Progressing with their pledge to bring European beekeepers an effective solution to control the parasitic varroa destructor mite, BASF and NOD Apiary Products announced first results from official registration trials conducted in Europe. Tests conducted with the help of independent bee scientists in Germany, France and the UK were promising.

In all countries, trials were conducted in partnership with local institutes. In Germany, BASF and NOD partnered with the State Institute of Apiculture (University of Hohenheim). In the UK and France, the trials were conducted with The Food and Environmental Research Agency (Fera) and in ITSAP (Institut de I’abeille) / TESTAPI (Bee experiment and consultancy), respectively. From July 2010 to October 2010, BASF tested two different product formulations in Europe. One of these formulations showed prominent product efficiency: As a result of these 2010 trials, BASF expects a consistent product efficacy level above 90 percent.

According to David VanderDussen, CEO of NOD Apiary Products, these results are great milestones promising hope for the honeybees. “We were certain of “Mite Away Quick Strips” (MAQS) efficacy in the USA and Canada, but we have now tried the product in a new environment, under different conditions. It is a substantial accomplishment to witness this great performance in Europe as well. And it boosts our confidence for the next important step: submission of registration in key European countries.”

As announced in March 2010, both companies entered into a partnership agreement to bring to European beekeepers “Mite Away Quick Strips”. The product controls the Varroa destructor, the parasitic mite pointed out as one major cause for the declining number of bee hives on a global scale.

MAQS is an easy-to-use strip, filled with formic acid in a saccharide formulation, known to control mites. The formulation penetrates the brood cap, preventing the mite from reproducing. The main advantages of this solution are the easy application and the short treatment period (around seven days).

“Bee health is a complex issue,” says Vincent Gros, head of BASF Crop Protection in Europe. “We have been working with beekeepers and farmers to improve bee nutrition for years. Now we are partnering with NOD to bring European beekeepers a tool to fight the varroa mite, a primary cause of bee mortality. Bee health is critical for European beekeepers and farmers, and indirectly for all of us who depend on farm productivity for our food.”

The strips are soon to be on the market in some states in the U.S. (Montana and Hawaii). BASF and NOD are working with registration authorities in Europe to make MAQS available to the European beekeeping by 2012. According to the terms of the agreement, BASF will provide substantial support to facilitate a global product launch, including on-going technical and regulatory assistance over a five year period. Both companies currently co-own the patent, with BASF committed to providing support for product registration and distribution within the EU.