A lot of treatments fall into the category of having not been approved as a pesticide. I spray soapy water on my potato bugs, but soapy water is not an approved pesticide. It's ok to wash my potatoes though, and if the bugs die, oh well.
FMGO is approved as a food additive. You could put a little in your honey and the government would not consider it tainted in any way. However it is is not approved as a pesticide. As has been pointed out before, however, who is going to enforce this? I can spray FGMO in my hive and if the mites die, oh well.
There are many other substances such as wintergreen oil that are being used. This is more complicated, because small amounts of wintergreen oil are approved as a food additive. However high concentrations are toxic. This is a more complicated leagal issue.
But the bottom line is if there is none in your honey, no one will care. The FGMO studies have shown none in the honey. If you feed wintergreen oil only when there are no supers and you don't extract the brood chamber for honey, then there is none in your honey.
If you were to use the Oxalic acid and the amounts in your honey were within the limits of what normally occurs in honey, no one would notice.
The bigger risk is if you are a commercial beekeeper and someone notifies the government and someone there takes it upon themselves to remedy something. But if you are a small beekeeper, no one will care.
Axtman. I am not disagreeing with you.
But there is a distinct difference between something that has been specifically outlawed, and something that simply has not been even considered or approved.
Technically, as you say, anything used as a pesticide needs approval. Even if you use powdered sugar (known to dislodge mites) and a SSB this is not an approved method of mite control. However, you could say you were feeding the bees and the SBB is for ventilation and it would not be illegal to do either one or both unless your purpose was mite control. It is a technicality.
No one has passed a law against FGMO or Oxalic acid or Wintergreen syrup, but they have not been considered or approved as a method of pest control.
Thank you Michael. This is the definative answer that I was looking for, well said.
I was speaking to a local beekeeper last night who had an interesting theory. His observations were that after a bee yard is destroyed by varroa which has become resistant to the chemicals, that they soon die off from the lack of hosts and completely dissapear.
It was his opinion that a new bee yard could be installed in the same area and the varroa that would eventuly appear would again be suceptable (sp) to treatment.
We also talked about using a different approach to treatment, a revolving array that would not have the tendency to build up tolerance. The treatment would utilize FGMO fogging and cords through the summer, oxalic in the dead of winter, and powdered sugar/garlic in the spring until the flow starts. And at all times keeping a grease pattie on that he has used for many years and has had great luck with. It is a rare occasion that he loses a colony.
I believe that it is getting too late for me to get the equipment to try oxalic yet this winter, but I will try the FGMO, cords, and Joe's special grease patties, except I may try using FGMO instead of Crisco. I think that it would be much akin to making FGMO emulision (sp sorry again) in a pattie form. I may run that past Dr. R...
Anyway, thanks again Michael.
I don't see how the mites could ever develop a resistance to FGMO because it doesn't have any kind of miticide in it. That is what the mites become resistant too. Am I correct that FGMO simply strangles the mites with no chemical reaction involved? I have been using FGMO this last year and didn't have many mites when I checked in late fall.
I will preface this by saying what I am NOT saying. I am NOT saying that mites develop or do not develop resistance to FGMO or anything in particular.
The basic concept that any creature "develops resistance" to any form or poison or other form of control is a misnomer. In reality what occurs is that there is a natural variation within the species. Some of them can survive certain things and some of them cannot.
When we say there are "Apistan resistant mites" what has happened is that all of the mites that were susceptible to the Apistan died. Only a few had the ability to survive it, but they pass that ability on to some of their offspring. After a while the distribution of the offspring, which used to be mostly susceptible to Apistan are now mostly not susceptible. This was "selective breeding" not development of new traits.
If some mites can survive FGMO and some cannot, then the ones that can will and they will reproduce and, if their survival was due to some genetic trait, pass this trait on to their offspring.
I don't know if the ones that survive FGMO treatment are just the lucky ones with less exposure, in which case they have nothing special to pass on to their descendants, or if they have a larger trachea and therefore didn't suffocate or if they have some hairs over their mouths that catch the FGMO. (This is all hypothetical here, I am not purporting that any of these anatomical anomolies occur).
