Introduction: Amitraz is a formamide exhibiting both acaricidal and insecticidal activity and is frequently used by beekeepers to protect honeybee colonies against Varroa destructor mites. The aim of this apiary trial was to evaluate the impact of honeybee colony fumigation with amitraz on the level of contamination of honey stored in combs.
Material and Methods: Experimental colonies were fumigated four times every four days with one tablet of Apiwarol per treatment. Honey was sampled from combs of brood chambers and combs of supers one day after each amitraz application and from harvested honey. Amitraz marker residues (as a total of amitraz and metabolites containing parts of molecules with properties specific to the 2,4-DMA group, expressed as amitraz) were evaluated in honey.
Results: All analysed samples were contaminated with amitraz metabolites. 2,4-DMA and DMPF were the most frequently determined compounds. The average concentration of amitraz marker residue in honey from groups where a smouldering tablet was located directly in beehives was significantly higher than that of residue in honey from groups with indirect smoke generation. No significant effect on the honey contamination deriving from the place where it was exposed to smoke (combs of brood chambers and supers) was noted. Amitraz marker residues exceeded the MRL in 10% of honey samples from combs.
Conclusion: Fumigation of beehives with amitraz results in contamination of honey stored in combs.