Pesticide approved for use to control bee mites - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pesticide approved for use to control bee mites

Photo courtesy state Department of Agriculture Photo courtesy state Department of Agriculture

HONOLULU - (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Agriculture Thursday licensed a miticide for use by Hawaii beekeepers to control the varroa mite, which is considered one of the most serious pests of honeybees.

The miticide, Mite-Away Quick Strips TM, is produced by a Canadian company and had been in use in Canada to control varroa mites. The active ingredient, formic acid, is contained on strips that are placed in beehives and is toxic to the mites.

In October 2009, HDOA issued a "Special Local Needs Permit" to allow the use of the product in Hawaii. Beekeepers in Hawaii began using the product and found it to be effective. However, the Environmental Protection Agency stopped the sale of the product in September 2010, because the product contained an inert ingredient that was not previously approved by the EPA.

Since that time, HDOA has been working closely with the EPA to make it available again in Hawaii.

On February 4, EPA approved the product for federal registration and today the company completed the licensing of the product with HDOA's Pesticide Branch for use in Hawaii.

"We know that many beekeepers have been anxiously waiting to be able to use this product again and staff have been working very diligently with EPA to get the product back on the market," said Russell S. Kokubun, chairman of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. "This product is important for control of varroa mites because it is one that kills mites without also killing the honeybees."

Varroa mites are found around the world, but was only detected in Hawaii in 2007 in Manoa. Since then, varroa mites have spread to Hawaii Island.

The varroa mite is reddish brown in color with an oval and flattened shape. It is about the size of a pin head and can be detected with the unaided eye.

Varroa mites have piercing and sucking mouthparts and feed on the blood of honey bee adults, larvae and pupae. The mites weaken adult bees and cause emerging bees to be deformed.

Varroa mites are spread from hive to hive through bee contact.

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