Varroa Treatment

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trulli1 

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I have just read the below on another forum, your thoughts please:


The ‘Magic’ Formula is:
170g beeswax
450g coconut oil (or any vegetable cooking oil)
15g essential oil (we have tried eucalyptus, nutmeg, peppermint and spearmint)
Preparation
1. Break the beeswax into small pieces.
2. Melt in a double boiler (a large pot with water containing a small pot with the wax) with the coconut oil.
3. Stir until the wax melts completely and allow to cool to 42-45°C. If a thermometer is not available, cool until the mixture just starts to harden at the surface, but is still quite fluid.
4. At this point stir the essential oil into the mixture until thoroughly blended.
Treatment
The above mixture should be sufficient for 50 hives if applied as follows:
1. Cut strips from any of the following: bamboo, Bristol board, cardboard, plastic containers, plywood, or tins. The strips should between two and five cm wide by 20 cm long.
2. On one side of the strip spread one or two teaspoons of the miticide mixture, distributing it evenly.
3. Leave a 1 cm section at each end of the strip clean to avoid getting it on yourself.
4. Push the strip deep into the entrance of the hive undergoing treatment, preferably before 0900 hours on a hot, sunny day. If Varroa is present, the first effects of the treatment (dead or terminally ill mites on the bottom board) can be seen within 2-4 hours. Presumably the hotter and drier the weather, the faster the effects.
5. After 24 hours (longer for lower temperatures), the treatment is over and a number of dead Varroa can be seen under the brood chamber. Also, and possibly for the first time, white males can be observed dead on the bottom board or groggily walking about in a totally uncharacteristic behaviour (normally his whole life takes place within an invaded brood cell).
 

Haughton Honey 

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I'm not quite sure that I can see your 'active ingredient' within the recipe??
 

trulli1 

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White Park Cattle:

Just to stress, its not my recipe, I found the recipe on another forum and thought I would share it here to see what other people thought about it.
 

rae 

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Probably the essential oil. Apiguard is simply Thymol in a fancy container, and it does seem to clobber them. The wax is probably a delivery vehicle that the bees will chew on and do something with.

We have a large eucalypt tree near our hives, and it does seem to flower, so the bees may go for it. We've also planted a lot of essential oil type plants in the area (a lot of Thyme). It will be interesting to see how our varroa develops. Both hives had some last year, I did a drone check a few weeks ago, and zero out of 40 had varroa.
 

shonabee 

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I find it a bit strange too.
Beeswax isn't going to control varroa (sadly) and I can't see how veg oil will either - given that the receipe seems to rely on the vapours (as is heat-dependent) and coconut oil I would guess doesn't evaporate much at hive-temperatures. So then the only active ingredient would be the essential oil, in which case you'd expect that some would work better than others and one or two in particular would be recommended - I can't imagine that nutmeg oil contains similar compounds to "minty" or decongestant-type oils, but the recipe seems to sugges almost any essential oil will do the job. Am no expert on essential oils (to say the least!) but this sounds really odd to me.
 

Mike a 

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Another recipe I got from another forum

Essential oil treatment -
10g of thymol crystals
10 drops of tea tree oil
Olive oil, 25 ml
Sunflower oil, 50 ml
One or two pieces of bees wax (walnut sized)
Two or three teaspoons of fine sugar (icing sugar)
Thirty 50mm (2 inch) lengths undyed garden string (eg. hemp)

The only thing that is measured accurately are the thymol and tea tree.

Gently warm the oil and beeswax until the beeswax dissolves and then add the thymol crystals. Stir to dissolve these. (They smell strongly, so do not touch them with your hands.) Cool and add the tea tree (it will evaporate if the mix is too hot). Then add the sugar and stir. The mix will turn lumpy and sticky at this stage. The consistency should be that of soft butter. Dip the pieces of string in the mix to coat them thoroughly. Use enough string to soak up all the mix.

This makes enough to treat 3 hives once each provided that they are not heavily 'mited'. I generally repeat after about 10 days and will do a third treatment after another 10 days if the mite drop is still high. (The ten day timing is not crucial.) The treatment is most effective when the bees are active and the weather is warm. The dosage rate is about 1/4 that of commercially available thymol treatments and much more effective in my experience. This treatment is best used with a mesh floor so the mites fall out of the hive, but it should also work with solid floors although may be to a lesser extent.

