Beekeepers approved for product to control varroa mites

JACKSON — United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved an emergency exemption that will help Mississippi beekeepers control varroa mite infestations in honeybee colonies, according to Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith.

The product receiving emergency exemption under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) is the miticide HopGuard manufactured by BetaTec Hop Products. HopGuard cardboard strips treated with potassium salt of hop beta acids may be inserted in honeybee colonies or packages of adult worker bees prior to installation in a honey bee colony to control varroa mite infestations.

The varroa mite is a harmful, honeybee parasite that feeds on adult bees and developing brood. If left untreated, varroa mites can deform bees and eventually kill the colony.

The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce’s Bureau of Plant Industry has authority under Section 18 of FIFRA to obtain an exemption from EPA for a non-labeled use of a pesticide if significant losses of an agricultural commodity are likely and alternative, labeled products are not available or effective.

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