Formic Pro Issues?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Paradise, PA, USA
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    6

    Default Formic Pro Issues?

    I treated this particular hive with the "single strip 2x at 10 day interval" protocol. Mite count (alcohol wash) prior to first treatment on 8/24/19 was three mites per 100 bees. I followed the Formic Pro instructions to the letter, save for a 13 day interval between treatments due to concerns about predicted high temperatures on day 10. The hive has two deep brood boxes and three shallow supers; I'll be pulling all the surplus honey tomorrow. The hive is the only one in this particular yard and I know of no other hives within foraging distance.

    The hive seems fine on inspection today; plenty of stores, a marked queen (introduced 6/10/19), and lots of brood in all stages. However, mite count on alcohol wash is now 9 mites per 100 bees. What gives?? I should mention that my notes from a hive check on 8/21/19 indicate that I saw a LOT of drone brood. However, very little drone brood today and plenty of worker brood.

    Assuming the drone brood harbored a ton of mites, I would have expected the FP to kill most of them. Regardless, what would you all suggest for treatment at this point? I have both an OA vaporizer and a supply of Apiguard, and am comfortable using both. I'm leaning toward the Apiguard, as I'm currently involved in setting up an estate sale for my father; scheduling multiple OA treatments could be difficult. Of course, I still have the Formic Pro, but I'm reluctant to use it again.

    On a side note, Dad started beekeeping at age 16 and harvested his last honey crop two years before his passing in 2018 at age 89. Working his three remaining hives brings back a lot of good memories.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Surrey, B.C. Canada-Near Vancouver
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    The 13 day interval seems a little long, according to the instructions. I don't think the split treatment should have such a large gap. I'm doing the same treatment for my hive right now, just started my 2nd strip with a 24hr interval. You could easily have dead mites still dropping although 3 shallow supers may allowed bees to get too far away from the treatment for it to be totally effective. I know that the Formic Pro was still causing about 100 mites a day to drop even during the interval (although short). Plus I think also the instructions say to wait until 16 days after the end of treatment to see the full effect of the treatment so numbers should go down until then. If you're still having 10 or so mites/100 after that, your treatment wasn't successful for some reason.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    5,225

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    go to randy olivers web site and use his mite calculator, ignore that you treated and see what your mite count would be with out treating, I'n my opinion the one strip method doesn't kill the mites under the cappings.
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    10,037

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    You are to be congratulated for doing a before and after mite count. So many people do not do that, do a treatment that didn't work, but assume they treated so all is well, and end up with a dead hive. Your treatment failed, but at least you know it did, so can take other measures.

    Without seeing the hive, can't say why it didn't work, but there are several things that will prevent a formic based treatment from working properly. For me, I have found that if a formic treatment did not kill at least a few larvae (which can be seen thrown outside the entrance by the bees), it probably was not strong enough to do a good job on the mites either.

    Re the possible apiguard treatment, a note of caution. Both apiguard, and formic, are fumigants. For whatever reason be it hive configuuration or whatever, one fumigant has failed, so the same thing could happen to the other fumigant.

    My personal view would be to treat with Apivar strips. Very fullproof and reliable. You just put them among the brood, remove 8 - 10 weeks later, and job done.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    good points here. i will add that i typically see an influx of mites starting in september right after i pull my treatment strips. dont be so sure that there are no other hives within flying distance. i will hit with AOV when brood rearing shuts down.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Northeast PA
    Posts
    244

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by kuhdoktor View Post
    I treated this particular hive with the "single strip 2x at 10 day interval" protocol. Mite count (alcohol wash) prior to first treatment on 8/24/19 was three mites per 100 bees. I followed the Formic Pro instructions to the letter, save for a 13 day interval between treatments due to concerns about predicted high temperatures on day 10. The hive has two deep brood boxes and three shallow supers; I'll be pulling all the surplus honey tomorrow. The hive is the only one in this particular yard and I know of no other hives within foraging distance.

    The hive seems fine on inspection today; plenty of stores, a marked queen (introduced 6/10/19), and lots of brood in all stages. However, mite count on alcohol wash is now 9 mites per 100 bees. What gives?? I should mention that my notes from a hive check on 8/21/19 indicate that I saw a LOT of drone brood. However, very little drone brood today and plenty of worker brood.

