FGMO Thymol Fogging
Anybody out there fogging FGMO with thymol? I run our local bee club and we are having a meeting soon and a few of our members had some questions. I have never tried FGMO with thymol so I thought I would reach out to the Beesource community. I researched many previous threads and see that this is a very contentious subject. Safety for people and the bees are primary concerns.
Are there any advantages to fogging thymol over commercially prepared thymol formulations? I have heard many anecdotal reports of brood damage with the commercial preparations, is this also a factor with fogging thymol? With proper safety considerations it seems like it may be a good way to knock down phoretic mites, so I would assume the application interval is very important?
What do the state inspectors say if they think you are treating with FGMO\thymol?
Would use of none approved methods prevent getting a clean bill of health certificate?
Contentious?? Not here.
There are many items you can use to knock down mites. FGMO and thymol is one of them.
For me, the relationship or the value in such items is providing the catalyst for enhancing hygienic behavior. Anything you put in a hive that interfers with the natural pheromones of the queen will trigger increased grooming and hygienic behaviors.
I did FGMO, thymol treatments, etc. And they all help, but are labor intensive as per protocol dictates. I have found that its much easier to do some simple testing for selection of grooming and hygienic behavior using some of these same products. Once you have good hygienic bees, they remain hygienic without these temporary aids throughout the year. If you don't have hygienic bees, then these "temp" items that peak responses can show effectiveness.
I place paper towels with oil and thymol(other oils will work) on top of the frames. Come back at something like 3-5-7 day intervals, and you can see which hives are more hygienic. For me, there are three types of hives. 1)Those that ignore the paper towels. 2)Those that will propolise the paper towel. 3) Those that will shred the paper and discard it out the front of the hive. I want to breed from #3 type hives.
The Ontario breeders group have been doing freeze type testing on hygienic behavior for many years now. When they started, only about 50% of frozen cells were cleaned within a period of time. They now have that same test showing cell cleanout at rates averaging more than 95%. They have all but t-mite resistant bees and are now close to v-mite success. All through selection and testing.
So selection to me is the long goal in mite problems. Not a treatment that calls for weekly treatments throughout the year for success.
There is much improvements in SMR/VHS traits of recent. How do the bees know which cells to clean that are infested with mites? Communications, smell, other? Do you want a weekly treatment (FGMO/thymol)that perhaps interfers with this process and the natural smell indicators within the hive? Testing once or twice a year is one thing. Putting these foriegn smells into a hive every week is another. To me, adding weekly foriegn smells into the hive may actually be counterproductive to what I am trying to achieve.
I use oils/thymol, and other items for testing in my selection criteria. Its easier than the freezing that the ontario group does. But I would rather test and select my best hives, and improve the "proven" methods such as what the Ontario group is doing, rather than provide weekly treatments that are bandaid type solutions, and require a weekly application.
Thymol is very effective, and can be used as spring and fall treatments for those hives needing treatment. With something so effective that a couple treatments will knock down mites, why do a weekly fogging regiments?
No matter what you use, having the most hygienic bees shows the most success and effectiveness.
For FGMO protocol as it is, and I'm just repeating what I have been told, it may be something NOT to consider for commercial application. I have read that cord length differences in the past, as well as the smallest deviation from the protocol today, will spell failure. Read any of Dr. R's comments and he will ellude to the fact many, many times, that if strict protocol procedure is not followed, then success will not be achieved. I'm not sure how any commercial operation could follow this protocol when times between yard visits vary due to time constraints.
For those who are going to treat anyways and have no "pain" tolerance for improving one's stock by natural selction and culling of the weak...consider FGMO. At least it won't contaminate your comb. Thats at least a plus for all your efforts.
Just some points to ponder.....
bjorn is correct, this is exactly what we were doing with fogging the way we did, if the bees had not had some natural defenses, or tolerance, what we did with the fogging for three to four weeks would not have been effective. the only difference though is that i believe the wintergreen provides a more complete knockdown initially and then you can see which colonies will go ahead and develope a mite problem after this initial help. what we essientially did was clear the slate and then see which hives redeveloped a problem and as i have stated elsewhere we no longer have to treat for mites, at least in our area/\.
Personally, I have used FGMO in years past and agree the will be enhanced grooming and mite drop, however we no longer fog Old Sol bees. The thymol adds an interesting twist and there are some of our local hobbyist inquiring about its use so I thought I would glean some info from those of you who have experience with it before our next meeting. Has anybody experienced any brood damage or queen shutdown after FGMO thymol fogging?
>>>>Has anybody experienced any brood damage or queen shutdown after FGMO thymol fogging?<<<<
I haven't experienced any negative actions with fogging other than the 3 or 4 bees I cook. I hold the nozzle much closer to the entrance than is recommended.
never used thymol so cannot say but with the wintergreen all we noticed was a cleaning up of the brood and the disappearance of the mites, of course you would have enhanced cleaning of brood which was already damaged, so this could give the appearance of damaged brood from the fogging.