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Varroa mites are pests that attach to honey bees and cause massive colony losses. Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites aims to assist beekeepers in mite control in their hives. Its active ingredient is Amitraz (12.5%). Taktic is highly efficient when used correctly and poses little risk to beekeepers and bees. Taktic is also safe for honey consumers and other bee product users. Taktic is classified as an agrochemical biological pesticide and insecticide. C19H23N3 is its chemical formula.
Taktic bee treatment has long been used by beekeepers. Its first documented use was in the early 2000s. The miticide has been used successfully in a number of countries around the world, including Israel, the United States, and Yugoslavia. In Israel, all beekeepers were required to use Taktic for 5 consecutive treatments every 3-4 days as part of a national campaign. It saved the country’s bees from extinction due to Varroa mites.
How Varroa Mites Affect Honey Bees
Mites in honey bee colonies lay eggs in brood cells where queen bees have also laid eggs. Varroa mites feed on honey bee larvae and food stored in the cell for bee larvae after they hatch from the egg. As a result, adult honey bees emerge weak or with deformities. Beekeepers who have Varroa mite infestations in their honey bee colonies should act quickly to save their colonies. Uncontrolled mite infestations cause colony collapse and hive absconding. Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites saves beekeepers from these losses and ensures that honey bee colonies remain healthy.
How Taktic Bee Treatment Works
Taktic is sold by various companies under various brand names. It is available in either canned liquid or strip form. Others may sell Taktic as a powder. Taktic bee treatment cans may contain powder or liquid. Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites contains Amitraz, which is fat soluble. It is highly unstable and volatile in honey. This allows it to be easily and completely degraded within a few weeks. It degrades even faster in beeswax.
Amitraz, which is found in Taktic bee treatment, acts on the octopamine receptors in Varroa mites, causing severe stress and eventually death. It affects the nervous system of the mites, preventing them from clinging to bees. If it does not cause death, Amitraz causes significant changes in mite behavior, rendering the mites harmless to bees. Humans lack octopamine receptors and are thus relatively safe even when exposed to Amitraz. However, Amitraz may affect other areas of the nervous system in humans, resulting in some limited toxicity.
Taktic bee treatment can be combined with other acaricides and Varroa mite control methods in integrated pest management programs. Formic acid, for example, can be successfully combined with Amitraz with no loss of effectiveness. The inclusion of other miticides in your honey bee colony pest management strategy aids in the prevention of Taktic bee treatment resistance. If you notice Taktic resistance, you should immediately switch to another treatment to which the mites are not resistant. Click here for a list of other available Varroa mite treatments.
How to Use Taktic Bee Treatment for Varroa Mites
Taktic powder is packaged in a plastic or metal can. Beekeepers who use Taktic in powder form must dust infested beehives with the powder. Taktic powder should be liberally applied to entrances and brood frames. It is important not to use too much powder on bees. Some powder will inevitably fall on them, but try to keep it to a minimum. Bees are harmed by excessive Taktic exposure. This may weaken the honey bee colony you are attempting to protect, making it vulnerable to robber bee attacks.
1. Used as a strip
Taktic in strip form is more effective and easier to apply in beehives. Taktic strips are placed in the beehive between brood frames by beekeepers. Taktic is spread throughout the honey bee colony by bees brushing against the strips. Mites on bees become exposed to the miticide and fall off. Beekeepers may develop their own strips that outperform those sold by most companies. Cardboard and strong absorbent papers are popular materials among beekeepers when creating their own Taktic bee treatment strips.
2. In liquid form
Taktic may be purchased in liquid form by some beekeepers. Dilution is required, followed by spraying in your beehives. Taktic in liquid form necessitates the use of additional equipment, typically a hand sprayer or knapsack sprayer. An aerosolizing smoker can also be used to apply liquid Taktic. There are numerous smokers on the market, each sold by a different company. Smokers for aerosolizing have a 98% efficiency rate and are simple to use. They can be used in any type of hive and give the beekeeper complete control over dosing. They shield the beekeeper from the smoke and Amitraz exposure in Taktic.
