What Is Apiguard And How Do I Use It In The Hive?

In this article, we will discuss the multiple advantages of using Apiguard, an FDA-approved treatment to get rid of mites in a honeybee colony. Take a look at what it is and how to use it most effectively for your hive’s health.


Apiguard is a treatment for varroa mites that uses thymol, a natural compound extracted from thyme oil. Thymol is deadly to varroa mites, but it’s safe for bees when used correctly. Apiguard comes in the form of gel strips that are placed in the hive during the summer and autumn months when varroa mites are most active.

The gel strips gradually release thymol into the hive, providing long-lasting protection against these destructive pests. Apiguard is an effective and natural way to keep your honey bee hives healthy and free from varroa mites.

In this blog post, we will shed some light on the benefits and usage of Apiguard for your hive. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this vital beekeeping tool!

Apiguard is a slow-release, natural treatment made from plant extracts that helps protect bees against hive pests

What is Apiguard?

Apiguard is a slow-release, natural treatment made from plant extracts that helps protect bees against hive pests… Varroa Mites, Acarine, and Chalkboard. Its active ingredient thymol is found in thyme oil that acts as kryptonite for varroa mites.

But how does it work? When applied, the Apiguard gel relies on the hygienic behavior of honey bees to distribute the Thymol throughout the colony. As worker bees climb into the tray to remove the gel, the gel sticks to their body hair, releasing Thymol into the hive.

Since Thymol is a protein denaturant i.e. it changes the molecular structure of cell protein, it works by disrupting the cellular processes of varroa mites. This in turn prevents the mites from laying eggs and eventually leads to a decrease in the varroa mite populations… hence the word slow-release.

“Although Varroa mites can feed and live on adult honey bees, they mainly feed and reproduce on larvae and pupae in the developing brood, causing malformation and weakening of honey bees as well as transmitting numerous viruses.”


What are the benefits of using Apiguard in bee hives?

Now that we know how Apiguard helps you get rid of pests from the hive, let’s talk about how it takes precedence over the other varroa control methods.

—    Natural Product… Since it is made of a natural, plant-based substance, Apiguard is safe for bees as well as the user.

—    Highly Effective… Numerous scientific studies have shown Apiguard to be 93% efficient on average against pesky varroa mites. Moreover, commercial beekeepers attest to its ability to improve the health of beehives.

—    Easy To Apply… Just leave the trays inside the hive and let the gel do its magic.

—    Safer Than Raw Thymol Crystal… The sudden release from the dry crystals can shock the bees and often ends up killing them. By contrast, Apiguard contains only a controlled amount of Thymol that is lethal only to mites, and its slow release technology allows bees to become accustomed to it over time.

Varroa Mites – Photo Credit: outbreak.gov.au
Varro Mites on a honey bee’s abdomen. Photo Credit: beeaware.org.au

How do you use Apiguard?

Apiguard usually comes in three forms… gel trays, sachets, and 3kg (6.6 lb) gel tubs. Here is how you can use these to kill varroa mites in your bee hive.

Apiguard Gel Trays

This is the easiest and most fuss-free method for using Apiguard. Just remove the peel-off lid and place it directly inside the hive on top of brood frames. Make sure the gel side is up for the treatment to be effective.

Apiguard is placed in the hive, with one strip on each side of the brood chamber. The strips should be placed so that they are not in direct contact with the bees or the comb. After two weeks, the strips are removed and replaced with new strips. This process is repeated for six weeks for a total of three treatments.

Apiguard Gel Tubs

For 3kg gel tubs, simply use a spatula to scoop out 50g of gel and spoon it into the dosing trays. Use the above-mentioned method to place the trays inside the hive. Replace every two weeks and continue for a total of 6 weeks for perfect results.

Apiguard Sachets

If you are using the 25g gel sachets, tear off the end, dispense the product onto the dosing trays, and repeat as above.

The best time of day to apply the Apiguard gel is during cooler hours such as afternoon and evening, as the low sublimation rate of thymol vapors allows the bees to adjust quickly to the odor.

Just remove the peel-off lid from the Apiguard and place it directly inside the hive on top of brood frames.

Where do you place it?

Since Apiguard depends on worker bees to spread out the thymol, the best location is above the brood box. By doing so, the bees will be able to pick and drag the gel to the entrance, hence dispersing the vapors all over the hive.