To apply, move the top bars apart enough to push two pieces of string down between each for a top bar hive or tie the string to a used match stick or cocktail stick and rest it on top of the frames. The string, being sticky, will catch on the face of the comb. That's fine. Do this for 5 or so bars in the centre of the brood nest (10 strings in total). If the mite load is very heavy, a double dose will still be less than that in commercial treatments.

Over time the bees will chew at the string and throw it out of the hive entrance or push little pieces (finely chewed) through the mesh floor (looks like brown candy floss).

In addition to the direct effect of the oils on the mites, I suspect that the bees also groom each other more often, as they don't like the smell of either tea tree oil or thymol. In this regard, I suspect that the olive oil and sunflower oil also play a role as they contain oleic and linoleic acids which in insect terms is the smell of death and is what triggers the undertaking response in bees. The sugar is there to give the mixture some substance that the bees can get their mandibles around - I've tried it without and it is much less effective.

Remember that the aim is not to knock out all the mites, but to keep the numbers from spiralling out of control. I would be cautious about using the mixture if I was due to be harvesting honey. Although thymol is said to break down fairly quickly in wax, I'd want to be sure of avoiding contamination of the comb.
 

susbees 

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@shonabee...that's the recipe I saw (Mike's one)....the oils as he says are supposed to trigger undertaker behaviour.
 

Finman 

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I have just read the below on another forum, your thoughts please:

(we have tried eucalyptus, nutmeg, peppermint and spearmint)
).
Those stuff has bee all tested.

Abd El-Halim M. Ismail, Helmy A. Ghoniemy and Ayman A. Owayss
Plant Protection Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Fayoum, Egypt.
Abstract:
Eleven volatile oils were tested against Varroa mites in vitro. These oils
were spearmint, thyme, eucalyptus, marjoram, cumin, garlic, basil, orange,
geranium, menthol and eugenol. Basil, geranium and eugenol exhibited
noticeable varroacidal activity and were selected for different in vivo tests
during winter, spring, and autumn seasons. Candidate oils were separately
added to a pollen supplement integrated with formic acid, oxalic acid and queen
caging techniques. To evaluate these treatments, % infestation of brood and
bees, counts of dropped mites and dead bees, and brood rearing activity were
recorded. Results showed that all treatments were significantly effective against
Varroa in treated colonies compared to untreated ones. Counts of dropped mites
were also significantly high. Some adverse effects including reduced brood
area, colony disturbance and bee mortality occurred in some treatments,
especially those with eugenol, which seemed to be harmful to bees. Therefore,
the IPM approach is recommended to combat Varroa mites.
Key Words: Honeybee - Varroa – Control – Plant oils – IPM.

http://www.fayoum.edu.eg/Agriculture/PlantProtection/pdf/DrAyman8.pdf
 

susbees 

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Thanks for the paper, Finman. Just put eight strings of the "string recipe" on some jute baler twine in the Amm top bar. Quite a few dead-in-cell and chewed wings in the last week so we'll see what happens. They were sugar-dusted beginning of the week but I'd be happier pulling the frames and bee-dusting.
 

Finman 

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What ever you do to your bees, but they are making honey now
and it is not time to add mite flavour into your hives.


Those are not "allowed incredients in the honey"

And you are worried about contaminated wax?
 

Mike a 

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And you are worried about contaminated wax?
I cut and pasted the recipe from another forum, I would strongly recommend it is not used during the honey flow.
 

susbees 

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So that's not a problem. This is an April installed nuc, the stores currently in place are for their own use, and when our flow comes (not yet as we can fortunately avoid the OSR) they will have new comb built to receive it, although we don't expect to take much from this hive this year. At a drone mite count of 18/50 we weren't going to ignore it.

Eucalyptus oil on porous wood like balsa is used by at least one well-respected beekeeper round here. Going to talk to him about his amounts per hive and regime.
 

Finman 

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I handle hives with oxalic acid once a year. It takes half a minute per hive.
It is a very pleasant method comparad to earlier.

