Over the last couple of days I spend quite some time reading up on FGMO as a treatment against varroa mite and tracheal mite. The first time I read about this treatment was a couple of years ago on the BEE-L list and I certainly did not like the what happened there. The reason for reading up on FGMO is that I have problems controlling varroa the way it is officially recommended. Spring treatment with formic acid and fall treatment with Apistan strips. Year after year I see, toward the end of July, bees with deformed wings etc., which means a heavy infestation. This is reflected in my winter losses.
For the coming season I will treat with FGMO on top of the other treatments, just to be sure, and I hope there will be a change in patron. Please do not hang me for being cautious.
But all the above is not the reason for this posting. By thinking things over, a question popped up. The mites, varroa and tracheal, suffocate because their spiracles become covered with FGMO. The bees have larger spiracles, which do not get covered. What about the tiniest bee larvae? They are even smaller than an adult varroa mite. I am sure that there is no serious negative effect, otherwise somebody would have mentioned that already. Question is why are they not effected?
Lambert van der Veen
Simcoe, Ontario, Canada
North shore of Lake Erie
Dear Mr Veen and fellow beekeepers.
Your question is highly appreciated. This was one of my original concers when I began performing research using FGMO. To my pleasant surprise I have not found FGMO to affect honey bee larvae, queen laying or adult bees. I did have expose young bee larvae to FGMO and definitely the larvae died when directly exposed to it. However that is not the case during treatment. My thoughts about this are that FGMO does not reach bee larvae at that stage during treatment, and following the procedure that I utilize. If you have read the FGMO treatnment publications as you indeed say that you have, and you follow the recommended procedures, I am sure that your results will be equal to mine's.
Congratulations on your decision to utilize FGMO in your practice and the best success.
It is too bad that you wont use FGMO alone becasue that way you will not know for sure if FGMO is responsible for any changes obtained.
Your statement, that the fog does not affect the tiniest larvae in the cells, is reassuring, but it leaves my question still open as to why.
My suspicion is that the air in a cell is almost stagnant. The more towards the dead-end, the more stagnant it is. It may be that the fog can not reach the larvae.
I am intrigued but do not expect that others always have to come up with an answer. I would like to see some proof as to why the larvae are not affected. If nobody has done any work in this direction, I am more than willing to give it a try and post the results.
I admire your interest in the effect that FGMO may have on the little larvae. I have not observed any deleterious effect as yet during the past seven years of trials.
One reason that comes to my mind could be the fact that during the stage after hatching, the tiny larvae are buried in royal jelly hence protected from the effedct of FGMO, that is provided that any FGMO penetrates the bottom of the cell.
My research is very limited financially, especially have added Small Hivee Beetles to my FGMO research. Finer details like the one that you are proposing may or may not have an inpact on the health of the colony and surely will be taken up by capable /finacially endowed researchers. I certainly would like to know and thus welcome your interest for testing your querry. Please let us know what your investigation reveals.
It indeed refreshing to read your concern and thoughts on this matter . You bring up an interesting subject which I have not thought about at all.
Allow me to give my input relative to other treatments as well as the small larva situation.
I have posted the history of my involvement in various forums and may be I am regarded as a niusance in some of them.
But that does not bother me one bit and I have used stronger words than that.
Let's go back a bit to the Formic acid thing.
Bayer chemical issued a couple of years ago a treatment with formic acid whereby the gist of the matter was to expose broodframes with variuos stages of development of larva. The idea was to kill mites within the cells closed or open. It was a rather involved affair but apparently it is met with success of killing mites through the cappings also . What was NOT said ( if I remember correctly) is the effect on bee larvae . If the formic acid fumes penetrated the cells and the mites croaked , one can reasonably assume that the bee larvae were also affected . 90 Deg F Temperature played a heavy role in that.
I have used Formic acid once and cannot report on the outcome since I found it troublesome to play with it . And once is simply not good enough a test.
As with other miticides , acids of various kind and menthol the temperature at the time of treatment does play a role and the criteria of temp have to be met to have an effect.
In Northern climates this can be somewhat difficult to achieve since the weather changes sometimes quickly and does when one
can do without . As far as I am concerned the whole talk against FGMO was without merits and idle blabber.
It is true that one researcher alone is commonly crucified and remains the underdog because of multiple reasons .( I have the tendency to root for the underdog) Instead of talking through the hat , other's should have made researches seriously and bring proof that it does not work because of blah bla blah etc.
In the meantime I have NOT treated my colonies with anything but FGMO since 2000
and have NOT found an effect on eggs , small or mature larvae , open or shut . Because IF a detrimental effect would indeed exist ,I would have no bees left in any colony.
Coumaphose and fluvalinate as well as all other acids and essential oils or antibiotics are not applied to any of my colonies , going cold turkey to FGMO .
Now, For me the final report will be forthcoming after this winter's result. And that will be most likely in March / April.This would be the third winter and we shall see what it will bring. We must consider in all aspects of beekeeping that management in one area does not apply to another climatic condition. It behoves the beekeeper to communicate locally and report or recommend findings applicable to the locale and get the researcher involved also to help them in their endavors to keep up with the evolution of bees.