[NAFEX] treating bees for mites
billmcnam at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 16 15:29:39 EDT 2010
Have any of you beekeepers tried spraying the frames with undiluted cooking oil--such as canola or olive oil?
This would serve dual purpose of suffocating the mites and their eggs while giving the bees a needed helping of fat.
Dormant oil has long been used to control mites on fruit trees,but it is a petroleum product (still perhaps less toxic than synthetic miticides or formic acid.)
My son up in Olympia WA lost his best hive this winter, so he's bought some kit that a local woman developed. There's a screen with a white plastic plate under it, you coat it with cooking oil and slide it in under a hive section. Then you put another screen on top and sprinkle powdered sugar. (Someone told me about the powdered sugar last year, so it was working for him too.) Dave says that the powdered sugar interferes with the mites ability to hang on, they fall off by the hundreds onto the white plate where they stick to the cooking oil. He says the mite population doubles every 20 days, which is why they can kill a hive so quick.
treating bees for mites
Friday, April 16, 2010 1:05 PM
From: "Kieran and/or Donna" holycow at frontiernet.net
To: "North American Fruit Explorers" nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
I heard of a powdered sugar trick last year from a local guy in TN. My son lost the best of his 3 hives this winter up in WA state, so he's doing the powdered sugar trick. A beekeeper up his way developed a system where you slide in a section with a white plastic bottom, coated with cooking oil. Sprinkle the powdered sugar onto the bees from above, the mites lose their footing and fall through onto the white plastic below. You check in 10 minutes to see how bad your problem was. He had hundreds fall off in his surviving hives. (I can send his email in case you want to know more.) He spent the $30 per hive that she was charging for the setup, it was worth it to him. I had always thought I'd have bees someday and never got around to it. He enjoys his and so did all my friends who've had them. It's surprising really how many people I've met who've kept bees, but most lost them in all the mite trouble. One friend said that
he'd put his bee suit in a black plastic bag and put it in the garage, his kids thought it was garbage and took it to the dump when they were cleaning up. Just thought I'd mention that as a cautionary tale. Think of all the valuable things we might think to protect in a black plastic garbage bag.... keeps out the dust and the mud daubers, sure, but maybe there are better storage techniques.
If the powdered sugar works as well as they say, we may see more bees soon. Also the business of people improving on bees to make bigger cells in the foundation, that seems to have backfired. Since it took longer for each larva to grow to fill the larger cell, it gave the mites a few extra days to get going. The local guy said they are going back to foundation the size that bees invented. I've wondered if the slightly smaller black wild German bees take a slightly shorter time to mature.... anyway, after last year's sudden appearance of yellow honeybees, they are gone this year and only the black wild ones remain. I'd sure like to know what their trick is. You know they said back years ago that with the mites only tame bees with humans to treat their mites would survive. Our experience is that only the wild colonies are surviving. Year after year they have been out pollinating our early trees and plants, with hardly a
tame yellow or belted bee to be seen. I know there aren't many of them like there should be because they don't show up on the clover later. Our place is apparently really attractive in the early spring, worth coming to if you are a honeybee. Last year I had great hopes for the bee population, there were actually honeybees in the white clover in the summer, just like when I was a kid getting my bare feet stung in the lawn. Whoever had those yellow bees, they were doing great, but apparently they died out in the long cold winter. It's a shame. But our local beekeepers seem to be a tightknit bunch, so I think this powdered sugar trick will spread. Incidentally, my son said that the mite population doubles every 21 days, so it's worthwhile if you have bees to jump on the problem ASAP.
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