Florida Extension Beekeeping Newsletter
Apis--Apicultural Information and Issues (ISSN 0889-3764)
Volume 13, Number 2, February 1995
Copyright (c) 1995 M.T. Sanford "All Rights Reserved"
FRANK RANDALL DIES
Florida beekeeping lost yet another committed leader with
the death of Frank Randall in January. He served the industry in
many ways over the last four decades, including the presidency
and vice presidency of the Sioux Bee Honey Cooperative. Frank
was an active member and sometimes officer of the South Florida
Beekeepers Association, Central Florida Beekeepers Association,
Tampa Bay Beekeepers Association and the Florida State Beekeepers
Association. He also was a recently-appointed member of the
National Honey Board and a long-time supporter of the American
Many knew Frank as the second-generation operator of
Randall's Wax Works. Those of us in Florida also knew him as a
person who would participate at almost any gathering of
importance to the bee industry. He was especially active at
meetings of the Honey Bee Technical Council of the Division of
Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services. Frank brought a wealth of knowledge about bees and
beekeeping to industry concerns, and it was often used to advance
deliberations toward successful conclusions. For his
contributions to the apicultural industry, he was honored as the
1989 "Beekeeper of Year" by the Florida State Beekeepers
Association and received an award with the same title in 1994
from the Sioux Bee Honey Association.
Frank was also active in other organizations, not intimately
associated with beekeeping. He was a member of the Moore Haven,
Glades County and Umatilla fire departments, the Glades County
Hunt Club and a veteran of the National Guard.
Florida's bee industry will miss Frank Randall in many ways.
He was truly one of the sunshine state's beekeeping icons.
Fortunately, his legacy will live on in the Wax Works that bears
his family's name. Frank's wife, Charlotte, along with the other
Randalls of Umatilla, plan to continue providing the quality
beeswax foundation that many have come to rely on, not only in
the southeast, but all across in the United States.
FLUVALINATE--USE IT RIGHT OR LOSE IT!
It is now official! Resistance to fluvalinate, the active
ingredient in Apistan (R), has been found in Varroa mites. This
was published in the February 1995 issue of Bee Culture (Vol.
123, No. 2, pp. 80-81) in "9th International Congress of
Acarology," by E. Sugden, K. Williams and D. Sammataro.
According to these authors: "The most ominous report came from
Dr. Roberto Nannelli of Italy. He has found areas where Varroa
mites are over 90 percent fluvalinate-resistant, and his claims
have been confirmed by German scientists."
Oscar Coindreau, representative of Sandoz Agro, the company
that makes Apistan (R), also verified this report at the recent
meeting of the American Beekeeping Federation in Austin, TX. He
indicated that resistance was patchy in Italy, but in certain
areas, Apistan (R) provided no control. And it doesn't take much
resistance before Apistan (R) loses its effectiveness, according
to Mr. Coindreau, because anything less than 99 percent control,
is in reality, no control. That's because mite populations tend
to bounce back so readily in populous bee colonies.
All investigators indicate that the cause of this resistance
is not Apistan (R), but beekeepers' misuse of other formulations
of fluvalinate. In Europe the product is called Klartan (R) and
in the United States, Mavrik (R). All agree the use of these
chemical products soaked into wooden strips, cardboard, paper
towels, or in some cases, simply sprayed into colonies, is a
certain recipe for developing resistant Varroa mites.
Although considered "ominous" in Europe, in the United
States resistant mites mean disaster. That's because most other
countries of the world have alternative treatments that are
legal. According to the authors of the article: "In general,
European scientists felt that the best way to slow development of
resistance in the mites is to have at least two types of
treatment which could be applied alternately." This advice is
mirrored in many other situations where possible resistance in
organisms to pesticides and antibiotics exists (see "When Bugs
Fight Back," APIS, Vol. 12, No. 11, November 1994). It turns out
that some European countries even have three Varroa mite
treatments to turn to, rotating Apistan (R) with formic acid and
In contrast to those in Europe, United States beekeepers
have only one legal treatment, Apistan (R). The only other
candidate treatment at the moment in the United States is formic
acid. Although generally effective, there can be many
complications in using this product, including, queen and worker
loss even when applied correctly. It is also caustic, one reason
it is not looked on favorably by regulatory officials. According
to one German researcher, efforts need to be increased to develop
a formic acid-based product that is safe and foolproof, and can
be registered quickly.
The authors of the article, therefore, conclude: "It may
not be a question of 'if' but only 'when and where' the first
super-Varroa mites will show up in North America. This should
serve a warning to all beekeepers to use control methods only as
directed on their labels."
The best way to ensure killing as many mites as possible
without developing super Varroa resistant to fluvalinate is to
use Apistan (R) right and only once. This philosophy, along with
proper application recommendations, was published in the fall
1994, Apiculture Newsletter, published by the Ontario Ministry of
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Here is what the authors (G. Grant, and M. Nasr, in consultation
with L. Goczan of Sandoz Agro Canada) say in their article
"Apistan Strips - Use'em Right, Use'em once!":
"Apistan (R) is a plastic strip that contains a miticide,
fluvalinate. Fluvalinate is a contact poison that kills Varroa
mite. But Varroa mites must contact the right dose before they
"Fluvalinate does not mix with water, but it does mix well
with oils and waxes. As bees walk over the strip, the
fluvalinate moves into the oils found on the surface of their
bodies. When bees contact each other in the hive, the miticide
is passed on. In a matter of hours all the bees in the hive are
covered with fluvalinate. Adult mites that contact these bees
will be killed by the miticide.
