Friday, January 8, 2010

keeping bees healthy

Some of you may be interested in the problems beekeepers face to keep the bees healthy from Asian mites.

Beekeepers are very challenged to keep the bees healthy from the ravages of Varroa mites and the corresponding viral infections from mite punctures. It is very probable that CCD is partly caused by virus infections and may be a yet undiscovered virus.

At our honey farm, Sleeping Bear Farms, we are making inroads to controlling parasitic mites with organic plant extracts and weak acids that kill or weaken mites, but do not harm the honeybees significantly.

Lately we have treated with oxalic acid in a water solution at 3.5 % and dribble 5 ml between the combs right on the bees. We have found some minor brood damage, but very little. The mites were substantially reduced upon inspection after 4 days.

We have also used Thymol oil processed from Thyme plants placed on top of the combs in a mix of sugar, like a cake frosting. This had also worked well.

Also in our program is formic acid that we soak on meat pads in a 65% solution at 35 grams per meat pad. The pads have a light plastic coating which slows the release of gaseous formic acid which kills mites.


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