Mite Away Quick Strips

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by PerryBee, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I am wondering if anyone on the forum has had any experience on the topic.
    I placed this on some of my hives exactly one week ago today. I talked with a commercial keep in the area who was also using the same product so we shared some thoughts. One of the things we noticed was under the faq's section. A recommendation to help prevent bearding out side the hive was to place an empty super on top of the double deep brood chambers which would allow the bees to move away from the initial strong vapours. Both of us did.
    Neither the commercial or myself noticed any bearding (well, maybe one in my collection).
    Now we are hearing that some keeps in Ontario are experiencing queen failure.
    I also got a call from a fellow keep in our old town (Lunenburg) that has 4 hives and noticed a high bee kill in front of all 4 of his hives. I asked whether he added the super and he had not (it is not mentioned in the instructions).
    I hope to go through some of my hives middle of this next week to see if there was any issue with queen failure. I figure if I see eggs or even larvae I should be able to relieve any fears. The commercial is waiting to hear from me as well.
     
  2. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm so glad I induced broodbreaks in my normal bees this year. (removed a lot of brood from one and accidentally killed it all, killed the hot queen in the other hive.)

    At least for this year I do not have to treat. Hope your bees are ok perry.
     

  3. Big Bear

    Big Bear New Member

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    PerryBee, I sell MAQS here in Nebraska. and have quite a few beekeepers using it that I have monitored their applications and results. One bit of advice I got from the distributor in regard to possible effects on the queens is to apply only one strip at a time. This brings total efficacy down to about 70% on the first application and after the second, the total efficacy is around 90% or so.

    However, using the second application method seems to provide much better results for those concerned with queen and bee losses. It seems about 50/50 show positive results from the original two strip application vs the one at a time application.

    I personally don't use chemicals in my own hives but by being able to participate in the applications in my customers hives, I have gained first hand experience inn their use and application.

    My customers seem to be in consensus here in Nebraska that strong colonies fare just fine with the 2 strips application and weaker colonies gain more benefit from the one at a time method. That isn't a scientific report, just a general observation of about 45-ish hives in my neck of the woods.

    I know alot of folks reading aobout others losing queens, etc.. are going in on the more conservative side from the get go and just using the one at a time application and of all of those I have communicated with, all report no losses or trouble so far.

    That's just my experience with MAQS so far for what it's worth.
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I've never used them, but have heard and read a lot about folks having queen losses. I don't have any details on it, tho.
    One local dealer quit selling them over queen loss, then started selling them again. I don't know why the change of heart.
     
  5. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Maybe he sells queens on the side. (just kidding!) (sort of) lol!
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You may be kidding, but yes, he sells queens and nucs. :shock:
     
  7. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    Omie, you have a devious mind. I like it. I had the same thought.

    Lazy
     
  8. Big Bear

    Big Bear New Member

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    very likely he had the same information about the one strip at a time method that I got from NOD.
     
  9. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    The commercial and I discussed some of these issues but came to the conclusion (right or wrong) that many of those problems were probably heat related. I remember using the old Mite Away II pads years ago and having to run around removing them during a particularly hot day.
    Our temps up here are around 20 C to 24 C (68 F - 75 F) during the day and down to around 12 C (54 F) at night, well within the tolerable temps on the instructions. We figured that and the combination of added space inside the hive would mitigate the risks somewhat. We shall see.
     
  10. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    We treated 20 hives and elected to use just the one strip between the two deeps. Not at all sure that the levels of formic reached will get the mites under cappings but cant afford to be losing queens this time of year. Incidentally, that yard is about 20 miles from the NOD home. We expect to have to re treat and will use bulk formic on meat pads if necessary. The rumors made us nervous.
     
  11. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    It may be difficult, but will someone pardon my ignorance and explain why these strips may kill your queen? Do they kill some of the bee population and the queen is just a statistic, or is the toxin somewhat queen specific? Since I don't use, or plan to use, MAQSs this is simply a 'curious mind' thing.
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    From what I understand it is the high concentration of formic vapours that masks the queen's pheromones, causing the bees to feel something is wrong and reject her.
    Also, I guess if the workers are vulnerable to the vapours, why wouldn't the queen be as well?
     