If it is something genetic that allows them to survive, they will pass it on.
The concept that my friend Joe was proposing was that when the host (bees) were eleminated from an area by a preditor (varroa) that there is no life support for the varroa and therefore the varroa strain that had survived the bombardment of WHATEVER the beekeeper used against them would dissapeer.
Therefore when new bees were introduced, the newly arriving mites would not have the same ability to fend off that beekeepers methods for quite awhile.
I agree with dharbert, I doubt that resistance is likely with FGMO, or oxalic, but they probaly thought that about formic acid at one time too.
If as michael says some of the mites can survive the FGMO, might that be a good reason to mix the treatments with other methods to further reduce the survivors?
There are several different possibilities to get rid of the Varroa and everyone has to find his own way.
As I sad before, I treat my colonies with Oxalic Acid Crystals since beginning 80th and the treatment still works without any complications.
We send all year samples from our honey to a lab and the oxalic level is always the same like beekeepers have with other treatments. When the acid is vaporized half of them goes in water, (1% into formic acid) and the other half in a fine fog and works approx 10 days.
I treat my bees in spring (March / April) depending on the weather 4 times 7 days apart. Brood cycle is 21 day so I kill all hatching Varroa and all Varroa on the bees. This is enough for the whole year and in the brood free wintertime I also treat my colonies 3 times 7 days apart and thatÂ’s it all and I never lost a colony because of the Varroa for over 10 years. A swarm or new colonies (nuc) also getting the same 3 treatments right in the beginning and nothing more till the brood is gone.
So we go to all these lengths to try and kill off varroa mites. We do this, that, and the other thing, only to find out that now, instead of varroa, we have something that eats the honey and decreases our profits. Not that I know of something that does that, but that could happen.
Has anyone asked the question I have to ask? That question is, "Why?"
Why is it that only recently have we had to worry about varroa? How much do you hear about AFB anymore? Not much. I have a book that was written in '84 and the author says that the main problem at that time was AFB. There was no mention of mites. What have we done that has made mites such a big problem? And are there any natural cures? Michael keeps saying, "Small cell," but all the companies say,"Small cell is only for experienced beekeepers." I'm not an experienced beekeeper. I am a beginner whose customers would not like it if I sprayed my hives weekly. Everyone says, "They do it to vegetables," but you wash vegetables before cooking them. Who wants to wash honey?
>So we go to all these lengths to try and kill off varroa mites. We do this, that, and the other thing, only to find out that now, instead of varroa, we have something that eats the honey and decreases our profits.
Small hive beetle.
>Not that I know of something that does that, but that could happen.
Already did. Small Hive Beetle.
>Has anyone asked the question I have to ask? That question is, "Why?"
Why is it that only recently have we had to worry about varroa?
One theory is they just weren't here on this continent.
One of the people asking this question is Dee Lusby. Her quest was for a more natural system of rasing bees.
>How much do you hear about AFB anymore? Not much. I have a book that was written in '84 and the author says that the main problem at that time was AFB. There was no mention of mites.
I'd been hearing about mites for a long time before I ever saw any. But when I started beekeeping the main concern was AFB. AFB has not gone away. One of the problems at the time was the mindset that we would "eradicate" AFB. This resulted in many hives being burned and bees destroyed. Now most people treat all their hives with Teramiycin if there's an outbreak and it usually gets it under control. I don't think there is so much less of it, but there is less over reaction to it.
>What have we done that has made mites such a big problem? And are there any natural cures?
Dee Lusby is the only one that seems to have a theory on what WE have done. What she discovered is that we have enlarged the cells on the foundation we give the bees which enlarges the bees. (see POV on this site) Our foundation is the thing that most affects the physiology of the bee and the organization of the frames in the hive. (see also Housel Positioning under the news)
To be more accurate. Here is a list of the interferences we invoke on our charges the bees:
What we feed them.