I have had varroa 28 years. It is not a problem. But it is a serious bug.
 

justme 

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Another recipe I got from another forum

Essential oil treatment -
10g of thymol crystals
10 drops of tea tree oil
Olive oil, 25 ml
Sunflower oil, 50 ml
One or two pieces of bees wax (walnut sized)
Two or three teaspoons of fine sugar (icing sugar)
Thirty 50mm (2 inch) lengths undyed garden string (eg. hemp)

The only thing that is measured accurately are the thymol and tea tree.

Gently warm the oil and beeswax until the beeswax dissolves and then add the thymol crystals. Stir to dissolve these. (They smell strongly, so do not touch them with your hands.) Cool and add the tea tree (it will evaporate if the mix is too hot). Then add the sugar and stir. The mix will turn lumpy and sticky at this stage. The consistency should be that of soft butter. Dip the pieces of string in the mix to coat them thoroughly. Use enough string to soak up all the mix.

This makes enough to treat 3 hives once each provided that they are not heavily 'mited'. I generally repeat after about 10 days and will do a third treatment after another 10 days if the mite drop is still high. (The ten day timing is not crucial.) The treatment is most effective when the bees are active and the weather is warm. The dosage rate is about 1/4 that of commercially available thymol treatments and much more effective in my experience. This treatment is best used with a mesh floor so the mites fall out of the hive, but it should also work with solid floors although may be to a lesser extent.

To apply, move the top bars apart enough to push two pieces of string down between each for a top bar hive or tie the string to a used match stick or cocktail stick and rest it on top of the frames. The string, being sticky, will catch on the face of the comb. That's fine. Do this for 5 or so bars in the centre of the brood nest (10 strings in total). If the mite load is very heavy, a double dose will still be less than that in commercial treatments.

Over time the bees will chew at the string and throw it out of the hive entrance or push little pieces (finely chewed) through the mesh floor (looks like brown candy floss).

In addition to the direct effect of the oils on the mites, I suspect that the bees also groom each other more often, as they don't like the smell of either tea tree oil or thymol. In this regard, I suspect that the olive oil and sunflower oil also play a role as they contain oleic and linoleic acids which in insect terms is the smell of death and is what triggers the undertaking response in bees. The sugar is there to give the mixture some substance that the bees can get their mandibles around - I've tried it without and it is much less effective.

Remember that the aim is not to knock out all the mites, but to keep the numbers from spiralling out of control. I would be cautious about using the mixture if I was due to be harvesting honey. Although thymol is said to break down fairly quickly in wax, I'd want to be sure of avoiding contamination of the comb.
Has anyone on here tried this?
Does anyone know if it can be made and kept, say in a sealed plastic bag or something, for a while and if so for how long?

Thanks, Di:.)
 

victor meldrew 

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DOES HMs OASIS WORK?

I have used HMs' thymol/oasis block treatment for the first time this year !
2 weeks ago I applied treatment , weather iffy, mite drop not spectacular !
Tuesday of this week, I inserted second treatment , checked mite fall ,lunchtime today, weather hot hot hot , could smell thymol on entering apiary:). Bees working like there's to be no tomorrow .
Lost count of the mite numbers Sheez! more in two days than the first two weeks during cool weather . I thought the bees would maintain sufficient temperature to evaporate thymol in effective quantities !!
Never assume :rolleyes:
Outside temperature does have an effect on the efficacy of thymol treatments seemingly!
VM
 

Skyhook 

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I find it a bit strange too.
Beeswax isn't going to control varroa (sadly) and I can't see how veg oil will either - given that the receipe seems to rely on the vapours (as is heat-dependent) and coconut oil I would guess doesn't evaporate much at hive-temperatures. So then the only active ingredient would be the essential oil, in which case you'd expect that some would work better than others and one or two in particular would be recommended - I can't imagine that nutmeg oil contains similar compounds to "minty" or decongestant-type oils, but the recipe seems to sugges almost any essential oil will do the job. Am no expert on essential oils (to say the least!) but this sounds really odd to me.
The wax and oil will make a 'gloopy' mix into which you add essential oil so that the bees will spread it around while trying to get rid of it.

In other words, Apiguard.
 

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