PDA

View Full Version : Bees, Mites, and Planting Thyme



Edymnion
02-09-2014, 04:33 PM
Okay, so the main active ingredient in Apiguard is Thymol, basically just an essential oil derived from the common Thyme herb.

Out of curiosity, has anyone simply tried growing thyme, crushing a few leaves, and tossing them into the hive directly? What kind of results did it have?

jmgi
02-09-2014, 04:48 PM
I know that I recently read of studies that were done using essential oils of plants such as thyme and others, and some effectiveness was seen, otherwise why would they have developed the Thymol treatments. But as for putting parts of the plant itself, like crushed leaves, inside the hive, I don't know if studies have been done with that, but I would assume somebody somewhere has experimented with it. Possibly someone has a link to a study done. Thymol contains greatly concentrated oils, whereas crushed leaves would be quite weak comparatively speaking.

REDWOOD
02-09-2014, 04:53 PM
No but I do put a few sprigs of thyme on top of the frames, the bees will drag them through the hive and spit them out of the entrance in little bits
I only do this in the summer and I get a better mite drop than with sugar dusting.... oh it's all natural too

Edymnion
02-09-2014, 04:59 PM
That was more along what I was thinking. Crush some leaves to get them "bleeding", and sprinkle some of them across the tops of the frames. Let the bees wrestle them out through the bottom. Hive should be busy enough that they'd have to carry them down between frames rubbing into other bees along the way instead of just dropping them straight down.

Obviously wouldn't be anywhere near as effective as the concentrated stuff in Apiguard, but its obviously cheaper and easier to simply grow some thyme next to your hives and pick a handful of leaves to toss in every so often.

jmgi
02-09-2014, 05:12 PM
No but I do put a few sprigs of thyme on top of the frames, the bees will drag them through the hive and spit them out of the entrance in little bits
I only do this in the summer and I get a better mite drop than with sugar dusting.... oh it's all natural too

How soon do you see the mite drop when using the thyme sprigs in the hive?

JWChesnut
02-09-2014, 06:11 PM
Commercial Thymol wafers have 12.5 to 15 grams of thymol per treatment dose. (1)

Solvent extraction of raw thyme with ethanol at a heated 60 C yields 0.007 grams of thymol per gram of leaf material.
12.5 grams of thymol at full efficient extraction requires 1785 grams of material. For the kilogram challenged, that is 3.9 pounds of leaf. (2)

Raw leaf is not going to sublimate thymol vapor like a vermiculite wafer soaked in the essential oil, even if you could pack 4 pounds of the herb in the hive.

Folks "reporting" therapeutic action from adding sprigs are likely experiencing confirmation bias.

I have bees on Blue Gum Eucalyptus with detectable levels of Eucalyptol (a thymol analog and a minor constituent of the commercial preparations)-- unlimited numbers of mites
I have bees at the edge of California Bay thickets, with leaves so pungent with Eugenol (another analog) that they will sicken humans. Bees collect the leaf surface oils for propolis concoctions --- without affecting the mite explosion that marks September dearth.
I have pollination hives on Lavender (with high levels of strongly aromatic thymol-like analogs) -- unlimited numbers of mites
I have bees forage Oregano and Thyme all summer-- unlimited numbers of mites
Bees on commercial mint crops (Oregon) have serious mite problems.

Cite:
(1) http://scientificbeekeeping.com/ipm-7-the-arsenal-natural-treatments-part-2/
(2) EXTRACTION OF THYMOL FROM DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF THYME PLANTS USING GREEN SOLVENTS
Ivan Angelov accessed http://www.nupeg.ufrn.br/prosciba/prosciba2013/Papers/T2-79.pdf

enjambres
02-09-2014, 06:26 PM
I was constantly moving my new hives last summer trying to get them where I wanted them to go. Since I had to add vegetation in front of the entrances to prompt reorientation after the moves, I used large potted thyme plants propped up so they occluded the entrances (also some lavender plants and a common sage plant as variations on a theme). I also figured if thymol is bad for mites (in some unknown manner) why not stick the vegetative parts right in the way so every bee had to climb through them to get into the hive.

I don't know if it made any difference. I generally had low mite counts until mid-Sept. (when I wasn't moving the hives any more and the plants were just parked along side the hives and no longer in front of the entrances.) Was that a critical factor in the earlier low counts, or was it just coincidental? I do know that it takes tonnes of fresh leaves to extract small quantities of thyme oil, a fraction of which is actually thymol. And Apiguard is very thymol-y. Perhaps the only effect might be to breed a cohort of mites which actually well-tolerates thymol by exposing them to very low levels all the time.

I did use Apiguard, and saw little response from it - could one make the case that I had habituated the mites in my hives to thymol and hence Apiguard wasn't as effective? I truly have no idea.

It's an intresting idea that fresh branches inserted into the hives might have an effect. I wonder if you did a dried-and-powdered-culinary-herb thyme shake (a powdered sugar shake, except using powdered dried thyme) whether it would make a difference? I wonder if the bees' allogrooming would be the same as when you use sugar. Powdered thyme might not be as benign for the bees as sugar is believed to be. I suppose you could collect some sacrficial drones and try powdered-thyme shaking them to see what happened.

Enj.

sqkcrk
02-09-2014, 06:28 PM
Is "confirmation bias" another way to say wishful thinking?

philip.devos
02-09-2014, 08:08 PM
No but I do put a few sprigs of thyme on top of the frames, the bees will drag them through the hive and spit them out of the entrance in little bits
I only do this in the summer and I get a better mite drop than with sugar dusting.... oh it's all natural too

I like the sound of that!

Snookie
02-09-2014, 08:11 PM
Is "confirmation bias" another way to say wishful thinking?

I say Nay Nay...Sometimes you gotta believe in MAGIC:}

ie. It's Thyme

sqkcrk
02-09-2014, 08:14 PM
Thyme for Magic?

Snookie
02-09-2014, 08:19 PM
Thyme for Magic?

Awe meh yeah...D thyme is NOW! :thumbsup:

Edymnion
02-10-2014, 08:30 AM
Is "confirmation bias" another way to say wishful thinking?

Pretty much. Its "You see what you want to see".

beemandan
02-10-2014, 08:46 AM
Is "confirmation bias" another way to say wishful thinking?Falls under the heading of 'you'll see it when you believe it'.

Michael Bush
02-10-2014, 08:50 AM
>Commercial Thymol wafers have 12.5 to 15 grams of thymol per treatment dose. (1)
Solvent extraction of raw thyme with ethanol at a heated 60 C yields 0.007 grams of thymol per gram of leaf material.
12.5 grams of thymol at full efficient extraction requires 1785 grams of material. For the kilogram challenged, that is 3.9 pounds of leaf. (2)

I was going to take a wild guess at it, but the actual numbers express it much better--there is a huge amount of difference in dosage between leaves of thyme and thymol...