The size of their brood cells.
The orientation of the combs.
The genetics of the queens by selective breeding.
What they live in. (but this is pretty much like a hollow tree and they live all sorts of places)
I don't know of any "cures", but I'm experimenting with some of what some people are saying is working for them.
>Michael keeps saying, "Small cell,"
Actually I have not been a proponent of any method. I have responded to questions about small cell because I am in the process of regressing and I think I have a little grasp of the concept of small cell. I have not gotten any of my hives totally regressed yet, so I cannot say I have any personal experience with the success of failure of small cell. It requires having your bees on 4.9mm and I am still only on my first regression, which is about 5.15mm. I do wonder if we just used starter strips of either blank foundation or 4.9mm foundation and let the bees build what they want, how much would our problems go away? This would not require any amount of experience to do.
Small cell seems to be the most reasonable answer to the question of what have we done. Bees naturally build brood cells about 4.6mm to 5.1mm with most of them falling around 4.84 or so. If that's what they build then why do we give them foundation to make them build 5.4mm brood cells? How many of our problems are from this? I don't know the answers but it's the only theory that is asking the question, "What have we done?"
>but all the companies say,"Small cell is only for experienced beekeepers." I'm not an experienced beekeeper.
Doing shakedowns to regress quickly is the kind of thing that requires some experience. Dee Lusby's philosphy is that she will not use chemicals. This basiclly puts you in a race with survival. You have to regress before they all die, if you won't use any chemical methods. She also doesn't use FGMO or essential oils.
>I am a beginner whose customers would not like it if I sprayed my hives weekly. Everyone says, "They do it to vegetables," but you wash vegetables before cooking them. Who wants to wash honey?
Most of the beekeepers I know tend toward the "organic" view of things. They find spraying chemicals offensive. It's hard not to feel that way when other people's insectacides kill your bees and any upset in the ecology affects your bees. It is the problem we all face right now.
Of course if you buy apples at the store they have parafin on them that won't wash off. It's inert and is just to make the apple look nice. The parafin is just a slightly longer carbon chain than the FMGO which is also inert. According to the studies by Dr. Pedro Rodriguez there is no residue of it in the honey anyway.
I would assume the "washing honey" question is obviously rethorical.
As I was archiving messages from BioBee List, I came across a post I had been looking for. I add it here for further discussion and consideration.
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002 02:34:58 EDT
Subject: Re: Resistant mites to Oxalic/Formic acids?
> One section mentions the onset of signs of mites becoming resistant to
> Oxalic and Formic acids.
> Would you fill in with the details that you have on this topic.
I was recently asking a number of experts about this topic. All publications about organic acids that I know of clearly state that resistance by mites is impossible. The reason is that acids are not so specific and act on various levels, unlike drugs like Fluvalinate that attack very specific targets. This impossibility of resistance is advertised to be one of the major advantages of organic acids. Acids are currently very popular in central Europe.
Five years ago, many beekeepers used two or three FA treatments and the job was done. Presently, most of them use about five FA + one or two OA treatments and still suffer losses. Lower efficiency due to resistance? There might be a lot of other explanations, but one shouldn't neglect this possibility.
I have the impression that our bee scientists are so convinced that resistance is impossible that they simply don't search for possible resistance. Also, I have the impression that they have little knowledge about biochemistry. They always consider FA a caustic acid, nothing else. To cope with a caustic acid, you have to buffer or neutralize it which is admittedly impossible for mites. But organic acids are also substances that can be metabolized. Many bacteria can oxidize Formic acid to harmless CO2. Why not the mites, too? Also: Bees ARE somewhat resistant to acids, otherwise they would be killed by the treatment. Why not the mites, too?
Now when I asked all these specialists about possible resistance to acids, most of them answered that buffering or neutralization is impossible. When I asked back about oxidation, they either became silent or admitted "OK, nothing is impossible".
Nevertheless, there is no proof of mites resistant to formic acid yet.
