i've read references to different smoker fuels like,tobacco and sumac cause a greater mite drop. i have a friend who smokes his bees furiously and even calls it "smoking treatments".does anyone else subscribe to versions of this.could there be some substance that we could just add to our smokers to really treat mites? has anyone done a comprehensive study of this sort of thing?
Yes, there is a fellow from Bolivia that has been doing a study on this. His name is Nabor Hector Mendizabal Chavez. He is doing some work and finishing his studies at the University of Georgia. I saw him at the Georgia Beekeepers Association meeting last fall. I don't know where to get his papers on the subject, but you should be able to email the university and they could let you know.
Off the top of my head tobacco does get rid of the mites but is just as bad for the bees. I want to say he was having good results with grapefruit leaves.....DON'T QUOTE ME ON THIS!!!!!! It would be better for you to find and read the paper yourself.
[This message has been edited by BILLY BOB (edited April 12, 2003).]
I have tried Tobacco and still use it sometimes, but if you use enough to cause the mites to drop you also do some harm to the bees. It's like you starting smoking to lose weight because you think the weight is bad for your health. If you smoke them heavy enough it asphixiates the bees and they fall into a pile on the bottom board.
I would say that Tobacco in your smoke is another of many things that can HELP with mites, but you can't get rid of them with it. It won't put a big dent in them and I think it would help if you had a Screened Bottom Board. A little Tobacco smoke seems to calm the bees really well.
I have a friend who was the Bee Inspector for Nebraska and he said he know of people who used tobacco for smoke all the time. He tested for mite drop and said it was not very effective on mites. Also, I have heard of research being done, but again I think it was only a little bit effective.
Several years back, Frank E., at one of the southern bee labs, was testing different types of smoke for mite control. Grapefruit leaves showed some promise. This effort was described and a research article published in the American Bee Journal.
So I had a bunch of grapefruit leaves sent to me from my aunt's tree in Florida. I smoked some hives vigorously and monitored the mite fall on a trap beneath a screened bottom board.
After the mitefall ceased I used powdered sugar to dust the same hives and compared the counts.
The grapefruit smoke dropped just a fraction of the mites that were dropped by the powdered sugar. I considered it's effect minimal.
The leaves were dry and a couple of months old. Maybe fresh green leaves would work better.
i'm gonna try some grapefruit peels.