A product which beekeepers hoped would provide an extra weapon in their arsenal to fight varroa mite has been pulled from distribution in New Zealand by both suppliers.
BeeGate, produced by Elanco (formerly Bayer) and distributed through Ecrotek Beekeeping Supplies and New Zealand Beeswax, will undergo “investigation” according to a statement released by the manufacturer. Until the investigation is concluded supply of the miticide, with the active ingredient of flumethrin and which is applied to the entrance of beehives, has been paused.
“Initial product seeding with a limited number of local beekeepers has resulted in both
positive feedback and a few product complaints. Elanco is currently investigating the
complaints,” Elanco’s statement says.
Despite gaining registration under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act before its release last year – a process which required field testing for efficacy, carried out by Plant and Food Research – BeeGate was met with scepticism by some beekeepers who questioned the effectiveness of an external hive treatment. That scepticism appears to have been well-founded following the mixed results and announcement to “pause” sales of BeeGate.
Both supply companies will not be leaving customers in the lurch though, with Ecrotek offering to exchange any BeeGate product with fellow flumethrin-based treatment Bayvarol. NZ Beeswax will provide a store credit or exchange for returned product.
Ecrotek notified its customers of the pause in sales via an email in July which stated, “Although it’s been approved for use under an ACVM registration, we’ve had some feedback from customer trials that it’s not working as well in some conditions as we expected”.
Elanco, a global manufacturer of a range of animal healthcare products, launched BeeGate in New Zealand late last year. How high up their priority list further testing of the apiculture specific product remains to be seen, with the manufacturer not putting a time line on their investigations.