What Varroa treatments can be alternated?

Most beekeepers are aware that Varroa treatments have to be alternated. This means not using the same treatment twice consecutively without using a different treatment in the middle. This is especially important to prevent the rise of mites that are resistant to synthetic chemical treatments.  For example, New Zealand beekeepers typically use flumethrin (Bayvarol) in the spring and amitraz (Apivar) in the autumn.

With the availability of a few commercial treatments, sometimes it can be a bit confusing to know which treatments can be alternated and which treatments should be avoided in consecutive applications. What is important is to understand the main active ingredient and avoid applications with treatment s having the same or similar active ingredient. So here is a guide based on active ingredients:

Active Ingredient Commercial Products Type
flumethrin, tau-fluvalinate Bayvarol, Apistan synthetic chemical
amitraz Apivar synthetic chemical
formic acid Mite Away Quick Strips organic chemical
thymol ApiGuard, ApiLife Var organic chemical
oxalic acid organic chemical

Products with the same or similar active ingredient, such as Bayvarol and Apistan, should be avoided in consecutive applications but can be alternated with any of the others. It is believed that resistance to organic chemicals is more difficult, but if you want to be safe you can also avoid ApiGuard and ApiLife Var in consecutive applications since they contain the same active ingredient.

Dr Pablo German