    Assuming the drone brood harbored a ton of mites, I would have expected the FP to kill most of them. Regardless, what would you all suggest for treatment at this point? I have both an OA vaporizer and a supply of Apiguard, and am comfortable using both. I'm leaning toward the Apiguard, as I'm currently involved in setting up an estate sale for my father; scheduling multiple OA treatments could be difficult. Of course, I still have the Formic Pro, but I'm reluctant to use it again.

    On a side note, Dad started beekeeping at age 16 and harvested his last honey crop two years before his passing in 2018 at age 89. Working his three remaining hives brings back a lot of good memories.
    Yet another positive review of formic acid treatments. /sarcasm

    Can we keep tallies of all the negative threads about formic acid treatments?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    2,749

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    What about all of us that have had positive results with either MAQs or Formic Pro? It is unusual for a person to report a positive result when it is common place. Only when we have an unusual result do we sound off. All of my experience with Formic, even when the temps were in the upper range, has shown me that it is effective.

    All treatments can have glitches, I just finished treating with Apivar and had good results, except for one colony that had an alcohol wash increase of 6 mites over the wash number before treatment.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Snohomish, WA USA
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    What about all of us that have had positive results with either MAQs or Formic Pro?
    These variables could have affected the treatment efficacy: long break between strips (13 days would merit starting over); a bit much hive space for a single strip treatment, especially, to cover; possibly the FP strips could have been expired although they are supposed to have a two-year shelf life. Definitely do a cycle of OAV after you have reduced the hive to two deeps.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,738

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    What about all of us that have had positive results with either MAQs or Formic Pro? It is unusual for a person to report a positive result when it is common place. Only when we have an unusual result do we sound off. All of my experience with Formic, even when the temps were in the upper range, has shown me that it is effective.

    All treatments can have glitches, I just finished treating with Apivar and had good results, except for one colony that had an alcohol wash increase of 6 mites over the wash number before treatment.

    Yes, bad news makes the headlines!

    I have seen quite a number of instances where people here on the forums reported problems but when all the details were coaxed out there appeared to usually suggest one or more of the instructions or cautions were overlooked. People quite commonly have hives supercede or go queenless without any treatment.
    Frank

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Paradise, PA, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by username00101 View Post
    Yet another positive review of formic acid treatments. /sarcasm

    Can we keep tallies of all the negative threads about formic acid treatments?
    In defense of formic, I should say that my experience with both MAQS and now FP has been generally positive. Good mite reduction, no queen loss, and what I consider an acceptable amount of brood kill in the twenty or so hives where I have used it. For now, I expect to continue to use FP where appropriate and will consider this hive to be the outlier.

    I would have preferred to apply the second strip at the suggested 10 day interval, but was concerned by temperature forecasts above the suggested maximum. Package insert states that this is an acceptable reason to delay the second treatment, but that the second strip should be then applied as soon as conditions moderate. In my case, this was on day 13. A second hive (at another location) treated with the same delay had good mite reduction.

    Thanks for all your responses. I have decided to take Oldtimer's advice and will try Apivar.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Wimer, Oregon
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    my guess is most failures with FP or MAQ's is not ventilating properly during the treatment with opening under the lid.
    The first time I used maq and fp, I had serious losses of bees dying, then I reread the instructions, make sure to ventilate.
    after that f... up, since I started ventilating the hives when treating, no problems with the bees dying during the treatment.
    DavidZ

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    i have used maqs the past two springs and will continue to use a formic product every spring. i apply two pads to singles when its time to put first honey super on. entrances are half width. no top vent per se but i will use a super with a hole in it. 7-14 days later i go back and remove pads, shake bees from super to bottom box, place queen excluder and more supers. there will be eggs or nectar in that first super to entice bees through excluder. no queen loss experienced thus far, and roughly 1-2 cups of dead bees per colony at the entrance. this sets them back slightly right before swarm season and by the time they recover they are well into nectar storing mode with wall to wall brood. no swarms and #100avg this year for me. 2019 spring/summer was a boomer for honey though. usually NJ is #50-60avg.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Northeast PA
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    244

