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Good News for Honey Bee Health in Europe and Canada!

Regulatory Authorities give green light for Bayer Varroa control products

Feb 15, 2017
The <em>Varroa destructor</em> mite: one of the main factors impacting honey bee health in Europe and North America.

The <em>Varroa destructor</em> mite: one of the main factors impacting honey bee health in Europe and North America.

It’s good news for beekeepers in Canada now that Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) recently approved Bayer’s registration of Bayvarol, a miticide containing the active ingredient flumethrin. If all goes to plan, Bayvarol, which is a synthetic Varroa control product, will become available to the Canadian beekeeping industry in the fall of 2017. In addition to this, Canadian beekeepers have access to several other synthetic miticides, including Apivar (amitraz), Apistan (tau-fluvalinate), and CheckMite (coumaphos). Organic acids, such as formic and oxalic acid, and Thymovar, a product containing the essential oil thymol are additional Varroa control options available to the industry. Through the rotation of a variety of organic and synthetic miticides, which work in different ways to control the mites, fast development of resistance to a specific product treatment can mostly be prevented.

“We are extremely happy to provide the Canadian beekeeping industry with an additional product to combat Varroa mites and to contribute a further option for beekeepers to integrate into their existing Varroa control programs,” says Maryam Sultan, Bee Health Associate for Bayer Crop Science in Guelph, Ontario.  

Also in Hungary beekeepers will again be able to combat the Varroa mite with another synthetic miticide, now that the Authorities have given the green light to CheckMite which is based on the active ingredient coumaphos. Istvan Szakall, Regulatory Affairs Manager, Region Central and South-East Europe, welcomes the opportunity to support integrated Varroa control in the country’s beehives: “Together with Bayvarol, which has been on the market in Hungary for a while, we can again offer a mode of action to be used in rotation to prevent the selection of resistant mites. In this way preventing disease and keeping our honey bees healthy to produce the high quality honey we export with pride.” 

Varroa destructor mite

The Varroa destructor mite: one of the main factors impacting honey bee health in Europe and North America.

Today, even after 30 years of intense research effort, only four synthetic miticide active ingredients are approved for Varroa control, two of which were developed by Bayer. Since honey bees and mites are both insects, high selectivity in the active ingredient is necessary: it needs to be gentle on the bee but tough on the mite. Flumethrin and coumaphos both offer this rare combination.

And there will hopefully be more good news for honey bee health in Europe in the near future now that the Decentralized Procedure for the regulatory approval of Bayer’s new technology to control Varroa has just been completed successfully. After a one year assessment and harmonization period, the twenty four European member states which were participating in the process, have agreed to the harmonized product characteristics (SPC). This decision must now, however, first be transposed into national law in the countries which select to take this forward. The approval process by the competent national authorities normally takes just over a month to complete before a new product can be placed on the market.

Klemens Krieger, Head of Special Projects / Bee Health within Bayer Animal Health Development is pleased about these positive developments. He believes that it marks a shift in perspective: “In the past decade, many theories were brought forward, trying to explain the reasons for poor honey bee health. I am glad to see that the focus is once again back on Varroa. The authorities are looking to companies like Bayer to support their efforts for honey bee health.”

Additional information:

Click here for more information on Varroa destructor and its impact.
We have also published a useful Varroa booklet with information for beekeepers.
Also, this video explains more about Varroa and treatment options.

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