Frequently Asked Questions

I have an out building I usually store all of my beekeeping tools, boxes and feed in. Can I keep MAQS in this same out building?

MAQS must be stored below 25°C and out of direct sunlight. Store in a dry place in the original container in a well-ventilated area, away from sulphuric acid, oxidizing agents, and sources of ignition. Keep the container tightly closed. Once the sachet (inner packaging) is opened, use the strips immediately.

What are the temperature guidelines of MAQS?

Outside daytime temperature highs should be between 10 and 29.5°C on day of application. Excessive temperatures (> 33°C) during the first three days of treatment may cause excessive brood mortality and queen loss. Night-time temperatures are not relevant.

What type of protective clothing should I wear when working with MAQS Beehive Strips?

When handling and applying the product, wear the usual beekeeping protective clothing. Always wear chemical/acid resistant gloves, PVC, neoprene or nitrile gloves (EN 374), when handling the product.

I want to treat my newly split nucs, but they are only 4 or 5 frames, can I?

MAQS should only be applied on single or double brood chamber standard Langstroth equipment or equivalent (e.g. Dadant, British National). Honey bee colony cluster must cover a minimum of 6 brood frames (approximately 10,000 bees). If you move your nucs into full size brood chambers and allow them time to expand to a full six frames, you can then treat with MAQS. Remember to wait 24 hours after working your bees to treat with MAQS.

Should I close off all entrances except the fully open bottom board entrance?

A fully open bottom entrance, 13 mm (1.3 cm) in height, full width of the entrance, should be seen as meeting the minimum ventilation requirements. Having additional entrances does not seem to affect the efficacy of the treatment. Adequate ventilation is critical with this product.

Should I leave the screen bottom open or close it off?

There was only one trial run so far with screen bottom boards open by Randy Oliver ( He published the results in the February 2011 issue of American Bee Journal. There was a 4 to 5% reduction in efficacy compared to colonies treated in hives with solid bottom board. Mesh floor/screen bottom boards should be closed off to prevent formic vapours from dumping out.

The bees are not built to move air up through a screen, so open mesh floors should not be considered to be additional ventilation. The bottom hive entrance must still be fully open during treatment.

Are the strips safe to use with metal queen excluders?

Formic acid vapours are corrosive to ferrous metals, but not to aluminum or most stainless steels. Plastic excluders are not affected.

Will the bees continue to forage during the treatment?

Yes, the bees continue to forage.

What is the impact of MAQS on the brood?

Any brood damage that occurs is quickly reversed as the queen is laying throughout the cluster area by day 7. There are often lots of eggs by day 4, although they may be as far away from the strips as possible. The field bees can continue to collect pollen throughout the treatment, so there are good protein reserves when the larvae need feeding.

I’ve heard there can be issues with queen health when using formic acid. Is this true?

Formic acid will initially disturb colony activities and may, within one day of application, result in queen rejection or slight increase in observed adult bee mortality. Brood mortality may occur in the initial stage of treatment. At recommended outside temperatures overall colony health is not expected to be negatively affected, with colony activity returning to normal after the treatment period. However in one study, during which outside temperatures peaked at 37.5°C on the day of application, colony death was observed. If you notice any serious effects or other effects not mentioned in this package leaflet, please inform your veterinary surgeon.

Do not destroy queen cells that may be observed prior to, or post treatment. Supercedure, even if thought to be set in motion by treatment, is a natural process, and should be allowed to proceed for the health of the colony. Verify the colony is queen-right one month after treatment. Mother and daughter queens present post treatment are not uncommon.

I see some dead bees at the entrance of my hive, what is happening?

There may be an observed increase in adult bee mortality in the first three days after application. Remember, natural loss of bees occurs at about the same rate as egg laying. With the treatment, the bees may not be able to perform cleaning duties as quickly as usual.

It states on the label, spent strips need not be removed after treatment. Do the bees eat the spent MAQS?

Honey bees are not eating the strips. They are simply carrying out their house cleaning activities and expelling pieces of the strips, which then naturally decompose in the environment.

What is the shelf life for MAQS Beehive Strips?

MAQS has a one-year shelf life when stored as per label. Each product pail has an expiry date printed on the label, after which it is no longer legal for use.

Can I move/work the bees during the 7-day treatment period?

No, the bees should not be disturbed during the entire 7-day treatment period.

I only want to try MAQS on a few hives in my apiary, is this ok?

Ideally, MAQS should be used to treat all bee colonies in the apiary at the same time to prevent reinfestation.

How do I know if my hive type is suitable for use with MAQS?

MAQS should only applied on single or double brood chamber standard Langstroth equipment or equivalent (e.g. Dadant, British National). Please make sure to see ventilation requirements listed below.

How can I adjust my hive configuration to make it suitable for MAQS?
  • If a hive design has an entrance where there are internal obstructions between the landing board and the brood chamber, the brood chamber can usually be tipped back to meet the hive entrance requirements. Wedges can be used to hold the brood chamber in place. Because the floor directly under the brood chamber is not solid (often slats), there may be a decrease in efficacy.
  • For hives with floors with permanently reduced entrances the second brood chamber can be set back to create an entrance the full width of the hive for at least the treatment period.
  • If a bottom board has brood chamber support rims that are less than the minimum 13mm (.5”) height, shims (tapered wedges) can be inserted under the lower front corners of the brood chamber to bring the entrance opening into compliance with the label.
When I remove the outer plastic wrap, should I peel the inner paper wrap off of the gel?

No, the paper wrap stays on. It works as a wick to control the Formic Acid vapour release.

Can I really treat with a honey super on? Why does it not flavour the honey?

Formic Acid is an organic acid that naturally occurs in honey. MAQS controls the vapour release of Formic Acid throughout the 7-day treatment. By the end of treatment, levels do not exceed what naturally occurs in honey when applied per label.

Can I feed during treatment?

No, feeding of any type that comes in contact with the hive (frame, hive-top feeder) is not recommended during treatment. Barrel feeding is acceptable.

Can I reduce the dose?

In Europe, MAQS is registered as a Veterinary Medicine, the legal dosage is the full dose (1 sachet, 2 strips) per colony.

It looks like most of the bees are bearding out on the front of the hive. Is this normal?

It is normal for the bees to beard out for the first day, especially under warmer conditions. See the University of Hawaii photos in their report from 2009, found at:

How do I dispose of the spent strips?

The leftover spent strips will simply compost over time. They can be handled the same way as any other organic yard waste material. The strips can stay in the hive after day 7 as they are totally biodegradable. The strips can also be removed at the beekeeper’s convenience, post treatment.


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