Apiguard – top or bottom of the brood box?
A question on Apiguard that a few beekeepers may be asking:
Q: I run 50mm deep floors on my hives and wonder if Apiguard will work from the bottom of the brood box instead of the top. I run over 1000 hives, so it would be easier to put them in the bottom.
A: Apiguard works better by placing it on top of the brood box because the worker bees go up to the gel, pick it up and drag it down through the brood box to the entrance, where they try to throw it out – this is normal cleaning behaviour. However, by the time the bees get to the hive entrance. Most of the thymol will sublime to vapour and the bees are distributing the thymol through the hive and helping to kill the Varroa.
If the Apiguard is placed on the hive floor, some of the vapour will be carried upwards and will kill Varroa but the distribution will probably not be as effective as if placed on the top of the brood frames. The bees will be able to remove the gel and throw it out of the entrance without distributing it through the colony. The Apiguard will help control Varroa but used like this it may not give the best control, .
For this reason, we do recommend to use the product on top of the brood frames. You need a spacer or an empty super on top to give the bees enough room to get into the gel. Often beekeepers put the tray in between two brood boxes, with most of the brood in the lower box.
Make sure the hive entrance is wide open for ventilation when using any essential oil treatment. The best time to apply Apiguard is in the evening, when most bees are back in the hive – but for anyone running 1000+ hives that may not be an option.
Here is a Vita video on applying Apiguard: