The Blue Shop Towel Method for Tracheal Mite Control in Honey Bees
What do you think? Is this still in practice?
The Blue Shop Towel Method
for Tracheal Mite Control in Honey Bees
"The blue light special"
Is that goverment approved...... of course not, that's why it works.
Blue shop towels
I have recently seen some hives that looked a lot like the photo.
Nice article, thanks much
Hello Allen & All,
I believe it is written up by the USDA but not sure the location. What Blane
is saying is you can always use less then label but not more than label. I
use approved food grade menthol. George is using a essential oil. The
peppermint spirits might work but are not approved method. I don't know the
rules for Canada.
I use the 1 lb.(by weight) menthol to canola oil and haven't had dead brood.
I did get dead brood and bees driven from the hives with the 2 lb. mix from
the article. I do not measure the amount of canola and only top off the 3
lb. coffee can. I do everything exactly like the 1 lb. formula presented in
the ABJ article. In your case making a larger batch you might have to guess
at the amount of canola.
I have always used the second dose. My thoughts were to keep the treatment
on as long as menthol would normally be on the hive. I have never treated
only once and then checked. Maybe I should have. I find many of the problems
associated with various treatments we use are not successful because we do
not follow instructions and timing. Resistance to Terramycin could have
developed because beekeepers were not appling properly. Dose one week. Dose
ten days later.
Timming is very important in using chemicals or antibiotics.
Jim Amrine, at West Virginia University
Jim Amrine, at West Virginia University.
This is his writeup, in part. The last I saw, he was testing the amounts
and also the effect on Varroa.
1): Measure and mix the following:
Place two standard packs of menthol crystals (3.4 oz. or 100 grams) in
an 8-oz. (118.3 cc) measuring cup, and then add canola oil to fill.
Microwave for 4 minutes at 50% power. Check to see that all crystals
dissolved—if not, microwave for an additional minute at 50% power. Must
be used while warm otherwise crystals will reform.
2): Add to paper towels:
Remove 30 paper towels from one roll; fold in half and stack. Put stack
of paper towels into a large zip-lock bag and add 1 cup of warm
Zip the bag shut then squeeze the towels in the bag until all towels are
evenly saturated. If one end of towels is somewhat dry, turn the bag
sideways putting dry end down—in about 10 minutes, all will be evenly
Thus, one cup of menthol-canola mix will treat 30 paper towels—using 2
towels per colony, this will treat 15 colonies.
Towels can be stored at room temperature indefinitely if the bag is
3): Add to colonies:
Do not add to colonies while a honey flow is on. Place one paper towel
over the top bars of each brood chamber. Best time to treat is
September. (Tracheal mites are usually not a problem from May to
September, so no menthol needs to be used until the time that mites
begin to build up in late August or September). Colonies can be treated
anytime during the winter when temperatures rise above about 45 F. We
recommend this treatment whenever tracheal mites are found; additional
treatments can be made in December, January and February. The bees will
chew up the paper towels and discard them at the entrance in 3-4 days
(or longer in winter). This mix caused no harm to our bees but
definitely reduced or eliminated the tracheal mites.
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"Works". And 3 towels "work" even better. You see, with treatments like these, the individual mixes up their brew and applies it how ever they see fit. Saying a home brew treatment "works" has no real meaning in hard data. It may achieve a goal, but you have no way of knowing all the other things it's achieving that aren't desired.
Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett
I knew if I got out the down rigger something would happen.
I have given up on worrying about such items awhile back, and have no reason any longer for such treatments. But I do use paper towels for testing various hives for selection of queens.
So the unknown of home brews don't concern you Keith?
You make my point quite obvious. This is the norm I'm sorry to say.
Originally Posted by BEES4U
Menthol-canola mix for one gallon
Here is the ratio for one cup of the menthol-canola.
Place two standard packs of menthol crystals (3.4 oz. or 100 grams) in
an 8-oz. (118.3 cc) measuring cup, and then add canola oil to fill.
1.0 Place two standard packs of menthol crystals (3.4 oz. or 100 grams) in
2.0 an 8-oz. (118.3 cc) measuring cup, and then add canola oil to fill.
So, I applied the above ratio to make a gallon.
= 4 quarts
= 8 pints
= 16 cups
100 grams/cup X 16 cups = 1,600 grams
1,600 grams/454 grams per pound = 3.45 pounds
3.45 pounds of menthol goes into a one gallon container and then you top it off with the canola oil.That's it. Pure and simple!
"I knew if I got out the down rigger something would happen."
What are you saying? Or is this some code for an insider jab at something or someone?
I think getting out the down rigger is sorta like climbing out from under the bus.
This subject is one of those touchy ones that potentially could lead to the divisiveness between commercial and hobbyists that none of us want, let's try not to go there.
Some look at a home brew as not being "by the book". This is the safe way and the way many beeks feel is the only way. Many commercial beeks don't go by the book, due to necessity.
I'll make the analogy of a neighborhood over run with bad guys. If the police do their job and get rid of the bad element, no problem. When everything is going well it is easy to make the case that vigilantism is a bad thing. That is easy when nothing is at stake. When your life or your property is at stake, the bad guys are over running your neighborhood and the police aren't doing the job what ya gonna do? You try whatever you hear others have done that might work. In the case of fighting the bee pests, if a possible solution is approved in other countries but not here because it is too cheap for a company to make money on, you make it yourself anyway. If a "labeled" solution works, but costs $$$ a colony, and you can make the solution yourself out of the cheap readily available ingredients, many will. $$$ a colony isn't much to someone with a couple colonies, but when you have a couple thousand it adds up. You might try whatever you can think of to solve the problem, to keep your bees alive and still make a living. It might not be the best route but sometimes necessity forces you to do things that in a perfect world you would not. We don't see the ag world, the chem companies, the government, or the universities falling all over each other to see who can solve the problems first, that is for sure.
