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Solution to help protect bees from Varroa mite approved for use in Australia

News emerging yesterday that a deadly ‘bee-killing parasite’, Varroa mite, has been found in a nest of Asian honey bees in far north Queensland, sparked concern among agriculture experts.

But thanks to a collaboration announced earlier this week, a solution to the problem pest has been pre-approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for minor and emergency use, and could halt the spread of the parasite.

Mite Away Quick Strips® (MAQS®), developed by Canadian company NOD Apiary Products Ltd, are easy-to-use strips filled with formic acid, an organic compound naturally found in honey, in a plant-based sugar formulation.

The biodegradable plastic strip, made from BASF’s ecoflex®, effectively kills the parasite without harming bees. Bee health is critical for beekeepers and farmers, and indirectly for everyone who depends on farm productivity for food.

Plant Health Australia, the national coordinators of Australia’s government-industry partnership for plant biosecurity, have been hard at work with the Australian government and BASF to secure the permits and protect the bees. The Government is currently purchasing and importing the strips from NOD for storage in Canberra.

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