Medicating your bees in north Alabama

This is not a recommendation to use chemicals in your hives but a guideline on how to treat and what chemical to use if you opt to do so.   If you prefer not to use chemicals in your hive you can goggle Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and find the schedule that suits your operation.

Click here for a disease symptom chart that will assist you in identifying suspected diseases.

Under normal circumstances treat for the following diseases in Fall and or spring as shown however if infection levels indicate the need, treat as required for the disease or pest you have in spring as well.

The Alabama State Department of Agriculture and Industries has a very strong Apiary section.    If any member of their staff advises different from this page, treat per their instructions.    It is imperative that you follow all manufacturer's recommendations when applying medication including handling and protective devices.   It is the intent of this Webpage to do just that.    In the event of conflict in any manor between the manufacturer's recommendations and this webpage regarding application of medication always use the manufacturer's recommendations.




Treat for the following diseases/pest



American Foul Brood and European Foul Brood



Nosema Apis and Nosema Ceranae



Tracheal Mites



Varroa Mites

Click Here

Click Here

Small Hive Beetle







* Effective Jan 1, 2017, I have no idea how I will treat to pevent AFB.   See treating options below.

Personally, I use 2 Apistan strips for Varroa mites in the fall, 1 bag of Menthol for Tracheal mites in the fall and 3 treatments in both fall and in spring using Terra-Pro (Terramycin) for AFB and EFB (no longer an option - see item 1 below).   For Small Hive Beetles, I use Beetle Barns between the inner and outer cover all year with a suitable chemical to kill SHB.  

It is good practice to use a different chemical occasionally so as to kill any pest or disease that may be becoming resistant to your normal chemicals.     To that end, in the fall of 2014, I used Apivar strips (Amitraz) on half of my colonies.     Apivar was very effective, so I treated in the fall of 2015 with Apivar exclusively and will continue to do for a few years.    


Treating options: 

Items 1 and 2 below will require both a VCPR and a VFD after Jan 1, 2017.

1.     American Foul Brood (AFB)

Effective Jan 1, 2017 a beekeeper can not purchase or use Terramycin (or Tylosin) to prevent AFB in their colonies without a VFD (Veterinary Food Directive) issued by a licensed Veterinarian.   The beekeeper will also have to have a VCPR (Veterinary Client Patient Relationship).    I have no idea how this will work as I have been unable to find a Veterinarian in my area (Huntsville, AL) that will even talk to me about either a VFD or VCPR relative to honey bees.   Veterinarian, in general work with animals and are not at all interested in getting involved with honey bees.    It appears that they are no happier about the new law than the beekeepers are.    If you are a Veterinarian or anyone else that can shed some light on how this VFD program works (relative to honey bees), please contact me.    

To view an excellent 2 part video on EFB and AFB click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2 .

1.    AFB is a very bad disease that affects the brood in the colony and one should give serious thought to Prophylactic treating for this disease in the fall and again in the spring.

1.    The chemical used for treating AFB is Terramycin (Oxytetracycline HCL) manufactured by Pfizer® as TM-25.    Pfizer® has discontinued the production of TM-25.    A product you can now use Tetroxy HCA 280, which is still the same chemical as TM-25 (Oxytetracycline HCl), except that it is approximately 10 times stronger than TM-25.  

2.    One 6.4 ounce bag of TM-25 should have been mixed with 2 ½ lbs of powdered sugar.   2 level tablespoons (approx. 200 mgs) of this mix should be evenly distributed around the edges and ends of the top bars in the brood chamber.

3.   Two tablespoons of Tetroxy HCA 280 (manufactured by Bimeda, Inc) should be mixed with the 2 ½ lbs of powdered sugar and applied the same as item 2 above.

·       Be careful using old (leftover) Oxytetracycline HCL.

·       Due to the strength of HCA 280 small users will likely have “left over” medication.

·       Most if not all Oxytetracycline HCl packages are marked with a date code for efficacy.

·       Moisture also adversely affects the ability of Oxytetracycline HCL to control FB

·       Before using “saved” Oxytetracycline HCl, make sure that it is still within the valid date coded stamped on the original package and has been kept dry.

·       If using “repackaged” Oxytetracycline HCl look at the original package and be sure it does not have an expired date code.     If from a third party ask to see the date code on the original manufacturer’s package.

4. HOWEVER, because of the difficulty in getting a uniform mixture of powdered sugar and HCA-280 with such large difference in volumes, if you have a small number of colonies, you might consider purchasing a “pre-mixed” product such as Terra Pro® mix sold by Mann Lake and apply per their instructions.   

5. Terramycin treats for both AFB and EFB at the same time.    Each treatment covers both AFB and EFB.




2.   European Foul Brood EFB

1.    EFB is not a serious disease and can be controlled with Oxytetracycline HCl applied the same as for AFB.   When you treat with Terramycin for AFB you have automatically treated for EFB.


3.  Nosema Apis

1.   Treat with Fumigillin per:



4.  Nosema Ceranae

1.    Same as Nosema Apis, treat with Fumigillin per :     When you treat for Nosema Apis you have automatically treated for Cernae. 


