Reporting adverse reaction from varroa treatments

Dear Beekeeper 

Varroa Treatments

We recently had a French Company apply to the Department for an import licence for another product for varroa treatment. A similar product has been licensed in the UK in 2016. The department have turned it down on the grounds that we have Apiguard and MAQS and there is “no problem with them”. Experience in certain parts of the country state otherwise. The refusal of the licence also came in the same week that the Coloss figures were published showing Ireland having the highest over winter losses in all of the EU in 2015.

If we do not report efficacy or safety problems to the veterinary medicines, regulatory authority (HPRA), they will not be aware of them and will not be able to support us in an application to import additional effective/safe treatment(s).

This year if you are treating with;

MAQS; Please record the amount of frames of brood and if your queen is present and laying before treatment and the amount of frames of brood and if your queen is present after treatment. If the queen is not laying, has been superseded or killed then this is potentially a safety issue with MAQs and should be reported.

If there is queen mortality, it needs to be reported, if there is brood mortality it needs to be reported

APIGUARD; requires max temperatures above 15C daily when you put it on (taken from SPC on packet) Please record the daily temperatures in your area for the 6 weeks of treatment.  Or record the day you put it on and the day you took it off, the temperatures can be got for your area online. It might just be that your area is not getting 15C + for 6 weeks from the date you put it on. I am well aware that different areas have different flows and treat at different times

If you are not getting the 15C + daily report it.

If the queen is a 2016 mated queen then she should not normally go off lay. Please record the number of frames of brood before treatment commences and again after 2 weeks when you go to put on the second treatment. You will know she has gone off lay if there are no eggs present. Newly mated queens can be superseded if they go off lay at this stage. That will set back the overwintering ability of your stock as they already were depleted of bees for 5-6 weeks getting that new queen mated.

Please do a sugar shake test from emerging brood in the brood nest before treatment and when you have finished treatment and if there are mites on the second test report the figures (or any other recognised mite count test e.g. % drone brood cells infested or natural drop onto a sticky board). If the mite count has not been reduced by at least 90% then this is a potential lack of efficacy of the product and needs to be reported.

Similarly, if using Bayvarol, please do a simple sugar shake mite count before and after to assess efficacy (or any other recognised mite count test e.g. % drone brood cells infested or natural drop onto a sticky board).

The HPRA veterinary medicines section are the people we need to report to, their website is Scroll down the page to a link to report an issue, it’s a short 2 page form that needs to be filled in.

Or alternatively contact them by phone: the HPRA’s Veterinary Sciences Department (01) 676 4971 or Email:

If we start reporting, no matter how minor the issue is, they will become aware of the safety and efficacy issues that beekeepers are challenged with and the threat to bee health in Ireland.  It can be done on line in 6 simple stages and it is totally confidential.

Objective evidence is best to confirm safety or efficacy issues e.g.

·       7 frames of brood prior to MAQs treatment and 4 frames afterwards, queen off lay

·       Out of 7 stocks, 2 lost queens following MAQS

·       10% Varroa prior to treatment and 4% after treatment Then the % Efficacy = (10-4)/10 x100 = 60.0%

·       Sugar shaker reminder: Collect a sample of adult bees (1/2 cup or approx. 300) then vigorously shake the sample with icing sugar (for 1 minute) which causes the majority of mites (>90%) to dislodge from their hosts. Shake out the mites onto a light coloured collecting dish and count the mites. Count of mites per 300 bees/ 3 gives you the % infestation rate.

You will need the details of the product you used at hand including the Batch No and Expiry Date.

Nobody will get your name or address.

We are responsible for making the regulatory authorities aware of issues facing Varroa treatment in bees, no one else can.

We need to get other treatments for varroa as the viruses passed on to the bees and especially the drones for mating are impairing their flight efficiency and their sperm production for mating. It is up to us to make it happen.

We are still looking for a corporate sponsor to come on-board for the allele project the CIT have offered to run for us. The money is required to cover the consumables needed for the project. CIT are providing their facilities and a Master student free of charge to do the work. Personal donations from individual beekeepers are welcome as it all adds up.


Eleanor Attridge

FIBKA Beehealth officer


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