EPA approves insecticide for bee parasite

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says Environmental Protection Agency has approved his request for a Section 18 emergency exemption for Hopguard®, enabling North Dakota beekeepers to continue using the pesticide to control varroa mites.

“Varroa mites are the most serious pest problem facing beekeepers. Left uncontrolled, they cause deep and widespread losses in bee colonies,” Goehring said. “The exemption gives North Dakota beekeepers another tool for protecting their hives and reducing their losses.

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 six 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 or wax can be harvested from the brood chamber. Users may only harvest honey and wax 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.

Last month, Goehring obtained a Section 18 exemption for Apivar®, a Varroa mite treatment containing amitraz. 

North Dakota leads the nation in the production of honey, producing 32.7 million pounds of honey in 2011, when 460,000 bee colonies were 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.