5.  Tracheal Mites (Pick any one but do not use all listed options)

1.    Vegetable oil patty (also called Crisco® Patty) 

1.    Mix 5 lbs. of granulated (or powdered) sugar with 2 lbs. Crisco® shortening.

2.    Form into patties (approx. 1 oz.) and place on top bars of brood chamber.

3.    Vegetable Oil patties can be used at any time provided only sugar and vegetable oil are included ie.. no Terramycin. 

2. Terramycin Patties (Terrymicin can not be purchased or used after 1 Jan 2017 without a VFD)

4. Terramycin can be added to the above Crisco® Patty at a rate of 6.4 oz of TM-25 to a the Crisco® patty described above.

5. Or premixed patties "Terra-Patties" can be purchased from Mann Lake Ltd and applied the same as for Crisco® patties

6. However I find it works best to cut the Terramycin patties in 3/8 in strips and place the strips on top of the spaces between the top bars in the brood chamber being careful not to block all spaces needed for bees to move up and down.     Use 1 full pattie pre hive.



2.    Menthol

1.    Place one 50 gram packets (1.8 oz.)  of Menthol crystals on the top bars of the top most box if temp is below 80° F on bottom board if above 80° F.  

2.    If on top bars, for better circulation of fumes, first place the menthol then a wood bound queen excluder, then the inner cover (deep side down).

3.    Normally place menthol bag in the hive in the fall and remove it in the spring.


3.    Miteaway II (Formic Acid)

1.    Do not breaths Formic Acid fumes.   Do not allow Formic Acid to come in contact with eyes or skin.   Handle with Nitrile gloves or equal and wear a respirator when handling Miteaway II.

2. Miteaway II treats for both Tracheal and Varroa mites at the same time.

3.    Place 2 – ¼ inch square sticks on top bars (about 4 inches apart).

4.    Place Formic pad (ventilated side down) on the 2 sticks.

5.    Add a 1 inch spacer rim.

6.    Replace inner cover.

7.    Remove after 21 days.

8.    Click here for a manufacturers data sheet on the proper handling, application and disposol af Mitaway II


4.    Apiguard

1.  Apiguard treats for both Tracheal and Varroa Mites at the same time.

2. Use Apiguard when the colony is active and when temperatures are above 15°C/60°F.

3.    Open one Apiguard tray.

4.    Put the tray on top of the brood frame gel side up.

5.    Replace with a second tray after two weeks

6.    The treatment lasts about 4-6 weeks

7.    Click here for Manufacturer’s instructions on the application of Apiguard and here for a YouTube video.




6.  Varroa Mites (Pick any one but do not use 3.   

1.    Apistan (Fluvalinate)

1.    Place 2 Apistan strips in the brood box, one between frames 3 & 4 and one between frames 6 & 7 (assuming a 10 frame brood chamber.


2.    Checkmite (Coumaphos)    (CAUTION avoid using Coumaphos if possible)

1. Place 2 Checkmite strips in the brood box, one between frames 3 & 4 and one between frames 6 & 7 (assuming a 10 frame brood chamber).


3. Miteaway II (Formic Acid)

1.    Miteaway II treats for both Tracheal and Varroa mites.    Use only if treating for both Varroa and Tracheal mites.  i.e. it is not recommended that you use Miteaway II for one mite (say Varroa) and some other chemical for the other mite (In this case Tracheal).

4.    Mite-Away Quick Strips

1.    Mite-away Quick Strips (MAQS) are approved for use in Alabama.   They are relatively new on the market and I have no experience using them.   

2.    Click here for a video showing the proper application of MAQS.


MAQS properly installed in a hive

Copied from showing proper

and improper placement on MAQS in a hive.

5.            Api-Life VAR

1. Treat each colony by breaking 1 wafer into 4 pieces and placing around the brood nest.    Leave 7 to 10 days and replace with another wafer and after 7 to 10 days replace for a 3rd time.

2.    Treatment is most effective at average daytime temperatures of 65°.

3. Click here for manufacturer's instructions for use if this chemical (under the heading Detailed Description).


6.  Apiguard (Thymol)

1.    Apply the same as above for Tracheal Mites.

2.    However, if you use Apiguard to treat for Tracheal mites there is no need to treat again for Varroa Mites because Apiguard treats for both mites at the same time.

3. Click here for manufacturers information on application of Apiguard and here for a YouTube video

7.   Apivar (Amatraz)

1.    See the Manufacturers WebPages at: for the latest information regarding Apivar and how to apply it (When this page asked for sign on information, I just clikked off the requst block and got the information).

2.     Apivar is a new formulation of an old chemical previously used in the USA.

Photos copied from


7.  Small Hive Beetle (SHB)

1.    The Small Hive Beetle is a relatively new problem for Alabama Beekeepers.   There are chemical as well as mechanical controls available but like Wax Moths the secret is to keep hives strong.   My bees appear to have adopted and are dealing with SHB and have required no treatment at all for the past 3 years.

2.    Click here for detail description and recommendations for SHB.


Last Updated 12/13/16 BRF