"As fluvalinate is picked up from the surface of the strip
the concentration drops. More fluvalinate then moves out from
the center of the strip to the outside surface. The strip is
designed to deliver the correct amount of miticide to the surface
over the 42-day treatment period.
"Eventually most of the fluvalinate is removed from the
strip -- the strip is spent. There is no longer enough miticide
left in the strip to kill Varroa mites....
"Why a 42-day treatment period? Worker bees take 21 days to
develop from egg to adult. Drones need up to 24 days to develop.
By leaving the strips in the hive for 42 days or two worker bee
generations, all adult mites and their matured offspring will be
exposed to the miticide. Remember, the mite must contact the
fluvalinate in order to be killed. Mites in capped brood cells
escape exposure until they emerge from the cell with the adult
"Why not leave strips in over winter? Because two potential
problems might occur:
1. Residues- fluvalinate mixes with oils and waxes. Leaving
strips in over winter might result in a build up of residues in
2. Resistance- mites are not equally susceptible to fluvalinate.
Leaving mites in contact with spent strips may kill the most
susceptible mites, leaving the more resistant mites to reproduce
in their place."
"Use one (1) strip for every five (5) frames covered by bees
in brood boxes. Some strong hives may need three strips, some
weak hives will only need one. Place strips down between the
frames so that they contact each side of the cluster. The
average hive will likely need two.
"Can Apistan strips be reused? No, with one exception.
There is no sure way of knowing if enough fluvalinate remains in
a strip to guarantee that it will work a second time.
"The exception: If the strip was used once, only for three
days to detect mites, and if the strip was then stored properly
between use, you might reuse the strip. You might reuse it for
either detecting mites for a 3-day period or for one 42-day
"Store strips in a cool, dry and dark location wrapped in
aluminum foil in an air-tight bag. Avoid direct sunlight. Don't
store strips near chemicals or pesticides. Don't store strips
where they could contaminate food, feed or water.
"In Ontario, Apistan (R) is registered as a Schedule 3
pesticide. As with other 'homeowner' products, strips are
approved for disposal in municipal landfills. Some
municipalities have their own special requirements for disposal
of Schedule 3 pesticides."
In the United States, the instructions on the label are the
law. They must be followed, even if varying from what the
authors say in the above article or other writings on the
subject. In addition, when applying Apistan (R), or any
registered chemical, the person must have in his possession a
copy of the label.
Thus, when it comes to Apistan (R), the old adage, "use it
or lose it," must be modified. If U.S. beekeepers are to
maximize the utility of the one legal and effective treatment
they have for Varroa, what many consider the most dangerous
organism affecting beekeeping today, they must "use it right or
NATIONAL HONEY BOARD EVALUATES ITSELF
What do you get for your money? That's the question the
National Honey Board (NHB) tried to answer at the recent American
Beekeeping Fedearation convention in Austin, TX.
To set the stage, the executive director Bob Smith said, the
Board's goal is to promote and maintain existing demand for honey
and while increasing demand in selected markets. The NHB must
not be crisis oriented, he said, but must focus on what it does
best, long-range promotional efforts of honey. One indication of
industry support, Mr. Smith concluded, is that the vast majority
of handlers are assiduously collecting NHB assessments in a
The NHB budget is about $3 million. Sherry Jennings the
Board's industry relations director, provided an overview on how
this money is being used. The vast majority is honey promotion
(50%), followed by food technology (16%) and Foodservice (10%).
Product research consumes six percent and crisis management four
percent. table shows that most funds being expended in consumer
In keeping with its basic mission, the Board engages in a
great many advertising projects throughout the year and has an
excellent rapport with the press. There have been a couple of
"Hints for Heloise" columns that featured honey, due to the
efforts of Mary Humann, the Board's press relations officer.
Any beekeeper can also request a honey sales kit from the Board,
as well as brochures to help in local sales efforts. Contact the
Board toll free at 800/553-7162.
Perhaps the most exciting area for the Board is the
development of new products. Ms. Jennings discussed projects
concerned with honey meats (poultry particularly), honey frozen
deserts (yogurt), honey spreads, and honey beers. Several
microbreweries have launched honey-based beer with good success,
including Samuel Adams. Other research being supported by the
Board, Ms. Jennings said, is concerned with honey and fat systems
(peanut butter), honey and flavor enhancement, honey in
microwaveable foods, and honey use in fat-free potato chips and
frozen baking dough.
It is impossible to describe all the programs and
initiatives described at the Austin meeting, but fortunately, the
Board has published a brochure detailing many of them, along with
thumbnail sketches and photos of all Board members. It is called
"Building a Successful Future." This publication reveals the
vitality of the Board's programs and makes excellent promotional
material for those who ask where their assessments are going and
how they are being spent. For a copy contact the Office of the
American Beekeeping Federation, P.O. Box 1048, Jesup, GA 31545,
Malcolm T. Sanford
Bldg 970, Box 110620
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
Phone (904) 392-1801, Ext. 143
BITNET Address: MTS@IFASGNV; INTERNET Address: MTS@GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU
APIS on the World Wide Web--http://gnv.ifas.ufl.edu/~entweb/apis/apis.htm
Copyright (c) M.T. Sanford 1995 "All Rights Reserved"