The problem: The Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) is the biggest pest problem that the modern bee keeper faces in the UK today. The Varroa mite feeds primarily on the fat body tissue of the honey bee larvae and the adult bee, affecting the growth of the individual bee and spreading numerous diseases throughout the colony. If there is a significant infestation of Varroa mites in your hive, this will have a considerable impact on the overall condition of your colony. The colony will produce less honey, be more susceptible to disease and will be less likely to survive the winter. In the UK, the Varroa problem is best handled with an integrated pest management strategy (IPM). MAQS which has the active ingredient formic acid is one of the most effective ways to control the Varroa population in your hive and can be used as part of a successful IPM. 

The product: Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) are polysaccharide gel strips containing 68.2g of Formic acid, an acid found in nature used as a defence mechanism by ants. The main ingredients are food grade sugar and starch with a compostable paper wrap. Formic acid, the active ingredient in MAQS is toxic to the varroa mite and kills the mites where they reproduce, under the brood cap.

  • Registered for UK use UK with the VMD
  • Zero withdrawal period, can be applied during a honey flow
  • Easy to apply, simply lay strips within the hive
  • Can be left in the hive or added to the compost

How to use:

MAQS can be used on the hive at any time and leaves no trace in the hive.   

  1. Ensure the bees have enough food stores for the duration of the 1-week treatment.
  2. Remove MAQS strips from the packaging using acid resistant gloves.
  3. Position strips on top of the brood frames with a gap of at least 4cm between each strip. Ensure there is 1-2 cm above the strips to allow for good evaporation. The number of strips to be applied will depend on the size of hive (see product label).
  4. Ensure there is sufficient ventilation in the hive for the duration of the treatment with a minimum of bottom entrance of the hive being fully opened.
  5. Replace the brood boxes or other hive components and leave for 1 week.

Note: If temperatures are expected to be more than 30°C start with a lower dose and then increase the dose after 3-7 days.

MAQS has the most impact on the hive during the first 3 days of treatment, therefore the hive must be sufficiently ventilated whilst treatment is happening. At a minimum, the bottom entrance of the hive should be fully opened to ensure that the bees can move out of the hive if the temperature increases. In the UK, many bee keepers have open mesh floors on their hives which gives the hive additional ventilation during treatment whilst not affecting the efficacy of the product. If you do have solid floors on your hives, you can set the brood box back on the floor to create a temporary full width entrance and give adequate ventilation during the first 3 days of treatment.