Did you all happen to see the article in Bee Culture this month?
These two guys did an experiment with smoke and mite drop count. They tried 3 different things in their smokers and pumped it into the hives, then counted the mite drop for 24 hrs.
First they did cedar bedding, then pine straw, then the berries from sumac. They had the largest drop count from the sumac smoke.
So, will beekeepers be snipping sumac berries from the sides of the interstates?
What does this smoke do that the mites fall more than the others?
But, if it can get people who grab the chemicals at the sight of a mite - or just because someone told them to do it - hmmmm.
A lot of people use sumac anyway for somking. I've tried tobacco and it will increase mite drop some, but it doesn't really make that much difference. If you use it enough to make a difference you'll asphixiate the bees.
I may try the sumac since the people using it already think it's great smoker fuel.
MB plus the sumac is free. I like that part. Maybe between FGMO and sumac we beekeepers might (mite) have something going here!
I wish I could remember better, but I think the guys down at the Weslaco Bee lab did a study on several smokes to drop mites. As I remember, the smoke that droped the most mites was creosote leaves but the smoke was stressful on the bees. Grapefruit leaves seemed to be the best with no abnormal stress on the bees. I have heard elsewhere that magnolia leaves produce a good drop. I don't know if magnolia leave really work, but they sure smell good in my smoker.
Sumac contains gallic acid. Gallic acid is an organic acid. The most common example are the carboxylic acids whose acidity derives from a carboxyl group -COOH.
of some sort.
In fact it is used to make some great tasting "lemonade". Here's a recipe....
Gather heads of ripe red-berried sumac and place in paper bag. When ready to use remove berries with a fork. Using 1 cup to 1 quart cold water, cover and let stand overnight. Or place in hot sun 1 day. Strain through cheesecloth and sweeten to taste.
As to the smoke and mites........ I suspect that the acidic nature of sumac is a factor. Just a hunch........