It is different with oxalic acid: One expert, Rosenkranz, clearly stated that he considers OA resistance possible and warned from constant and exclusive use. Another info about that comes from Erik: In Apidologie vol 32 (2001) there was an article by Norberto Milani from Italy in which he warns for extensive and sole use of Oxalic acid as it according to his findings is an acid that easily can be developed resistance to, enough resistance for it to be useless.
Acids are good to avoid residues in the hives. But they harm the bees considerably. And they are surely not the fial solution! IMPOV, the final solution is to select the bees instead of the mites.
Good Morning Fellow Beeekeepers. I have come upon this conversation at the very tail end, some very intersting ideas. As it has been said many times already,I have no problem with any of your beekeeping techniques, that is unless I am going to use your hive products.
I would not even consider using a chemical in my hives with surplus honey supers on,irrespective of how well it appears to work or how long it has been used. If we were really smart about chemicals we would not need a Federal Super cleanup fund to clean up past mistakes from our misuse of chemicals.
With no surplus honey supers on I rotate the use of Checkite and Apistan , I put on sticky boards at the sme time I put on strips. If I do not get a proper drop count within 24-36 hours I remove the strips. I also use Drone foundation as part of my IPM along with screened bottom boards and Crisco patties. I keep Crisco patties on year round.
In checking for varroa I open capped Drone cells any time I have reason to be in the hives. I also do occasional ether rolls.
Old brood comb. I will quote from The Hive and The Honey Bee , third printing, page 736." Keeping comb for long periods of tiem is now questionable. There is evidence tht perodic brood comb renovation improves the bees inviroment. Brood comb becomes narrower with time , producing smaller bees. Old wax comb, loaded with impurities over the years , has been associated with increase in disease like chalkbrood, nosema and foulbrood. Once the organisms responsible for these diseases becomes establisshed, the comb becomes a constant source of re-infection. Finally, wax comb is a "sink," that overtime can accumulate toxic levels of air polutant particulates like lead and mercury, and pesticides. I read somewhere else recently that five years is the average age of brood comb, check by the time honored method of holding it up to the sunlight. I date my frames on the top bar. I also read that the equivelate of eightpounds of honey is required to draw comb for one brood frame, all the more reason to protect the good comb you have in your hives.
Those of you using essential oils in your hives may wish to read the extensive reserch work done by The West Virginia University. Their site is http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/ipm/inse...arroa/oils.htm .
I have purchased the materials to do FGMO treatments starting in the spring, I will do this method on two, two brood chamber hives and keep a constant check on mite drop, I hope this no chemical, labor intense method will work well enough to keep the mites below the damage threshold.
Have a super day.
Les in SC
The "dirty" brood comb concept is still new to me. I have a copy of "The Hive and the Honey Bee" and have not been able to find your reference. You probably have a different revision than mine.
I have heard of people who put dates on their frames having frames of brood comb that were 50 years old. They were not having problems.
I do believe that the cocoons will make successively smaller brood cells until they are too small and then the workers will chew them out. But there is evidence that smaller is probably better for dealing with the mites.
As far as accumulating toxins, I think this is even more of a concern when using toxins in the hive. It may be that old brood comb could accumulate enough residues from the mite treatments etc. to become toxic to the bees. I have heard of people who have trouble raising queens because of this.
Michael: Sorry I should have given you the complete reference. It is the Hive and the Honey Bee, Extensively Revise 1992, Third printing 1997. page 736, first sentence at top of page. One can also find some thoughts on old brood comb in Elbert R. Jaycox's writing in his book published 1975-1981 titled "Beekeeping Tips and Topics", go to page 10 near the bottom of the page paragraph titled "comb foundation - Are we using enough ". Mr Jaycox writes about the Europeans using a great deal more foundation than US Beekeepers and goes into some great detail about why and finishes with his thoughts on old brood comb by simply saying that more research is needed.
