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Date:         Mon, 24 Jul 1995 12:25:00 -0700
Reply-To:     Discussion of Bee Biology <BEE-L@UACSC2.ALBANY.EDU>
Sender:       Discussion of Bee Biology <BEE-L@UACSC2.ALBANY.EDU>
From:         "Kerry Clark 784-2225 fax (604) 784 2299"
              <KCLARK@GALAXY.GOV.BC.CA>
Subject:      Canadian formic label

Below is the wording of the approved label for use of formic acid for bee mites in Canada. This label addresses the specific requirements of Canadian pesticide registration laws. To me it seems over-precationary in places, but that's the major orientation of these labels. After 2 years of experience with it, 2 situations have emerged that may warrant added precaution: One is to NOT apply formic acid while it has been heated by sitting in the sun. The resulting shock treatment to colonies, from the faster evaporation of the warmed, volatile acid, is currently the best explanation I can give, for the rare cases of up to 30 % of colonies in one yard, either behaving as if they don't have a queen for a few days, or actually killing the queen. The second would be a precaution to avoid applying the acid directly to bees sitting on the bottom board. Occasionally a beekeeper has removed supers, squeezing the bees into 1 1/2 or 2 brood boxes, then treated (as directed) on the bottom board, not noticing that the board was covered by bees an inch or so back of the entrance. A few thousand bees can be killed this way, and I would expect the treatment would be less effective, since the wetted bees stagger out the entrance, reducing the amount acting on mites. The label addresses the above situations as "slightly increased bee mortality or queen rejection, especially at temperature above 30 oC", but in practice it has been almost always unnoticeably small, with a few reports of queen losses, up to 30 %, or the fall bee drenchings. I advise beekeepers to try out their chosen detailed method, on a few colonies rather than committing their whole operation. That in itself would have avoided most of the problems. You'll have to use some imagination with this label, since the formatting and fonts etc are altered.

The label also does not specify the prolonged or continuous-release methods that are in development, to reduce labour and avoid the hive shock problems.

Kerry Clark, Apiculture Specialist B.C. Ministry of Agriculture 1201 103 Ave Dawson Creek B.C. V1G 4J2 CANADA Tel (604) 784-2225 fax (604) 784-2299 INTERNET KCLARK@GALAXY.GOV.BC.CA

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FORMIC ACID For treatment of honey bees infested with Varroa or tracheal mites For detection of Varroa mites in honey bee colonies

COMMERCIAL

DANGER - CORROSIVE TO SKIN AND EYES

(Symbol: Octagon with skeleton-hand in beaker) Scheduled under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act

READ THE LABEL BEFORE USING

KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN GUARANTEE: Formic Acid: 65% (in water) ...Supplier's postal address ... NET CONTENTS:________

Precautions: KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. Corrosive to eyes and skin by direct contact or by exposure to vapors. Harmful or fatal if swallowed. Potential skin sensitizer. Do not get in eyes or on skin or clothing. Do not breathe vapors. Wear goggles or face shield, chemically-resistant gloves, apron and boots when handling liquid formic acid. Work outdoors, and always stand upwind of the use location. If a strong vinegar odor is encountered, area should be evacuated until the vapors have dissipated. When applying, do not eat, drink or smoke. Wash skin thoroughly with soap and water after handling. Remove contaminated clothing immediately if contaminated by splash or spill. Store and wash contaminated clothing separately from household laundry. To prevent accidental exposure, post appropriate signs to prevent opening of treated hives within 24 hours of application. Do not contaminate water supply, ponds, lakes or streams with this product. Formic acid will disturb colony activities and may, within one day of application, result in queen rejection or a slight increase in bee mortality, especially at temperatures above 30oC.

Time of Application: Do not use when honey supers are in place, to prevent contamination of marketable honey or wax by unwanted residues. Use when outside temperatures are 10oC to 30oC and leave hive entrances fully open. In spring, treatment must be discontinued at least 2 weeks before the anticipated honey flow. Treatment may be applied in fall after the honey crop has been removed. Directions for Use:

For two-story colonies (bees covering 8 to 20 full-size Langstroth frames or equivalent): For control of tracheal mites: Apply 30 to 40 ml of 65 % formic acid onto the bottom board or onto absorbent paper (three 15 cm square napkins or paper towels) placed on the bottom board or on the hive top-bars. Re-apply at 5 to 7 day intervals, for a total of three treatments. The absorbent paper pad remaining after the first treatment can be used again for subsequent treatments, or it can be replaced with another pad.

For control of Varroa mites: Apply 30 to 40 ml of 65 % formic acid onto the bottom board or onto absorbent paper placed on the bottom board or hive top bars (top bar applications may be less effective for Varroa). Re-apply at 1 to 4 day intervals, for a total of three to six treatments.

For control of both tracheal and Varroa mites: Apply 30 to 40 ml of 65 % formic acid onto the bottom board or onto absorbent paper placed on the bottom board or hive top bars (top bar applications may be less effective for Varroa). Re-apply at 4 day intervals, for a total of four to six treatments.

For detection of Varroa mites: Place a sticky white paper covered by a 3x3 mm mesh screen on the bottom board. Apply 40 ml of 65 % formic acid to an absorbent paper placed on the screen or on the hive top bars. Check the sticky surface for fallen mites after 24 hours, and again after 3 days, when it can be removed.

For one-story colonies (bees covering 4 to 10 full-size Langstroth frames or equivalent): Apply half the amounts indicated above, using the same method and timing.

First Aid: IF ON SKIN: Remove contaminated clothing immediately. Wash affected area with soap or mild detergent and large amounts of water. If chemical burn develops, cover area with a sterile, dry dressing, bandage securely and contact a physician immediately. IF IN EYES: Wash eyes immediately with large amounts of water. Cover with sterile bandages. Contact a physician immediately. IF INGESTED: Do not induce vomiting. Drink large quantities of water or milk. If vomiting occurs, administer fluids repeatedly. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Contact a physician or Poison Control Center immediately. Take container or product name with you to the hospital emergency department or physician. IF INHALED: Remove person to a safe, uncontaminated area. If breathing has stopped, clear airway and start artificial respiration. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Get immediate medical attention. Take container or product name with you to the hospital emergency department or physician.

Storage: Store in original container, in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Use caution when opening the container, especially in warm weather, as pressure may have built up. Avoid heat, sparks and open flames. Store away from sulphuric acid and oxidizing materials. Formic acid vapors are heavier than air, and may collect in low places, or flow to an ignition source and flash back.

Disposal: Absorbent pads containing formic acid should be disposed of according to provincial instructions. For information on the disposal of unused, unwanted or damaged product and the cleanup of spills, contact the regional office of Environmental Protection, Environment Canada. Follow provincial instructions for any required cleaning of the formic acid container prior to its disposal. Dispose of the container in accordance with provincial requirements.

Notice to User: This control product is to be used only in accordance with the directions on this label. It is an offense under the Pest Control Products Act to use a control product under unsafe conditions.

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