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Tom Bick 

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At my local beekeeping association we had a chat about icing sugar and other things as a method to try and reduce the Varroa mite.

During the conversation is was mentioned that the anty caking agent added to icing sugar E554 Sodium aluminosilicate is harmful to bees.

Although the dusting of the bees is perhaps a good thing and helps the bees the recommended method suggested at the meeting was to grind cane sugar by hand and dust the bees with that.
 

Black Comb 

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I'm sure last year we had thread about efficacy of dusting and serious doubt was cast on this method following studies in Canada or USA.

OK for uniting and moving frames between hives though.
 

Brosville 

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Works fine for most UK natural beekeepers - tests can be "designed to fail....."
It has to be done at the right time, repeated at the right interval if needed, and consistent mite counts done to ensure success......... It's not a crude "kills everything in sight" nostrum, but a gentle natural treatment that needs care and observation to work well.........
 
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Tom Bick 

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Its the additive E554 Sodium aluminosilicate that is considered harmful to the bees
 

wightbees 

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Brosville

What is the right time and what is the right time to repeat ?
 

Kevi 

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My icing sugar contains anti-caking agent; Tricalcium Phosphate (E341). So the anti-caking agent seems to vary according to the product. Not sure what if any affect this particular agent has on the bees.
 

mbc 

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I've used icing sugar quite a bit, not to treat for varroa but to moniter early on before theres any drone brood to pick at. Interesting to see the variation in drop from colonies that had been treated identically with oxalic only a few months before, but still a lot more messy and time consuming than to simply examine the brood nest carefully which is the varroa monitering I do nowadays
 

Brosville 

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For Wightbees - as in most things in beekeeping there's mixed opinions - from memory you do a 24hr mite check, if the count is more than 10, dust with icing sugar, - then repeat the mite counts/treatments until it's way down..........
There are screeds about the optimum on a certain natural beekeeping forum, but the main thing to remember is that it isn't designed to work like the chemical treatments, so it's down to keeping an eye on the mite count, and repeating as necessary......
 
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Tom Bick 

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My icing sugar contains anti-caking agent; Tricalcium Phosphate (E341). So the anti-caking agent seems to vary according to the product. Not sure what if any affect this particular agent has on the bees.
Its a bit confusing to me Kevi I always thought that icing sugar was just sugar never expected it to have an additive in it
 

admin 

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Brosville have you seen any good research thats been done that goes against the latest findings ?

I am yet to be convinced it is any better than spraying the bees with a sugar/Menthol mix and getting the bees to clean it off.

In fact I will put my neck on the block and say that a menthol spray would be 10 times more effective.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Tricalcium Phosphate acts as an insect suppressant,just what you need to be tipping over the bee's,but i expect its in most things,including the sugar for syrup feeding.
 
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wightbees 

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I will give the icing sugar a go, thanks for explaining your method Brosville.
 

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