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What is Apistan?
Apistan is a product for treating varroa mites in your beehive, here is some information about it and why we don’t use it.
History in New Zealand
Apistan was first approved in July 2000 by the Minister of Agriculture. This is the same year varroa mite’s were discovered near Auckland in New Zealand. You can see an article about this approval here:- Apistan -- Varroa Mite Chemical Approved
Active Component in Apistan
The active Component is Tau-fluvalinate which is a synthetic pyrethroid. Tau-Fluvalinate is a fat-soluble compound.
Problems with Apistan
Due to possible misuse of the product, many varroa mites in New Zealand are now resistant to Apistan. So the product has become less effective in killing mites.
There has been several cases reported that this is happening in New Zealand. Here is a good article about how to test for resistance with your bees.
To check if your mites are resistant to the treatment you are using, here is a handy document by David Cushman:-Testing For Apistan Resistant Varroa Mites
Dr Mark Goodwin from Plant and Food discussed this during his speech at the Varroa Workshop in Hamilton, you can listen to that talk on this podcast:- NBA Workshop – Mercury Island VSH – Mark Goodwin
Residues in Wax Foundation
In a study in 2008 Dr Maryann Frazier Analysed colonies suffering from CCD, she found “The most significant difference in pesticide levels relative to bee health was that fluvalinate residues tended to be higher in pollen, wax and brood of weak, dead and recovering colonies relative to strong colonies. Highest levels of pesticides were found in the wax, followed by the pollen and brood, but levels in wax were much more variable than in pollen or brood. The fluvalinate levels found in brood are within a lethal range for honey bees.”
Webinar -- Pesticides In Our Beehives with Maryann Frazier
Beeswax has lipophilic properties which means that it absorbs the Fluvalinate and leads to an accumulation and persistence in Beeswax. This could be a contributing factor in colony Colony collapse disorder (CCD). Luckily not found in New Zealand yet.
I conclude that using a Fluvalinate based product for a long period without rotating treatment and frames could lead to a unacceptable amount of the chemical in your colony, thus leading to issues with the bees.
Effect on Bee Heath
Apistan causes more Deformed Wing Virus
A study was carried out by Joachim de Miranda in Januray 2012. Mr de Mirandaa is bee ecologist at the Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden. The study concluded that Apistan actually caused an increase in Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) in Bee colonies.
You can read more about this issue Here “Pesticide May Give Honeybee Virus an Advantage”
Causes Queen to weigh less and Drones die earlier
Jennifer Berry wrote an article for the Bee Culture Journal in 2008 entitled “Pesticides, Bees And Wax”.
A study was performed to determine if the various miticides on the market at that time, effect the bees in anyway.
I encourage you to read the full article, which is HERE.
She discovered two studies the first was by the Rinderer’s group in 1999, investigating Drones that were treated with Apistan. Their findings showed a 9.4% reduction of drone survival in these colonies. Other negative effects observed were lower weights, mucus gland and seminal vesicle weights and the number of spermatozoa (Rinderer et al. 1999).
In 2002 a study was conducted by a group of researchers from across America. This study was to examine the effects of queens reared in wax exposed to varying concentrations of fluvalinate and coumaphos.
Queens weighed significantly less when exposed to high levels of fluvalinate. The concentrations were higher than doses a beekeeper would apply to a colony. But these levels could be in a colony, due to misuse or the accumulation of fluvalinate in wax (Haarmann et al. 2002).
The increased residues in the wax is enough for me to not use a Fluvalinate based product, other products that contain Fluvalinate are Mavrik/Klartan and Minadox.
Resistance issues in New Zealand is another factor, so you need to test that your mites are not already showing resistance to this product.
We personally haven’t used Apistan since 2010, and after this reading the research done. I can’t see I will be using it again.
We would be interested to know if you still use it and how is it working for you and your bees? Please Comment Below…