Midnite Bee-Beekeeper's: Tips TIPS  
Apistan/Pollen Substitute & Supplements



A number of beekeepers have asked about the reason for the 10C statement on the Apistan label. To find out the answer, Les Goczan, Manager Specialty Products for Sandoz Agro Canada Inc. was contacted. Mr. Goczan's reply has been incorporated into the following information.

Apistan strips consist of three components:

1) fluvalinate, as the active ingredient

2) PVC, as the matrix into which the a.i. is impregnated

3) Plasticiser, to provide flexibility Cold temperatures (e.g. less than 10C) reduce the effect of the plasticiser thus making the strip more rigid and even brittle.

Therefore, attempting to separate strips and bending the tabs for hanging the strip can cause breakage. Strips placed correctly, in a hive that contains bees, are just as effective when used in cold weather as in warmer weather because the temperature inside the hive/cluster is constant. To avoid breaking strips, simply handle them when they are warmer than 10C.

For example, in cold weather, separate the strips and bend the tabs in a warm environment and then take them to the apiary for installation.

(Ed. note: This is only a part answer. It may have more to do with tight clusters and a subsequent poor mobility of fluvalinate within the cluster, however, the jury is still out on this one.)



The product Apistan is a very useful tool for managing Varroa mites in honey bee colonies. However, it is imperative that it be used properly in conjunction with an integrated pest management approach. Otherwise, there are numerous negative consequences that could result, including resistance development, and residues in wax and honey.

The label that accompanies the product is informative and MUST be read. However, there is additional information and clarification that can supplement the label.

The fact sheet "Apistan: A Tool for Managing Varroa" provides this supplementary information. Copies can be requested from the Apiculturist, NSDA&M.


Nuisance bee calls have started as a result of honey bees visiting bird feeders and sawdust piles in large numbers. The bees are seeking out small seeds, seed particles, and sawdust, or any material of similar size and consistency, to satisfy their urge to collect pollen. Affected homeowners are being told to move or remove these materials. The worst situations occur in areas where honey bees are being overwintered outdoors in high numbers. In these cases, the beekeepers are being encouraged to supply the bees with a source of brewers yeast to satisfy the urge of honey bees to forage for pollen.


Pollen is the principal source of proteins, vitamins, lipids and minerals for honey bees. Feeding pollen supplement or substitutes is one of the best beekeeping practices to encourage colony growth. A pollen substitute is any material that can be fed to colonies to replace its need for natural pollen. A pollen supplement is a pollen substitute that contains about 10 % natural pollen (dry weight basis). A pollen supplement can best be described as a pollen extender. Among the most commonly used protein sources are soybean meal, brewer's yeast, low-lactose whey (dried) and Torula yeast. Pollen substitutes and extenders can be fed in a moist patty, or dry. If fed in a patty, it should be placed as close as possible to the combs containing unsealed brood. Dry materials can be fed in a feed-lot system but this requires protection from adverse weather conditions and good foraging conditions.

The are numerous recipes for both pollen substitutes and pollen supplements. The following recipes (modified from The Encyclopedia of Beekeeping, 1985) are a sample and are given in parts by weight, for dry mixes and moist patties, as appropriate.

Pollen supplements
parts: dry mix
parts: moist patty
recipe # 1
soybean flower:pollen (3:1)  
sucrose:water (2:1)  
recipe # 2
brewers yeast:pollen (3-1)  
sucrose:water (6-1)  

Pollen Substitutes
parts: dry
parts: moist
brewers yeast or soybean flour

Beekeeping Notes is published 4-6 times per year by the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Marketing. Contributing Editor: R.E.L.Rogers, Apiculturist/Tree Fruit Entomologist, NSDA&M, Agricultural Centre, 32 Main St., Kentville, NS, CAN B4N 1J5. Tel: (902)679-6029, Fax: (902)679-6062, Email: DROGERS@PAM.NSAC.NS.CA