  13. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Good question. They sure roar when you put it in. The workers sure turn on their fans. I wonder if it is exertion related; maybe the queen doesnt fan. Dunno! I have to think it does damage to their lungs or the equivalent in bees.
     
  14. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Well it gives off fumes that kill mites. People's skin and lungs get burned if exposed to formic acid in the same preparations as are placed into the hive. Um, the bees are roaring and then fanning to remove the toxic fumes from the hive. I hear the many people observe the bees leaving the hive or bearding outside. The queen cannot leave the hive, she's stuck in there breathing the same stuff that's killing the mites around her. The intention is that the acid is strong enough to kill mites but not strong enough to kill the bees. Seems to work fine for some folks. Other folks seem to have trouble with it.

    I'm not sure, but have I read that MAQS do not kill the mites that are breeding inside capped brood cells? I seem to recall that but not sure. Please correct me if that's wrong. That it only kills mites roaming around the hive or on the workers inside the hive?
     
  15. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Omie, actually NOD the originator of that particular flavor of formic, claims its main effectiveness is that it does get under the caps and keeps the male, born in the cell from breeding. It does of course kill the free roaming mites. Using reduced levels showed lower effectiveness over extended time period.
    I would rather not have to use it and will experiment with options to get away from it. I will test the water with one foot though!

    The site claims that formic acid is an essential ingredient of honey so the levels only are of concern, not the presence. Tested levels of honey are apparently within normal bounds after treatment.
     
  16. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I believe the whole point of the MAQS was that it was 95% effective at killing mites under capped brood cells.
     
  17. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Without harming the soft bee larvae? Or is brood kill expected as it penetrates the brood cells?
    Hard to believe none of this harms bee larvae and queens, but go figure.

    Crofter, yes i know that formic acid is naturally found in honey and in ants...but in tiny concentrations, not in the strength that would be toxic enough to kill mites and burn our skin. :)
     
  18. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Omie, if it is not getting into the honey I can take care of keeping it off my hands.:smile:

    Mites have a much different hide, different feet and feeding equipment. When temperatures get a bit to the high end of what was originally recommended there apparently is some mortality but dont know whether it is open brood or capped or strictly adult bees.

    There is no question mite treatments are a pain when you have more than a handful of hives. Throw into the mix having hives at different conditions and perhaps using a different treatment on some than others. Record keeping becomes an issue. Just getting the hives split and the strips in this time of year is an issue when robbing is so easy to instigate. The bees arent happy and neither is your partner when you drop a hive body on his fingers. Because we backed off on the dose, will still have to do some kind of assessment to base what further treatment needed.
     
  19. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Well, as I said in another thread...I still wonder why the original product (MiteAwayII) was not supposed to be put in the hives during honey supers on, because it was detected in the honey in unacceptable human consumption levels....yet the new MAQS are supposed to be ok to use during honey supers on? Same active ingredient, same manufacturer, same basic method of mite kill. They never explain why this is so...they just say it's ok now to use while honey supers on. Huh?? I like to know these kinds of things!
    And I never read that formic acid treatment does not actually get into the honey if supers are on. What i have read is that it supposedly dissipates.
     
  20. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Dont be so ornery Omie!:lol: There is a percentage of formic acid in the new formulation but it is in a gel carrier and has somewhat of a time release over three days. The average formic acid concentration is according to tests which I strongly think are verifiable, keep the level low enough to prevent appreciable increase in honeys natural background formic acid content. The mite kill of the other strips was by contact with the phoretic mites and I believe did not have the lasting effect to penetrate the cappings. I may have made an allusion to the honey level rising and dissipating. I am still reading and gathering info on it while the package of strips is cooling its heels in the mud room. Lets try to be objective and give the devil his due.