Video: Adding MAQs To a Hive

Earlier this spring I wrote an article titled "Why I'm going to start treating this year".

Holding true to that statement, I bought a tub of Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQs) from the local bee shop. The directions state to use them at or below 90F and with the honey supers on if possible.

The reason for honey supers is to give the queen and bees some place to go to take refuge from the chemicals as opposed to absconding or dying.

The temperatures this week took a swing down into the lower 70F for daytime highs and mid 50F for night time lows. We wont likely see these temperatures again until the end of August or September.

So I put on my suit and went out to the apiary to apply the MAQs treatment.

Below is a video of how I placed two strips between the brood chambers.

I did a lot of research into treatment options, techniques, results (both mortality of bees and varroa) and came across a nicely written experiment using MAQs by Randy Oliver here.

Randy explains an experiment where he uses 1 strip vs 2 strips MAQs and also where he experiments with offsetting the hive bodies for additional ventilation as well as the results in a nice chart.

I chose to use 2 strips per hive, put in the screened bottom board and did not offset the hive bodies. This setup is the minimum ventilation required according to the manufacturer, but most effective against varroa.

I did not have a respirator when I used these MAQs, although if I had one laying around next time, I would use it! The overwhelming smell the MAQs produce when first opening the package and installing them is almost enough to take your breath away.

Even holding them far away from my face and holding my breath I still breathed in some fumes. They quickly filled the immediate area around where I opened them with chemical vapor.

You can tell in the video how quickly the bees dive back down inside the hive when the first and second strips are deployed. They move quicker with MAQs than they do with smoke, and I don't blame them!

I ultimately chose MAQs because the chemical in them evaporates in about 3 days and leaves NO RESIDUE in the honey or wax. Many other treatment chemicals I found do have residue buildup over time and can be traced in honey, so read the labels and do research accordingly. This product was also attractive to me because the mites can't build up a resistance to this chemical like they can other treatment types.

The choice to treat (and if so with what) is a personal (and challenging) decision. I can't say that MAQs is right for you, but provide the above video and personal experience for those who are looking for research.

Updates below are in hours/days after installation of strips:

Update 4 hours: The overwintered hive (with 3 supers) has no bearding. The middle hive (with no supers) has minimal bearding. The end hive (with one super) has quite a bit of bearding. The nigh time low was 60F.

Update 16 hours: Each hive has approx 50-100 dead bees on landing board. This is normal from all accounts I've read. Temps today max out at 81F.

Update 24 hours: The hive's landing boards have been cleared of dead bees and the flight activity appears normal for each hive.

Update 48 hours: All hives appear perfectly normal from the outside. Will wait one week and then check on queen health.

Update 7 days: All the queens survived and the MAQs are gone. Read the full update here.

Comments For This Post: (1) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Robin says...
Date:   July 18, 2014, 7:56 am

Varroa is the bane of my existence.    If I can get a hive to make it through the first winter, the second winter they are weakened by varroa and succumb to the cold or nosema or whatever.    It's so frustrating.   I've looked at the MAQS and that seemed the best way to go.   My hives are both new this year, so I'm going to wait until September to decide.  MAQS aren't cheap - but neither is replacing hives year after year.

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