BEE SMART...Keeping You Informed About Honey Bees
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Volume 2 -------------------- February 20, 2011 --------------------Number 12
Previous subscriber count: 479 Current number of subscribers: 504

Ask your friends to sign up  for this newsletter FREE at

To view our previous newsletters, click here.

BEE SMART is free and comes right to your email inbox. We'll be relying on you telling your friends
about BEE SMART and passing it along to others. Contact us at: 217-427-2678

Formic Acid For Mite Control
by David Burns, EAS certified Master Beekeeper

Any word that contains "cide" is potentially harmful to something because it means death.
Pesticide means death to pests. Beekeepers walk a thin line when it comes to pesticides.
All beekeepers are concerned about pesticides that kill bees. Yet, on the other hand,
beekeepers love the idea of a pesticide that would kill pests to bees, but not the bees.

One of the most threatening pest to honey bees is the varroa mite, also known as the varroa
destructor. Feeding upon the hemolymph (blood) of the prepupae, the pupae, and the adult bees.
They do so by piecing the bee leaving a wound and potentially spreading viruses. As a result the
bees die sooner and the colony is weakened and usually is unable to survive the winter. Chemicals
that kills mites are known as miticides.

Miticides have taken beekeepers on a roller coaster ride. When the first miticides were available
beekeepers thought they had found a miracle. But soon, the harsh chemicals were found to have negative effects on the colony and the varroa
mite developed a resistance toward several treatments.

Integrated Pest Management was applied to the hive, a way to use more natural methods to reduce mites such as screen bottom boards,
powdered sugar dustings and freezing sealed drone comb was another tool added to the beekeeper's tool box

More recently, hygienic queens seemed to be the next magic wand to wave over the hive. The idea that a queen's offspring has the ability
to remove mite infested pupae is very enticing to the beekeeping community, and is certainly another tool in the beekeeper's tool box.

It has been over twenty years since the mites devastated colonies across America. After two decades mites are still a huge problem
in the hive. Over the last twenty years, scientists, entomologist and citizen beekeeping scientists have worked aggressively toward solving the
mite problem.

While I love keeping bees without having to medicated the hive, no beekeeper enjoys watching mites kill a hive. I have shied away from miticides
because they are expensive, a chemical and requires work to administer. I have had much success at raising mite resistant queens and keeping mite
levels down through various IPM methods. However, I have recently been following MAQS. Add this acronym to others like VSH, AFB, ABH,
and CCD. MAQS stands for Miteaway Quick Strips.

Within the last few weeks, the EPA has granted MAQS a Section 3 and states are working toward approval to be sold to beekeepers.
I suspect it will be in time for summer treatment. I want to take a moment to tell you what I do not like about MAQS and then what I do like.
You should research this new treatment and make up your own mind.

First, what I do not like. I do not like that that it is a "chemical" added to the hive. But, I dislike mites in a hive more! MAQS can kill some brood,
but not as much as the mites will kill.

What I do like. It is formic acid. The idea of formic acid calms my chemical apprehension because formic acid in many forms is around us every day.

Mite away formic acid pads were released in the spring of 1997 and have been used with success. There are a few quirks in using the pads that the
new MAQS have resolved. Here's what I like about the Mite Away Quick Strips:

1) Formic acid is a biopesticide. A biopesticide is a natural occurring substance used to control pests. For example, Canola oil and baking soda
have pesticidal applications and are considered biopesticides. Biopesticides only kill the target pest using a far lesser amount of toxicity. I like that!

2) MAQS can be used while honey supers are on because it is not absorbed in the wax. It is absorbed briefly into the honey but then is evaporated
out leaving no traces. MAQS has been found to be 3% more effective with honey supers on.

3) MAQS is a brief 7 day treatment and is 95% effective.

4) Works well with screen bottom boards left open as the ventilation increased effectiveness.

5) MAQS works below the capping to kill mites in the cell as well as mites on bees.

MAQS for now, sounds too good to be true but so far the tests conducted are impressive. I am open minded to MAQS and hope that once the
product is available to beekeepers it will prove to be the best tool in the tool box against varroa mites.

Listen to a radio interview with CEO of NOD Apiaries, David VanderDussen. NOD Apiaries is producing the MAQS formic acid.


Bees In The News....

Another City Set To Make A Ruling On Beekeeping, Centerville, Minnesota...READ MORE

A Blind Eye Is Turned As Pesticides Kill More Bees..Read More

Life As A Professional Beekeeper...READ MORE


The class is filling up but we still have plenty of openings since we are in a large facilities for this class. We will be having this class on Saturday March 19th, from
9am – 3pm in Danville, IL at the Farm Bureau area. This class is for those who may not know anything about beekeeping and those who may have kept
bees for 1-2 years. Lunch is provided so click on this link or the image above for more information on how to register, or call us now to register call
217-427-2678 It is fun, entertaining and educational. Join us! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER


Now is the time to purchase your hive equipment and bees. We manufacture the woodenware
and provide the bees too. Check out our March Special one complete hive assembled and painted. Comes
with a screen bottom board, two deep hive bodies each with 10 wooden frames and foundation, a medium
honey super with 10 wooden frames and foundat, an inner cover and a telescoping top cover with metal. Also
included is a 3 lb package of bees with a marked and mated queen.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION or to place your order. Or call us at


Look At Our Upcoming Beekeeping Classes:

March 4th (Friday night 6-8pm Pest & Diseases: Diagnosis & Prevention CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

March 19th (Saturday) Basic Beekeeping 9am - 3pm CLICK HERE TO REGISTER



Ask your friends to sign up  for this newsletter FREE

BEE SMART is free and comes right to your email inbox. We'll be relying on you
telling your friends about BEE SMART and passing it along to others.


Bee Smart is a publication of
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N 1020 E Rd
Fairmount, IL 61841
(217) 427-2678

Long Lane Honey Bee Farms is here to serve the beekeeping community with beekeeping equipment, 3 lb packages, nucs, queens and more.


Check out our FREE online Beekeeping Lessons