Before using Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites, remove all honey supers from your beehives. This reduces the possibility of residues accumulating in bee wax and honey harvested later in the year. Beekeepers have taken an excellent step to protect their customers who consume honey and bee products from their apiaries.
Mixing Taktic for Bees
Taktic in liquid form contains a high concentration of Amitraz. Taktic for bees reduces the concentration of Amitraz in the liquid to safe levels for use in the beehive. Taktic concoctions are made by more than one company. Upon purchase, all manufacturers include mixing instructions with their product.
Taktic should be mixed to achieve a concentration of 12.5% Amitraz active ingredient. Once you’ve reached a 12.5% Amitraz concentration, you can apply the Taktic. Using the miticide in conjunction with Amitraz at a lower concentration yields poor miticidal results. If Taktic is not properly diluted, you will be using a preparation with a high concentration of Amitraz and risk killing honeybees in your colony.
Taktic’s most popular applications each have their own set of mixing instructions. One Taktic preparation may require you to mix it with 1 liter of water, whereas another preparation may require you to mix it with 2 liters of water. This necessitates reading all of the instructions for mixing and applying Taktic for bees.
Taktic Bee Treatment Applications
1. Taktic Hand Sprayer Application
Taktic should be applied to the beehive using aerosolizing equipment. For the job, a hand sprayer is ideal. It delivers Taktic liquid in its purest and highest quality form. The liquid Taktic then comes into contact with and kills Varroa mites in the beehive.
2. Using a Smoker to Apply Taktic
Taktic for bees can be applied using an aerosolizing sprayer by beekeepers. The hot smoker vaporizes the liquid Taktic. Vapors of the miticide released into the beehive condense evenly on the beehive’s various surfaces. Varroa mites on bees’ backs die when they come into contact with the condensed Taktic.
3. Taktic Strip Application for Bees
The third method for applying Taktic to bees is to use strips. When you apply liquid Taktic in strips, it works better. Taktic is more concentrated in the beehive after strip application than after aerosol application. This allows it to come into contact with and kill many more Varroa mites. Taktic’s slow release in the strip application method also allows the miticide to act on newly hatched Varroa mites in the beehive. All of this contributes to a reduction in the number of Varroa mites in the beehive. Strip applications of Taktic miticide, when used correctly, can result in the complete eradication of Varroa mites from the beehive.
To use Taktic in the strip application method, first mix the liquid Taktic to the desired Amitraz concentration before dipping cardboard or cloth strips in the Taktic preparation. When doing this, wear chemical-resistant gloves. Do not allow the chemical preparation to come into contact with your skin. Similar caution is required to avoid coming into contact with the Taktic preparation.
Furthermore, do not inhale Taktic vapors. Place the cardboard and cloth pieces on top of the beehive frames, allowing the cloth to dangle down between the frames. This arrangement should be repeated on all of the beehive boxes in a beehive stack.
Taktic Dosage for Bees
To avoid negative effects in your beekeeping operation, use the correct Taktic dosage for bees. Taktic overdosing kills bees and causes the chemical to remain in beehive products. Under-dosing Taktic in beehives results in a low death rate of Varroa mites and has the potential to increase Amitraz resistance in Varroa mites.
Determine how much Taktic you should use after preparing it by mixing it with the recommended amount of water. Smaller beehives necessitate less preparation. The amount of preparation you should use at a time is affected by the application method you use.
1. Taktic Dosage using Strips
Taktic is best applied in a beehive using strips, and its dosage is simple to calculate. Place strips of cloth between beehive frames after dipping them in Taktic. Use one strip for every five beehive frames in a beehive. Using this method of application, concentrate on the brood boxes for the best Varroa mite control.
Leave strips soaked in Taktic preparation in the beehive for a period of 42 to 56 days. If a strip becomes dry during this time, replace it with a freshly soaked strip. Two treatments per year are sufficient to eradicate Varroa mites from honeybee colonies. One treatment in early spring and another in autumn is ideal for keeping Varroa mite numbers low in the beehive while also avoiding treatments when honeybees are producing honey for storage in super boxes.
2. Taktic Dosage when when Spraying Beehives
Beehives can be sprayed with liquid Taktic preparations. You should open the beehive to do this effectively. Spray Taktic liquid on the inner sides of beehive boxes as well as the tops of beehive frames. You can also spray the liquid on the sides of the beehive frames.
