By , on May 15th, 2011

Q&A Regarding Mite Away Quick Strips

Following is a list of Mite Away Quick Strip FAQ’s as offered by David VanderDussen of   The information is based on testing conducted on the MAQS product and are the recommendations of the manufacturer.  I offer a word of caution regarding the last question regarding removal of the strip and disposal.  For disposal of the strip it’s important that you follow label directions.  I do not recommend leaving the strips or any waste from a pesticide treatment on the ground after a treatment simply because there is always a risk that an animal, child or other person could come into contact with the strip.  Follow the label directions and exercise due caution at all times.  Mike  From: David VanderDussen []
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2011 2:19 PM
To: David VanderDussen
Subject: MAQS FAQ’s Top-10

Hello everyone,
MAQS has been in the marketplace in Hawaii for 18 month, and now parts of the US for 2 months.  There has been a lot of interest and many phone calls.  Here is a Top-10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list for MAQS:


1) Subject:  The paper wrap on the gel strip. 
Q) I remove the outer plastic wrap, should I peel the inner paper wrap off of the of the gel?
A) The paper wrap stays on.  It works as a wick to help control the vapour release.   


2) Subject: Examining the colony and then treating.
Q) The label says to disturb the colony as little as possible at time of application.  Can I do a full colony exam and then treat immediately, or should I wait and come back and treat?  
A) The bees need to have their affairs in order when treated.  When running trials it was found out that the colony assessments were best done 3 days in advance of the application.  If the colonies were taken apart, assessed, reassembled and then treated shortly after we saw some absconding.  It also increased the risk of queen loss.  After an exam it would be best to wait at least until the next day to apply MAQS.


3) Subject: Treating with honey supers on.
Q) Can I really treat with honey super on?  Why does it not flavour the honey?
A) Formic acid naturally occurs in honey at levels ranging up to over 2,000 parts per million (ppm).  The  formic acid concentration in hive air during MAQS treatment remains well below 100 ppm, so the levels in the honey do not go outside of naturally occurring levels. 

4) Subject: Screen Bottom Boards
Q)  Should I leave the Screen Bottom open or close it off?
A)  There was only one trial run so far with screen bottom boards open, by Randy Oliver (  He published the results in the February 2011 issue of American Bee Journal.  There was a 4 to 5 % reduction in efficacy over a solid bottom board, however, both open screen and solid bottom boards saw over 90% drop in mite loads, so it is basically up to the beekeeper.

 5) Subject: Additional entrances, cracks in the equipment.
Q) Should I close off all entrances except the fully open bottom board entrance?
A)  The fully open bottom entrance should be seen as meeting the minimum ventilation need. Having additional entrances does not seem to affect the efficacy of the treatment.  Adequate ventilation is critical with this product.  For 2 brood chamber colonies some beekeepers slide back the second story to create a temporary full width entrance, and then slide the boxes back square sometime after the first 3 days.

6) Subject: Colony response – bees bearding on the hive.
Q) It looks like most of the bees in the hive are bearding out on hive.  Is this normal?
A) It is normal for the bees to beard out for the first day, especially under warmer conditions.  See the University of Hawaii photos in their report from 2009, found at:  .  There may be an increase in adult bee mortality in the first three days after application.  Remember natural loss of bees occurs at about the same rate as egg-laying; with the formic treatment the bees may not be able to clean away the bees as quickly as usual.  

7) Subject: Field bee activity.
Q) Will the bees continue to forage during the treatment?
A) Yes, the bees continue to forage. 

8) Subject: Impact on brood – reducing dose?
Q) What is impact on the brood?  Can I reduce the dose?
A) Studies have shown that reducing the dose reduces the effectiveness, and may still cause some brood damage.  What we know from trials conducted so far is that MAQS works best by the 2-strip dose.  Any brood damage that occurs is quickly made up, the queen is laying throughout the cluster area by Day +7.   There are often lots of eggs by Day+4 although they may be as far away from the strips as possible.   Any damage is cleaned up by Day +7.  The field bees can continue to get pollen through the whole treatment, so there are good protein reserves when all the larva need feeding.  The next time that MAQS is used, even if it is months later, the bees somehow know how to cope better. 

