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Back to Back Varroa Treatment

Back to Back treatments for Varroa.

Another group I follow has a member who treated a colony with varroa using Apivar (fairly recently).

She seems to still have a varroa issue. 10 mites on 10 drone capped brood cells after pulling the developing larvae. She stopped checking after these 10.

I’ve never done Back to Back treatments and based on her post and findings Formic Acid would be my choice of treatment but my question is.

Is treating so soon after already treating not advisable or is it a reasonable risk?

Any advice will be passed on so please only from people with experience of this.

Thanks in advance as always


The instructions on all my varroa treatments say 10 days then second treatment for 10 more days. I would just read and follow the instructions provided with your specific treatment.

Well, I have had such heavy Varroa infestations that I have done multiple back-to-back treatments.

However, the consideration is, treatments with what? If she is doing another Apivar treatment, I would be worried about that. The possibility of mite resistance increases with repeated treatments using that agent. If she is changing to a different agent, that is another concept.

When we first started keeping bees in the US, we had hygienic bees, but still needed Oxalic Acid vapour (OAV) to get the mites down. After a standard course of 3 vapour treatments, I would repeat the mite count, and if it was still high, I would continue the OAV every 5 days until it dropped. Unlike Apivar, OAV does not generate resistant mites, so I was happy doing this.

Now I use Randy Oliver’s oxalic acid cellulose sponge method (use the forum search tool at the upper right if you don’t know what I mean), and I don’t need back to back treatments. Fantastic method for me.



Thanks Dawn.

I’ve recommended using MAQS to penetrate the capped brood.

She’s very new to beekeeping (US) and sounds like she’s possibly not used the Apivar as per the instructions.

She doesn’t sound like she’s sure about OA and how to use it or different methods so MAQS is nice a simple and I’ve had great success with it early season.

The fact that you’ve mentioned drone cells and treating with Apivar in the same time frame suggests to me that this hive has had a summer varroa infestation (during main brood buildup)…and the infestation has gone untreated for some time…perhaps as long as a year…so perhaps the infestation has got to a point of advancement that would require several treatments…whatever products are used.

I use Apivar in the fall and oxalic impregnated blue shop towels throughout the summer…that combo works flawlessly…and then wait patiently to see if Dawn_SD 's cellulose pads alone do the trick over several seasons. :smiley:

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I’m on the bus too, I’ll report back this fall!


I just started the randy oliver extended release OA cellulose pad treatment this last weekend. After 30 hours counted 54 mites on the tray. First time doing it so very nice to see some results early on. Hive is behaving same as everyday normal gentle bees. Still a long way to go for full effectiveness (50 days to catch 2 brood cycles) but so far so good.


Hi Doug,

Apparently it was a nuc she had. Then been building up in a full hive. States she did Apivar for 40 days not long ago.

This is what the sponges looked like when we removed them yesterday and replaced with fresh. This was our weakest hive (it is strong now). The other hive had only fragments left - nothing more than about 3cm (2 1/4") across. Going to also do an accelerated OAV mite drop in the next week or so, just to see what is happening.


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That’s good enough for me…really appreciate you posting this. A fitting legacy Randy Oliver has left us…


Do you think there is a semi-accelerated drop after applying the cellulose-OA-Gly sponges?

Hard to know. The accelerated drop delivers 1-2g of OA to the hive in 15 minutes. The sponges deliver 0-50g of OA over 40+ days. Really hard to balance that one out…


I started researching varroa mites. While doing so this video showed up by @Michael_Bush

I love his little plat.

Yeah, difficult to figure out the kinetics without more info. But maybe I should rephrase - have you actually seen more mites in “x” number of days/hours after applying the sponges?


After watching the Michael_Bush video, think I’ll stick with Randy Oliver’s method.

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I haven’t done extensive research on this yet. This is only my 3rd application of sponges, but they are working extremely well. :wink:

Some interesting information Bob Binnie just posted.

Doesn’t seem to be an effective method.

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At least not for the US SE…

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I think it will perhaps turn out to be climate dependent. For California, the western US and most of Europe, it will probably work very well. For the warm and humid states of the Eastern US (Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, parts of Texas etc), it may not be so great. I think some of that will be to do with the chemical properties of OA and glycerine. No “panaceas”, ever work for everyone…