The Honey Bee Health Coalition has published a guide detailing how commercial beekeepers are finding success treating Varroa without relying exclusively on off-label chemical treatments. The guide is pivotal to the industry as Varroa mites are already showing signs of widespread resistance to off-label varroacides.
Guide to Varroa Mite Controls for Commercial Beekeeping Operations lays out a vision that addresses the risks of resistance created by off-label use. Widespread resistance to products like amitraz poses a serious threat to the long-term financial health of every commercial beekeeping business. Continuous use of off-label amitraz, with increasing dosages (as it becomes less effective), is likely to cause amitraz to lose its effectiveness, just as other products like coumaphos and tau-fluvalinate have become largely ineffective for controlling Varroa mites.
This guide aims to help commercial beekeepers evaluate a variety of Varroa control methods that can be integrated into a management plan to protect their bees and their business. It highlights the experiences of beekeepers who are having success as they explore alternative strategies to limit their reliance on off-label amitraz and avoid using unregistered products.
In addition to documenting six case studies examining various approaches to Varroa treatment, the guide also reviews the causes and impacts of Varroa mite resistance to varroacides. It also highlights control methods that can be used in an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy or a highly specific, knowledge-driven approach, referred to as precision apiculture.