If you have the February issue of the ABJ laying around and havent yet found time to finish reading it please go to page 139. Mr Carl Wenning has a great article on "Comb Management" he makes a good case (in my opinion)for scheduled replacement of brood comb.
I would suggest that those beekeepers using 25-30-50 year old brood comb do have problems and are just aware of them. I do wonder though if they have had unexplained colony loses.
SC is receiving some much needed rain, we are still 24-38 inches behind according to which part of the state. With the winter moister we have had I am looking forward to a good bee year.
Les in SC
My "The Hive and The Honey Bee" is the 1975 extensively revised edition. I can't find that reference in it.
I have heard of culling combs becaus they are misdrawn. Also the "small bees" issue, but that is simply because it gradually regresses to the size the bees want and then they will chew it back out.
The sanitation aspect is a new one to me, but obviously according to Axtman it is a big issue in Europe.
I still think that now the toxicity issue is even more important.
>>I would suggest that those beekeepers using 25-30-50 year old brood comb do have problems and are just aware of them. I do wonder though if they have had unexplained colony loses.
Cant speak for anyone else,but my colony losses are due to varroa plain and simple,nothing unexplained.I have mostly combs less than 10 years old,mixed in with an occasional really old(20 or 30 year) comb.The problems arrived with the mites,and there is no correlation with the age of the combs.Hives on all brand new combs are just as likely to break down as hives with much older combs.Its an interesting theory that has been around for awhile,but in actual practice just doesnt fly.I have read all the literature on this,but never was convinced that culling brood comb on the basis of age alone was economical or even beneficial.But make up your own mind.
I don't see anyone swapping out old comb in a feral hive, other than the wax moths. Some of them are still surviving. I've lost a lot of hives that were on brand new comb and kept a lot that were on older comb. I don't think I've ever had any on comb over 5 or 6 years old though. Not because I made an effort not to, it just seems to work out that way.
Michael, Mike: You validate my position on Federal funded research grants , there should be none. I also voted to close three of the four USDA labs,they are duplicates . Most of the real scientific research work is done in the independent beekeepers lab in his bee yard.
Having lived in Germany on the economy for four years taught me that those folks do little that has not been well reasoned.
Have fun, play hard.
Les in SC
I guess I'm not against the USDA bee labs, but I think they should be testing the promising things that people in the field are using with success. That testing should carefully try to duplicate precisely what people are using that is succeeding and try to validate or invalidate the method.
Unfortunately this is not the case. If they bother to test it at all, they fail to even understand what it is they are testing and don't follow the procedures that are succeeding, instead doing something that only vaguely resembles it and then declaring that it doesn't work.
I'm not sure why you would think that a bee lab in Baton Rouge, LA one in Madison WI and one in Laramie WY are redundant. The climates in these three places are dramatically different and anything tested in one place may work differently in another.
I am against closing any of the labs.The cost is just a drop in the bucket compared to most gov. spending.Most people dont know the true value of what bees contribute to our economy(mostly for free),and also dont understand just how serious the problems we face are.We need as many intelligent people working on these problems as we can get.
I'm with you Mike, on the issue of the Lab's .I wonder if it was'nt for the lab's where would we stand with the mite problems.there is not many beekeepers at least that I know , that's got the money & time for all of the research that went in the mite problem alone.much less all the other things were faced with.beside's I feel better knowing my tax dollars is spent on that. then spending it on crap like why is a gold fish gold.just my 2 cent's Mark
also, I was watching my bees one day after I feed them in one of my yard.(10)hives as i watched I seen a bee come in with a varra mite on her back,As I watched I seen 3 bee's come out of the hive at first I thought they was fighting the bee with the mite , but as I watched I noticed they seemed to be after the mite& not the bee this went on for afew min's then the bee flew off.I have never had any problem with them, But i placed sticky boards under three hive's for 24 hr's & found 2 mites.I don't treat much at less as much as a lot do.2 or 3 days later my A.B.j. came in & read about some guys bees fighting mites.do you think nature is starting to take a hold now that we've got the mite's down.Well may all your honey supers over flow mark