When spraying Taktic into a beehive, pay special attention to the brood boxes, the bottom board, and the entrances. These areas have a high Varroa mite population and honeybee contact. As a result, liberally apply the Taktic to these areas. Cover all surfaces of interest with as much Taktic liquid as needed.
3. Taktic Dosage when Vaporizing Beehives
Heating is used to evenly distribute the miticide in the beehive when vaporizing Taktic liquid into it. It is a dependable substitute for spraying the liquid with mechanical sprayers. This method eliminates the need to open the beehive to apply Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites. To vaporize Taktic, you must first prepare a properly concentrated mix and then heat it in a smoker. There is no one size fits all amount that should be used in a beehive.
Use as much Taktic preparation as you need to satisfy your beekeeping needs. Ensure that the miticide condensate has been applied to all of the surfaces you have targeted. You can stop vaporizing more miticide into the beehive once you’ve achieved proper application and saturation. Two or more treatments per year are required to ensure effective Varroa mite control.
Time the treatments to coincide with honeybee population increases and times when the beehive produces little honey. You should remove the honey super boxes from the beehive before applying Taktic.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Taktic Bee Treatment
- Taktic is effective against mites where resistance to Varroa mites has not developed. Mites are quickly eliminated from your apiary when used correctly. It kills mites for an extended period of time, keeping your beehives free of Varroa mites. This article includes information on how beekeepers can test for mite resistance to Taktic.
- Taktic’s active ingredient, Amitraz, is highly flammable. It clears from the hive after some time in there. This eventually removes all residues from honey and beeswax. Taktic is therefore extremely safe for use in apiculture.
- Taktic is simple to handle and store when not in use. When stored in its original packaging in a cool place, it has a long shelf life. Amitraz can be stored under the recommended conditions for up to two years. It should be kept away from children and animals who might ingest it.
- Taktic is useful to beekeepers who practice other types of livestock agriculture because it is a broad spectrum acaricide effective in the control of ticks, lice, and fleas.
- Some mite populations have developed resistance to the active ingredient in Taktic, Amitraz. Taktic has thus been banned as a Varroa mite treatment in some countries, including the United States. Despite the ban, some beekeepers continue to use Taktic.
- Adult bees died at an unusually high rate after being treated with Taktic for Varroa mites, according to some beekeepers. With other miticides available to beekeepers, killing your bees and leaving the colony weak makes little sense.
- Taktic has the potential to cause harm to beekeepers and their families. Its presence and use by beekeepers pose a health risk that can be avoided by using alternative mite control methods in honey bee colonies.
- When using Taktic, you must remove the honey supers from the beehive. If this treatment is performed during the honey flow season, honey yields will be reduced. If you treat your beehives for Varroa mites during a season when bees are not actively storing up honey stocks, you can avoid this potential loss in apiary production levels.
Best Usage for Taktic Bee Treatment
Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites works best as strips hung in the beehive. It has the highest mite control effectiveness rate. It is also simple to remove strips from the beehive once mites have been eliminated from honey bee colonies. Beekeepers who do not want to use commercial Taktic strips can create their own using a variety of materials. Taktic strips slowly and steadily release Amitraz into the beehive at a relatively constant concentration. They last a long time and only allow for 2-3 treatments every 6 weeks.
The best time to use Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites is in the spring. The queen lays eggs in the spring, and the brood in the bee colony grows. It is safe to feed bees during the spring if Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites is used. The miticide has no effect on honey bee colonies’ feeding or reproduction behavior. Applying Taktic in the spring, when the brood is growing, ensures that you get healthy adult bees with no deformities. You are also permitted to use Taktic when necessary. If you notice that your honey bee colonies are infested with mites, you should treat them as soon as possible to reduce your losses. You don’t have to wait until spring to treat your beehives for Varroa mites, risking losing your entire honey bee colony.
