Apivar strips are possibly the simplest mite treatment available. They do not require any tools, and all you have to do is put them in and take them out. So, what happens if you leave honey supers on during apivar treatment?
What is the Apivar treatment?
Apivar kills the varroa mite with a synthetic drug called amitraz. These strips are quite successful at destroying the mite population. However, this drug has been abused in some locations, and varroa mites have developed resistance to it. Apivar is ineffective in these locations.
Advantage of Apivar treatment
- Apivar is an efficient treatment for Varroa mite infestations.
Apivar is the only amitraz-based apiary treatment that treats many generations of Varroa mites. It can lower mite numbers in the hive by up to 99%. When administered as indicated, Apivar’s controlled-release technology distributes Amitraz over a minimum of six weeks, ensuring healthy and productive hives.
- It does not leave any major residues
Following Apivar treatments at the specified dosage, no substantial residues were discovered in honey, wax, propolis, or pollen.
- Conveniently packaged and simple to use
Apivar comes in foil bags that are vacuum-sealed. It does not necessitate any measurement, mixing, or complex application techniques. Tear open the foil pouch, remove and divide the double strips, and place them in the brood chambers as directed.
Apivar side effects
The disadvantage of Apivar is that amitraz is harmful to people. When working with it, you must exercise extreme caution. You are also exposing your bees and honeycomb to this corrosive poison.
You can remove and dispose of the wax and honey, as well as employ safety equipment to protect yourself. There are other organic mite treatments that are quite successful. Whether to use Apivar in your hive is a personal decision based on how you feel about exposing your bees and yourself to this poison.
Apivar treatment with honey supers on
There is only one way to be certain: use them and watch what happens. First, conduct a mite test to determine the mite level in your hive. Then apply the therapy and leave it in place for 6 weeks. After the therapy has worn off, conduct another mite test. If your mite level is below 2, the strips are still effective.
How to use Apivar
- Remove any honey supers that does not contain brood from your hive and, if possible, consolidate brood boxes.
- Next, inspect your hives to determine how many brood frames you have and where they are located.
- Prepare your equipment. Chemical-resistant gloves and apivar strips are required. Scissors are useful but not required. The instructions do not state whether a mask is required. This is all up to you. However, we strongly advise wearing a mask or, even better, having someone else insert the strips for you.
- For every 5 frames of brood, place 1 strip in each brood box. Put no more than four strips in the beehive. The parent frames will clamp the strips in between. Do not place the strips adjacent to each other on the same frame.
- Leave the treatment in place for 4 weeks. After usage, properly wash your hands and any equipment. You can open the hive if necessary throughout these four weeks, but keep it to a minimal. When inspecting the hive, wear your chemical-resistant gloves.
- Check after 4 weeks to see if the brood is still on the frames by the strips. If it has moved away from the strips, return them to the frames that have brooded on them. Do nothing if the brood is still in the frames by the strips.
- Remove the strips after 6 weeks. If you had to relocate the strips at week 4 to be closer to the brood, leave them for another 2 weeks, for a total of 8 weeks.
- After removing these strips from the hive for at least two weeks, you can replace them with honey.
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Preventing Apivar resistance in mites
- Make careful to remove the strips after 6-8 weeks.
- Use apivar strips just when you need to treat for mites. Alternate treatments such as apiguard, oxalic acid, or formic acid.
- Unless a hive has a mite level of 0-1 and is dealing with mites, every hive should be treated. Do not treat only one hive while leaving the other hives alone. If you do not treat every infested hive in your apiary, the mites from the treated hive will spread to the untreated hives.
What happens if you leave honey supers on during an Apivar treatment?
Will Apivar be less effective if your hive has honey supers? Yes.
If you leave the honey super in the hive, keep in mind that this honey is solely for bee consumption, not for human use. It is easy to forget to reuse these frames or harvest the wax in the spring of next year. Although we do not recommend using Apivar if you have honey supers on your hive, if you must leave a honey super on the hive.
We strongly recommend using a marker and clearly identifying each frame with a letter or symbol to remind you that these frames contain poison honey. You should not use these frames in super honey during or before the honey flows. It is better to remove the entire plastic base with a honeycomb and discard it.
Our goal at the farm is to limit treatment. You can divide hives when they have the genetics to deal with mites on their own. The hives with the highest mite counts are the ones we never divide. This encourages bees with the genotypes we choose to thrive and the traits that do not cope well with mites to disappear.
There are different opinions on this topic, and we encourage you to learn about the variety of ways beekeepers do things. Then do what works best for you and your bees.