UPDATE: See Randy Olivers’ outcomes of queenlessness using the MAQ product: http://scientificbeekeeping.com/a-test-of-late-summer-varroa-treatments/
When I attended the Integrated Pest Management Conference in Edmonton, I was not expecting NOD, an agrochemical business in Canada, an arm of BASF chemical company (Germany), to infiltrate the conference.
Janet Jam of the Ontario Beekeepers Association, a personal guest of Medhat Nasr (our provincial apiculturist), came to share the outcomes of her ‘research’ on MiteAway Quick Strips (MAQS). This research was lead by Les Eccles of the University of Guelph.
What surprised me the most about the conference was my preconceived understanding that formic acid was a natural and gentle chemical use to combat the varroa mite, but actually it is very dangerous! The honeybees are submitted to a highly acidified environment and although the mites fall off, formic acid interrupts the pheromone communication between the queen and the workers, causing the bees to ball up and kill their existing queen. Also, the acid causes surface eruptions on the bees body, further wakening the bee to outside pathogens and disease! Much research on MiteAway Quick Strips, a product of NOD. But, the research was not interested in this aspect of MAQS.
MAQS run on 70% formic acid dose and works by acidifying the internal hive environment to an untested pH for the fist 24 hours. The treatment is to take 7 days, and the product is arguably compostable. The bees are to chew the Formic gel pack and spit it out of the front of the hive. The product also argues that it can be used anytime throughout the beekeeping season, even with honey supers on the hive. Normal hive treatment and typical beekeeping practice does not allow for treatment during the honey flow with supers on due to potential contamination of the honey stores.
Of the study done by the Ontario Beekeepers Association, 36 colonies were tested. Initial varroa concentrations were identified using the alcohol wash method. The 36 hives were split in the 3 separate trials comparing MAQS with a. a 150g MAQs dose, b. a 300g MAQs dose (2 pads) and, c. MiteAway II Pads ( a 3 week treatment).
Of these tests, neither the formic content of the existing honey on site when the treatment was made nor the quantity of hives queen-right (hives that had not killed the queen) or quantity of dead bees was shared. Janet presented only all of the beneficial aspects of mite deaths and her encouragement of use. When asked who was he major funder, she said NOD, the developer and patent holder of the MiteAway Quick Strip. When the audience asked deeper questions about her research, she argued that the research was inconclusive because NOD had contacted them just before the research was completed and alerted the researchers that the product in which they had been given had the wrong concentrations of chemical, making the research that NOD was funding inert!
Geoff Wilson of the University of Saskatchewan faced the same problem with NOD, after participating in some un-imbedded research. His research concluded that 100ml doses of 65% acid brought on 5-10% eggs and brood kill. Some hives also ended up queen-less. MAQS at 70% and a quick release time, makes for a greater egg, larva, and queen loss. Geoff’s research recommended 6 treatments, at 50 mls of 65% acid. A slow and long term treatment is greater at combatting mites, but to 77% mite reduction, but the MAQS offer a max of 64% reduction! So why is out Canadian Honey Council funding and supporting this product and the business which corrupts and wastes university research projects?
I was not eager to share this information, I am not an eager whistle blower, but when I went to the NOD website and saw the Canadian Honey Council logo there, I was shocked. This is a product that may lead to the aggressive and harmful attack on honeybees. I recommend that you look in to the NOD site, and e-mail the CHC and ask about their involvement in the development of NOD products without proper and viable research! Talk about putting the mite before the bee!