Transfer of knowledge
I took the materials and method from a scientist and transfered it to a larger batch/application.
Is their something wrong with my method?
I agree Sherri. But when some of the same (those with home-brews) who then pass of nucs, packages, and queens, to the beekeeping industry, then it goes way beyond your analogy.
Research has shown over and over, the problems with queen quality and comb contamination. But yet, I can pick up the state newsletter, or B.C and ABJ, and the advertisements are there for the same ones that are known to use homebrews, have serious CCD problems, etc.
If this was an in-house thing, without it effecting the bee industry, to include unsuspecting beekeepers who "thought" they were buying colony, and NOT all the associated contamination and problems that obviously do not come on the "label", then who cares?
Personally, I'm tired of local, state, and other meetings being dominated because a few beekeepers are having problems. There openness of 30 year old comb, home-brews, and there management is their problem. Unfortunately, it is also being passed onto others.
And I'll say again......To use chemicals that are not approved or standard within the bee industry, and then sell off nucs, hives and bees, to consumers, should be something to stop.
A few years ago, anyone suggesting what was going on, was shouted down, or the claims were outright denied. Now, claims are being proven, but some sort of "justification" is trying to be applied out of necessity. That's fine, as I said. You can not stop that. But I will also keep mentioning that beekeepers should be aware that this has gone on for a long time. And some of those who are now "justifying" their use of many chemicals, are those who have, and continue, to sell queens, nucs, hives, and packages. And since not one of these operations are going to include this in that they use illegal chemicals, (and it is now known that some of these chemicals contaminate comb with impacting consequences) then it must be the consumer that needs to be educated.
I'm just glad that more and more, whether it be Ernie or Keith or anyone else, are willing to mention what goes into their hives. Thus the bee industry and potential consumers can at least see what they are potentially buying.
I've never seen an advertisement from a beekeeper mentioning he treats with this illegal chemical or that one. Wonder why?
For the record...its not a commercial or hobbyist thing. Its a beekeeping thing....that crosses both categories. And this may not apply for the ongoing conversation regarding Menthol. But I think your comments were meant for more than menthol...
I'm just glad that more and more, whether it be Ernie or Keith or anyone else, are wi
FYI: The reasons for my research is to become informed about the bee industry and share it with others.
For example: I get phone calls from queen buyers that said that their hive count droped from 1,200 down to 400 hives and the onley pollination is almonds. They said that they had been using un-registered chemicals in their hives like Tactic mixed with Crisco and blue food coloring. I explained to them that Dr. E. Mussen at U.C.D. said that the grease patty has no value to the bees. No wonder that the wintering cluster is smaller than the years prior to Tactic! The active ingredient in Tactic is a larvacide which means that the queens eggs do not hatch.
The other problem we have is that a lot of people do not understand measurements. There is a 3 fold difference between a Tbs and a tsp.
That is enough for now.
I think this is the important issue here. If whatever one does with their bees to make a living, stays with their bees, it's not an issue with me. But when any part of your business (honey, wax, bees, etc.) touches the consumer, it should matter, to both consumer and producer, yet it appears there is a disconnect with the commercial end. Can this aspect be addressed by our commercial friends?
Originally Posted by BjornBee
I can't talk for every outfit out there but the commercial folks I know, for the most part, are very conscientious about how, when and where they apply any treatments. As to the honey, ask the big packers who receive the commercial lots about the cleanliness. Many (most? all?) do analysis of the honey coming into their plants for chemical contamination and give their producers feedback on purity. We (speaking personally here)know our honey is pure, which is more than some who are NOT tested can say. Personally I wince every time a newbee on these boards asks about pulling the "honey" from his (maybe treated) syrup fed bees. Remember the video of the guy pulling honey, then the camera backs up and it shows the feeder on the front? Purity isn't just a commercial concern.
As far as using home brews of approved treatments, those doing it for a living on a mass scale are probably less likely to use more than is recommended, due to costs of larger scale. The labeled treatments have just as much chance of being misused as the home brews, especially by some of the weekend warriors who might or might not be up to speed on recommendations. They are the ones most likely to think "if 1 is good, 3 is better", especially when cost wouldn't be such an issue.
..."If this was an in-house thing, without it effecting the bee industry"<<<
The "bee industry" is probably 99%+ consistent of beekeepers who use treatments of one sort or another on their bees.
As for bees being bought that have been treated with something, this is the norm and will continue to be the norm until a solution is found that doesn't require treatment. There are some who sell totally untreated bees and queens, but they are a minuscule amount of those needed annually in the real world of big commercial honey production/pollination in this country. Indeed, they are a minuscule amount of those sold to the hobbyist market, which is a small part of the industry. Realistically, at this point in time, if no treatments of any kind were given to any colonies there would be a massive die off of bees and resultant crop failures. The cost of bees would be prohibitive to most, as would be the cost of the bee pollinated dependent produce.
(It is another argument altogether whether this would be a good thing, long term.)
I do think commercial beekeepers are constantly trying to find a viable point at which we can keep our bees healthy and productive with the least "harmful" and smallest amount of treatments necessary, hence the move towards the more holistic seeming "home brews". HBH, menthol, oxalic acid, etc vs the various harsh chemicals we have been legally offered in the past might be a more viable long term means to fight these terrible recent plagues on our bees. Unfortunately we as an industry don't have much of anyone working on our problems but ourselves.
Originally Posted by Barry
You could use that arguement about anything.
Put five check mite strip in if two don't work or double the TM rate if the foul brood doesn't clean up. I could go on & on. And we won't even talk about China.
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