Varroa Mite Australia: How To Treat Varroa Mite Apitraz and Bayvarol Strips

Watch video here:


Beekeeping, an age-old practice entwined with the promise of honey and essential pollination services, comes with its share of challenges. Chief among them is the relentless Varroa destructor mite, a formidable threat to bee colonies worldwide. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the rich insights provided by an experienced New Zealand beekeeper, offering valuable lessons and implications for Australian apiculturists. Whether you're a seasoned apiarist or just starting, understanding the nuances of chemical treatment options is crucial for maintaining robust and thriving bee colonies.

The Varroa Challenge in Australia:

Australia, like many regions, faces the persistent challenge of Varroa mites. These tiny parasites can wreak havoc on bee colonies, causing colony collapse if left unchecked. The insights shared in this guide provide a roadmap for Australian beekeepers to effectively combat Varroa and ensure the continued health of their hives.

Lesson 1: Strategic Treatment Timing - Spring and Autumn

The video underscores the significance of treating hives twice a year – in Spring and Autumn. This strategic approach aligns with the lifecycle of the Varroa mite and is crucial for keeping infestation levels low. Australian beekeepers can adapt this timing to suit their local conditions and climate, emphasizing the importance of a proactive approach.

Lesson 2: Rotating Treatment Products to Prevent Resistance

A critical lesson highlighted in the video is the necessity of rotating treatment products. Continuous use of the same product risks Varroa developing resistance. In Australia, where the threat of Varroa is real, beekeepers should familiarize themselves with various products and create a rotation strategy. The three products emphasized in the video – Bayvarol, Apitraz, and Formic Pro – each offer unique formulations and modes of action.

Products Overview:

  • Bayvarol: Known for its simplicity and effectiveness, Bayvarol comes in strip form. With a recommended four strips per brood box, beekeepers must strategically place them between frames, allowing the bees to distribute the miticide throughout the hive.
  • Apitraz: Utilizing Amitraz, Apitraz is administered with two strips per brood box. The strips have arms that enable them to hang between frames, facilitating optimal contact with the bees for effective Varroa control.
  • Formic Pro: This treatment, based on formic acid, employs vapor-releasing strips. A departure from the others, Formic Pro strips are placed on top of the frames. Beekeepers need to split the strips and position them within the hive, allowing the vapor to reach Varroa mites.

Key Considerations:

  • Read Instructions Thoroughly: Detailed product instructions are crucial. Beekeepers should diligently read and follow these instructions, considering dosage, placement, and duration of treatment.
  • Wear Protective Gear: Beekeepers must wear gloves when handling these products, as they are veterinary medicines. Safety is paramount to avoid direct contact with these chemicals.
  • Timing and Withholding Periods: Adhering to treatment schedules and understanding withholding periods is essential. Beekeepers should ensure compliance to guarantee the safety of honey for human consumption.

Additional Insights and Considerations:

4. Monitoring Varroa Levels:

  • The video stresses the importance of monitoring Varroa levels post-treatment. Beekeepers are encouraged to sample and assess Varroa levels to ensure the treatment's efficacy. This proactive approach aids in identifying potential resistance issues and adjusting strategies accordingly.

5. Challenges and Adaptations:

  • Dr. Mark Goodwin highlights the challenges faced by New Zealand beekeepers in managing Varroa resistance to treatments. Australian beekeepers can learn from these challenges, emphasizing the need for adaptability and continuous learning in the face of evolving Varroa threats.


The battle against Varroa requires strategic planning and continuous vigilance. By incorporating the lessons learned from New Zealand's experience, Australian beekeepers can tailor their Varroa management strategies. Through the judicious use of chemical treatments, adherence to guidelines, and a proactive approach to monitoring, Australian beekeepers can safeguard their colonies and contribute to the thriving ecosystem of beekeeping.