Insecticide okayed to protect bees from Varroa mites

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says North Dakota beekeepers will be able to use the insecticide amitraz to manage Varroa mites in their colonies next year.

“The Environmental Protection Agency has approved my request for a Section 18 specific exemption for amitraz,” Goehring said. “This Section 18 specific exemption gives beekeepers another valuable tool to protect their beehives.”

Goehring said varroa mites are the most serious pest problem facing beekeepers, and can completely devastate bee colonies if left uncontrolled.

Marketed as Apivar™, amitraz is manufactured by Veto-pharna SA and distributed in the U.S. by Arysta LifeSciences America Inc. 

The exemption allows the amitraz-impregnated strips to be applied to beehives at a rate of two strips per brood chamber. The use directions require removal of the strips two weeks before honey flow, and strips cannot be placed in the hives for more than 56 days. 

Applicators must follow all applicable directions, restrictions, and precautions on the product label as well as the Section 18 use directions. They must also wear protective gloves when handling the strips.

The exemption allows the use of 726,000 strips and expires Nov. 21, 2013.

North Dakota leads the nation in the production of honey, producing more than 50 million pounds of honey each year.