The effects of temperature and dose of formic acid on treatment efficacy against Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae), a parasite of Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

  • Robyn M. Underwood
  • Robert W. Currie


In order to decrease the variability of formic acid treatments against the honey bee parasite the varroa mite, Varroa destructor, it is necessary to determine the dose-time combination that best controls mites without harming bees. The concentration × time (CT) product is a valuable tool for studying fumigants and how they might perform under various environmental conditions. This laboratory study is an assessment of the efficacy of formic acid against the varroa mite under a range of formic acid concentrations and temperatures. The objectives are 1) to determine the effect of temperature and dose of formic acid on worker honey bee and varroa mite survival, 2) to determine the CT50 products for both honey bees and varroa mites and 3) to determine the best temperature and dose to optimize selectivity of formic acid treatment for control of varroa mites. Worker honey bees and varroa mites were fumigated at 0, 0.01, 0.02, 0.04, 0.08, and 0.16 mg/L at 5, 15, 25, and 35 °C for 12 d. Mite and bee mortality were assessed at regular intervals. Both mite and bee survival were affected by formic acid dose. Doses of 0.08 and 0.16 mg/L were effective at killing mites at all temperatures tested above 5 °C. There was a significant interaction between temperature, dose, and species for the CT50 product. The difference between the CT50 product of bees and mites was significant at only a few temperature-dose combinations. CT product values showed that at most temperatures the greatest fumigation efficiency occurred at lower doses of formic acid. However, the best fumigation efficiency and selectivity combination for treatments occurred at a dose of 0.16 mg/L when the temperature was 35 °C.

Apis mellifera CT product Formic acid Fumigation Mite Varroa destructor 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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