Alternatively, if you just place it on the floor, the bees can easily remove the gel before it can be distributed. Thus decreasing the overall efficiency of this varroa mite treatment. Don’t forget to leave enough space for bees to pick the gel up from the Apiguard trays.

Is Apiguard harmful to the bees?

As mentioned earlier, its natural chemical composition and slow-release technology make it safe for bees. While Apiguard is generally safe for bees, it should not be used when there are honey supers on the hive, as the thymol can potentially contaminate the honey.

Is Apiguard toxic to humans?

When applied to a beehive, the gel slowly releases thymol into the air, killing varroa mites on contact. While Apiguard is considered safe for humans, it should be used with caution. The gel is corrosive and can cause skin irritation, so it is important to wear gloves when handling the product.

In addition, the fumes from gel can also cause irreversible eye damage, so never forget to wear safety goggles while applying. For these reasons, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and wear protective equipment when using Apiguard.

What does Apiguard contain?

The most active ingredient (25%) in Apiguard is Thymol, a natural pesticide derived from Thyme oil.

What does Apiguard do to honey?

When used incorrectly, Apiguard might taint the honey, hence impacting its taste and usability. That is why it is recommended to avoid using Apiguard during honey flow season.

“Thymol residues in honey are not expected to contribute significantly to the total dietary exposure of thymol as thymol is widely used as a food additive, and thymol residues are found in many different food types, as well as being found in herbs used for cooking. Therefore, when used to treat mites in bees, thymol residues in honey or comb honey do not pose a risk to human safety.”

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)
– Trade Advice Notice – Apiguard Gel for Beehives
Apiguard can also be used to cleanse honey supers and other equipment that has been exposed to varroa mites. You just need to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How much does it cost? (in USD)

Apiguard trays usually cost $5 apiece and are available in packs of 10 for $50. The price for the 3kg tub ranges anywhere between $120 – $150 and often comes with syringes as well as application trays.

Where can you buy Apiguard?

You can easily order Apiguard from a chain store like Walmart or Amazon, any online store selling beekeeping supplies, such as Better Bee, or from your local pesticide sellers or dealers.

Apiguard ONE Box of Ten 50g Trays – 2 Trays per hive Recommended (10) – for Control of Varroa Mites in Honey Bee Hives
  • MOST EFFECTIVE VARROA MITE CONTROL: Vita Bee Apiguard, recognized as the industry’s most effective treatment, is a sophisticated and patented slow-release gel that ensures the correct dosage of its active ingredient, thymol—a naturally occurring substance derived from the plant thyme.
  • NATURAL INGREDIENTS: Formulated with thymol, Apiguard offers a safe and eco-friendly approach to Varroa mite treatment. The slow release of thymol vapor from the gel is steady and doesn’t disturb the bees unduly, contributing to a stress-free hive environment.
  • EASY APPLICATION: With a user-friendly application process, Apiguard’s gel is placed in the hive, and worker bees engage in hive-cleaning behavior, removing and distributing the gel throughout the colony. The gel sticks to the bees’ body hairs, leaving particles that contribute to effective Varroa mite control.


If there is a varroa infestation in your beehive, Apiguard has been proven highly effective for controlling varroa mites. It is a thymol-based gel, that despite destroying the pest, has no harmful effects on honeybees.

Apiguard can also be used to cleanse honey supers and other equipment that has been exposed to varroa mites. You just need to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions before each application to avoid any mishaps.

When using Apiguard, you should monitor your hives closely for any adverse effects, such as queen supersedure or colony collapse. If you notice any problems after applying Apiguard, discontinue use immediately.

Happy Beekeeping!


  1. https://www.vita-europe.com/beehealth/products/apiguard/#:~:text=Apiguard%C2%AE%20is%20a%20natural,tracheal%20mites%20%2F%20Acarine%20and%20chalkbrood.
  2.  https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/ppls/079671-00001-20060713.pdf
  3. https://www.vita-europe.com/beehealth/wp-content/uploads/Apiguard.pdf
  4.  https://www.dadant.com/learn/apiguard-frequently-asked-questions/
  5. https://apvma.gov.au/sites/default/files/publication/15671-tan-apiguard.doc
  6. https://www.outbreak.gov.au/current-responses-to-outbreaks/varroa-mite
  7. https://beeaware.org.au/archive-pest/varroa-mites/#ad-image-0