 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 or into packages of adult worker bees prior to installation in a honey bee colony. 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.

All applicable directions, restrictions, and precautions on the container label, as well as the section 18 use directions, must be followed.

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 beehive that is used to collect honey.

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

North Dakota leads the nation in the production of honey, producing 32.7 million pounds of honey in 2010. Goehring said 478,000 bee colonies are registered in the state.

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.