Midnite Bee-Beekeeper's: Article ARTICLES Vita (Europe) combats USA pollination crisis and opens up new markets A British-based company is coming to the rescue of the USA's number one horticultural export. Honeybee health and mite control specialist, Vita (Europe) Ltd, has just received US approval to export Apiguard®, a treatment key to alleviating the developing pollination crisis across the USA and especially in California, where 80% of the world's almonds are produced. Apiguard® is an easily-applied, near-natural, anti-varroa treatment that has proven to be highly effective in the fight against the parasitic mite which has decimated between 10% and 50% of honeybee colonies in the US. The varroa mite has developed resistance to the main approved treatments currently available in the USA, but Apiguard is a new product lethal to varroa, but harmless to bees and humans as it is based on thymol, obtained from the common herb thyme. High demand for Apiguard is expected from American beekeepers who in 2005 struggled and often failed to satisfy the demand for pollinating honeybee colonies. Articulating this need, Dan Cummings, Director of the US Almond Board, said: We need 1.4 million bee colonies that's approximately half of the total number of colonies in the US to pollinate California's almond crop. These colonies are becoming increasingly hard to find and in 2005 we heard about colony losses of between 10% and 50% across the country. We are therefore delighted that Apiguard has been officially approved for use in the USA. The approval of Apiguard for use in the USA is a key milestone in Vita's development and will emphasise our position as the world's largest honeybee health and mite control specialist, said Jeremy Owen, Sales Director of Vita (Europe) Ltd. The product will help forge new sales channels for our other new honeybee health products which have just been made available or which are nearing completion of their development and approval process. We have watched with growing concern the damage that varroa resistant to existing treatments containing pyrethroids and coumaphos is causing to the United States' beekeeping and agricultural industries, said Dr Max Watkins, Technical Director of Vita (Europe) Ltd. Apiguard, has been thoroughly tested and has already proved to be very effective in regions as diverse as Western Europe, the Middle East, Mexico, New Zealand and the USA. Apiguard is very competitively priced and is ideal for use by large bee farming operations where individual hive management times must be minimized. Apiguard is a sophisticated slow-release gel that ensures the correct dosage of the active ingredient thymol, a naturally occurring substance derived from thyme. It is extremely easy to apply: a small opened tray of Apiguard is placed on top of brood frames in the hive and is replaced with a second tray 14 days later. Bees' normal social behaviour (feeding exchange and cleaning activities) disperses the treatment throughout the colony. Following this registration of Apiguard with the USA Environmental Protection Agency, use of the product can begin in individual States once they individually approve Apiguard. Apiguard will be distributed by Dadant & Sons Inc in the USA. About Vita (Europe) Ltd Vita (Europe) Ltd is a mite control and honeybee health specialist based in the UK and operating across the globe. Vita researches, develops, manufactures and markets acaricide products and is the world's dominant supplier of honeybee health products to the honey and pollination industries. In the development of new and ecologically-sensitive approaches to mite pest control, Vita collaborates with universities including Cardiff, Milan, Udine and institutes including the Tierhygienisches Institut (Institute of Animal Health) in Freiburg, Germany, the UK Central Science Laboratory and the USDA in America. Vita's innovative research and development work has received support from the UK Government. Vita's products are available through a network of 40 distributors in 47 countries and have been registered by more than 60 veterinary authorities. Its product range includes anti-varroa acaricides (Apistan® (outside the USA/Canada) and Apiguard®), chalkbrood and wax moth controls, and foulbrood diagnostic kits). All products are designed as elements of Integrated Pest Management programmes to inhibit the build-up of resistance and wherever possible use natural compounds and biological controls that are benign to all but the target pests. As a result of its primary research of natural control agents, Vita is currently engaged in new projects exploring mite control in the agricultural, veterinary, and horticultural industries as well as public health and human allergen control.