Resistance to Taktic
It is critical for beekeepers to determine whether mites are resistant to Taktic bee treatment. This is accomplished by inspecting your beehive after applying Taktic. The beehive should be inspected 2-3 days after the miticide is applied to see if the mites are resistant to the tactic. Beekeepers conducting such an inspection to see if Taktic is effective should look for dead mites at the hive’s bottom. They will also notice fewer mites on bees’ backs. Beehives with screened bottom boards save you the trouble of inspecting your hive. All you have to do is look under the hive for dead mites. This is not possible when using Taktic bee treatment in cold weather, which necessitates the use of solid bottom boards in your beehives.
A Word of Caution
Taktic has the potential to cause harm to humans. It can cause poisoning if used incorrectly. Furthermore, excessive Amitraz exposure may result in cancer in humans. Taktic handling necessitates beekeepers wearing gloves and protecting their face, eyes, and lungs. Beekeepers who use pesticides such as Taktic have access to a variety of protective respirators and masks. Taktic containers, whether opened or unopened, must be stored safely and out of reach of children. They should be kept separate from any other farm chemicals you may have. Taktic should not come into contact with food, and beekeepers should not eat, drink, or smoke while applying Taktic.
A number of symptoms will be observed in the event of Taktic poisoning: nausea, dizziness, labored breathing, and vomiting are some of the symptoms. Treatment for such a case is frequently supportive and is best administered in a medical setting. Mechanical ventilation, gastric lavage, and other medical interventions are frequently sufficient to restore poisoned people to full health if initiated promptly. It is unclear whether vomiting should be induced in a person who has accidentally swallowed any amount of Taktic Amitraz. When given supportive care, Taktic Amitraz has a low mortality and morbidity rate in humans. The chemical has no specific antidote. To avoid this, Taktic sellers include clear and prominent warning labels on their containers.
Comparing Taktic with Other Varroa Mite Treatment
Taktic emerges as a strong contender for the top spot when compared to other methods and products used to control Varroa mite infestations. It is highly efficient and dissipates quickly. Many other miticides are ineffective or leave residues in honey and other bee products. This is the primary reason why beekeepers continue to use Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites despite its prohibition in the United States. Taktic’s re-approval as a Varroa mite control product in the United States provides some hope for beekeepers who prefer it.
It is important to note that when other honey bee colony mite control methods fail or produce unsatisfactory results, beekeepers frequently switch to Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites. Requeening colonies, the use of formic acid, and the application of Fluvalinate are examples of such methods and products. Mite control using a special drone comb foundation and screened bottom boards can be used in conjunction with Taktic. Powdered sugar has also been shown to help honey bee colony mite control when used in conjunction with Taktic bee treatment.
Where to buy Taktic Bee Treatment
Both experienced and beginner beekeepers can safely use Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites. It does not require too much previous experience to successfully apply it in Varroa mite control. Most manufacturers of Taktic bee treatment provide instructions manuals. Some print directions for use on the container in which they sell Taktic. Those that may not have the instruction or directions for use accompanying the product have provided excellent manuals on their respective websites. The manuals found on the websites are downloadable and can be printed out for reference. Beekeeping can also benefit from advances in technology. Instructions manuals for use of tactic bee treatment for Varroa mites can be read on your smartphone if need be.
The long shelf life of Taktic makes it a practical solution for mite control for beekeepers with a single beehive or large apiaries with hundreds of beehives. Differently sized packaging for Taktic containing small to large amounts of the acaricide are available to beekeepers. For large apiaries, you should go for the package sizes that are big and contain large amounts of the product. Beekeepers with smaller apiaries or few beehives should buy smaller sized packets or cans of Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites. There is no need to stock up on too much of the product and have it expire in your store. You risk losses if the 2-year period of effectiveness lapses while you still have some unused Taktic sitting in your store.
Below you can find some of the available purchase options for Taktic:
Beekeepers looking to control mite populations in their honey bee colonies can safely incorporate Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites in their pest management plans. It is best to rotate Taktic with other miticides such as Apiguard or Apistan. This makes sure that mites are not excessively exposed to Amitraz and do not develop resistance to it. This bee colony mite control product is effective and works quickly. It is especially suitable for use in large and busy apiaries because Taktic bee treatment for Varroa mites does not leave dangerous residues in honey and other honey bee products.
Have you ever used Taktic bee treatment in your beehives? Leave a comment below and let us know what your experience was like.