9) Subject: Moving bee hives during treatment.
Q) Can I move the bees during the 7-day treatment period?
A) The bees should not be disturbed during the treatment period. 

10) Subject: Removing the strip residue after treatment.
Q) The bees chewed up some of the strip but did not remove it all.  How do I dispose of the residue?
A) The residue from MAQS will simply compost over time.  It can be handled the same way as any other organic yard-waste material. [See note at top of this post from Mike Hansen, Michigan State Apiarist, regarding this answer.]

18 comments to Q&A Regarding Mite Away Quick Strips

  • Michael W Miller


    I did not read all of the information provided for the use of mite away strips and I removed the paper wrap when placing the strips in the hive. What are the consequences of making this stupid mistake?? What can I now do?

  • Stephen Tilmann

    Good question. When it comes to pesticides “the label is the law”. More to the point, you need to know exactly what is the procedure to use this, or any other product, in the hive. Misuse of chemicals is not only potentially bad for you, but can be devastating for beekeeping in general. Witness what happened with the use (or misuse) of fluvalinate (Apistan strips). My suggestion is to Google the manufacturer or product name and go to their web site. I did (“Mite Away Quick Strips”) and the instruction sheet was the second listed on the organic search of Google; that tells me that a lot of folks have been searching for this same info. Try…

  • Michael W Miller


    Thanks for the information and I will wait 7 days before going back into the hive. The worst case scenario maybe that all of the mites may not be removed.



  • Mel Ware

    I decided to try Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) on one of my hives earlier today – a strong 3-year old colony. Temperature was around 70 deg. F. Placed two strips above the brood box as directed. Although it isn’t mentioned in the data sheet, I left the paper wrappers on the strips. Within two hours the ground in front of the hive and bottom board were covered with dead and dying bees. Immediately opened the hive to remove the strips and found more dead/dying bees on the frames. Has anyone experienced or heard of this happening? Hope I haven’t destroyed my bees. Any thoughts?

  • Stephen Tilmann

    A distrubing report, Mel. Anyone out there have ideas?

  • Tim

    What happens if I peeled the inner paper off of the gel and put them on my hives?

  • Robert Pauley

    can you suggest a respirator to use when using this product? where can I get one

  • Gerald Duerr

    I realy can’t understand how a small formic acid pad can do the same work as the pad we used before namely 250 ml. of acid. What is the other ingredient in those strips.Nobody will tell you. If you lose your Queens what are the advantages. Any real answers.? Cheers think about it. Gerald

  • danny mccall

    the old mite away said it killed the trecheal mites also what about the quick strips will it kill both mites?

  • Stephen Tilmann

    Formic acid will take care of tracheal mites and varroa mites. the same is true for Api Gard and Api Life Var.


  • Linda B

    Can I use a top hive feeder simultaneously with treatment?

  • danny mccall

    if i just put the strips on the top bars of the second hive body how will the treatment differ from putting it between them? i am 62 and have had cancer and i have trouble lifting those hive bodies. i could take them apart frame by frame but i have 40 stands. and they seem to be very healthy. thank you very much.

    ***reply by Zachary Huang: the strip is supposed to be laying on top of the frames, not between them.
    see photo here:


  • Stephen Tilmann

    I don’t know the answer to this one. So I’m forwarding to Zach Huang who may be able to help.
    Steve Tilmann
    MBA Treasurer

  • Josie Ko

    Should I remove top feeders and discontinue to feed when applying mite away strips?

  • Stephen Tilmann

    The label is the law. So the first place to start is to read the product label.

    From the Miteaway web site ( FAQ page…
    9) Subject: Feeding during treatment.
    Q) Can I feed during treatment?
    A) Feeding of any type (frame, hive-top feeder) is not recommended during treatment. Feeding may
    commence after the 7-day treatment is finished.

  • Paul Edward Buser

    Can I apply the pads the day before chance of rain.

  • Stephen Tilmann

    We would think so. Read the label. If the labels says “no”, then the answer is “no”. Other beekeepers may help in finding your answer.

  • I just completed MAQs treatment on 6 of my hives with 100% queen survival. Here are my notes along with a video of deploying MAQS.

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