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by COAL REAPER View Post
    i have used maqs the past two springs and will continue to use a formic product every spring. i apply two pads to singles when its time to put first honey super on. entrances are half width. no top vent per se but i will use a super with a hole in it. 7-14 days later i go back and remove pads, shake bees from super to bottom box, place queen excluder and more supers. there will be eggs or nectar in that first super to entice bees through excluder. no queen loss experienced thus far, and roughly 1-2 cups of dead bees per colony at the entrance. this sets them back slightly right before swarm season and by the time they recover they are well into nectar storing mode with wall to wall brood. no swarms and #100avg this year for me. 2019 spring/summer was a boomer for honey though. usually NJ is #50-60avg.
    Formic acid is so detrimental to bees that they stop swarming.

    I had an EFB outbreak this year, and EFB was less dangerous to bees than formic acid because many of those EFB colonies did end up swarming...


    ...Yet another positive formic acid testimonial...

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Northeast PA
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    244

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by kuhdoktor View Post
    In defense of formic, I should say that my experience with both MAQS and now FP has been generally positive. Good mite reduction, no queen loss, and what I consider an acceptable amount of brood kill in the twenty or so hives where I have used it. For now, I expect to continue to use FP where appropriate and will consider this hive to be the outlier.

    I would have preferred to apply the second strip at the suggested 10 day interval, but was concerned by temperature forecasts above the suggested maximum. Package insert states that this is an acceptable reason to delay the second treatment, but that the second strip should be then applied as soon as conditions moderate. In my case, this was on day 13. A second hive (at another location) treated with the same delay had good mite reduction.

    Thanks for all your responses. I have decided to take Oldtimer's advice and will try Apivar.
    I can vouch for Apivar as well.

    Only downside is that it's $12 per hive for a double brood box.

    However, formic acid is $8 per hive, so the difference isn't major.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by username00101 View Post
    Formic acid is so detrimental to bees that they stop swarming.

    I had an EFB outbreak this year, and EFB was less dangerous to bees than formic acid because many of those EFB colonies did end up swarming...


    ...Yet another positive formic acid testimonial...
    i wouldnt say it stop swarming. there is a blip in their growth. the queen ceases laying for ~3 days. this cuts the amount of OPEN brood in half or more. open brood is claimed by some to be a significant trigger for swarming. if done at the correct time, you throw off the population balance enough to thwart swarming. that half reduction in OPEN brood is a much smaller reduction in TOTAL brood and they rebound well with lavishly fed larvae following formic. i am talking of only 3 days laying, ~6,000 eggs, when your population is climbing towards 60,000. the 1-2 cups of dead bees at the entrance is insignificant.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Warren County, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by username00101 View Post
    I can vouch for Apivar as well.

    Only downside is that it's $12 per hive for a double brood box.

    However, formic acid is $8 per hive, so the difference isn't major.
    apivar is 50% additional cost to maqs. not arguing, i use apivar after i pull honey when i have also used maqs on same hives when i put honey supers on.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    syracuse n.y.
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    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    have used formic since mite away II came out, who knows how long ago, and used maqs, and now use pro's, always killed mites, never killed a queen, and I typically use it in the heat of July.
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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    642

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by wildbranch2007 View Post
    have used formic since mite away II came out, who knows how long ago, and used maqs, and now use pro's, always killed mites, never killed a queen, and I typically use it in the heat of July.
    What sort of temperatures is the heat of July for you, wildbranch?
    Beekeeping 6 Years - 12 production hives and about 12 nucs - Treatment OAV Only

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    syracuse n.y.
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    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    above the recommended temps, but I only do one pad, and I have 3 deep's, with plenty of ventilation
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Claiborne County, East Tennessee, USA
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    62

    Default Re: Formic Pro Issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by username00101 View Post
    Yet another positive review of formic acid treatments. /sarcasm

    Can we keep tallies of all the negative threads about formic acid treatments?
    And yet another really useful comment. I have used Formic and have no issues.

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