I've asked some guys having success with thymol to post to this thread.
I've asked some guys having success with thymol to post to this thread.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).
Been using the Thymomite for several years now in the late summer early fall time frame. I have also used Apiguard (thymol gel). If the Apiguard is used on the topbars a rim is needed to allow for an evaporative space but both products work well between the hive bodies in a double. While the Apiguard is virtually useless on the top bars without a rim we have found that the thymomite strips work fairly well on the top bars without a rim but occasionally the hive will choose to propolize it to the lid and essentially seal it off. Both products need nice warm temps to work well and are virtually useless once freezing temps have set in. Apiguard is a bit harsher, occasionally causing bees to remove some pupae from the hive that are apparently killed by the fumes. Neither product should be used when temps are consistently over 90 degrees. The Api-Life Var is another option but is pretty pricy. I consider thymol a safer alternative to some of the chemicals that are being widely used.
Thymol has been used in beekeeping for over 70 years,and it's first use was pioneered by R O B Manley,below is a link to his original recipe,i basically use this but what they would call x3...i use 5ml per gallon of syrup,plus also emulisify it now for even better effect.
Here is some more imformation in the link below regards the use of thymol as a preventative against nosema....hope the link works.
Pre 2002 i used the normal Manley thymol mix in all of my autumn fed sugar syrup,on several hundred colonys,never had problems with nosema or varroa,the latter of which arrived in the uk in 1992,in 2002 i stopped feeding sugar syrup to any colonys altogether in favour of fondant,in 2002 we had the first resistant mites...for a few years then,when only feeding fondant the nosema began to become a problem,what had i not been doing...what was wrong or rather missing...Thymol to the feed was the answer,so now back to syrup feeding with the thymol. Which also acts against varroa....research link below.
I have also been using my own Thymol pads to treat varroa for the last nine years,similar to what can now be bought, and is called apilif-var...but mine is low cost compared for what is charged for that.
Below is a copy of one of my old posts on our uk forum about this.....
The mixture is 8 grams thymol to 12 grams oil,sunflower,rape,olive or even old chip oil,multiply this measurment to make more.
warm in old pan outdoors until all the thymol crystals have dissolved then add 20 ml of this mixture to a piece of the green absorbent garden oasis(not the grey one) this is the size of a sardine tin or half pound cut comb container. two inches wide, three and a half long, and 8 ml thick. put oasis in container then put liquid on, leave overnight to soak in,will soak in better if warm.
To treat bee's cut this in half and place the two parts on top of brood frames over the brood area. reduce entrance to about 2 inches and block of any feed holes,and mesh floors,give second treatment in two weeks and another 2weeks later.
I just move the previous treatment to the outside of the brood box on the edges,some bee's chew this right away to nothing others don't touch it some just nibble the corners,makes no differene as it still works really well.look at varroa floor the next day,mites will be dead. needs to be used in warmish weather and some bee's may hang out of entrance for a couple of days others take no notice,no bad effect on bee's or queens,helps to prevent chalkbrood, much more effective than apiguard.
I believe this was tested on hundreds of hives over a period of time in spain,i have used this and this alone for the past five years,and it does not hurt if left in. nucs use half this dose.I also tried formic in nassenhieder evaporators and canadian blast method,good for killing queens.do not use when supers are on,can bee used on swarms as soon as queen stars to lay but before brood is sealed or if bad build up of mites in summer by doing artificial swarm and treating the broodless bee's for short time and parent colony until all young bee's have emerged and the mites killed.
Next....i also use Alpha's recipes for the patties,and have modified my treatment listed below a little,to better emulsify,and i now also add lemon grass pure EO,This is again a copy of a post i made elswhere,so ignore any names,and times ect.
Okay,will start by saying last spring i tested every colony for nosema, had 20+ colonys with heavy nosema infection,started to treat in the very mild weather in feb, they all responded really well to treatment,some were later given complete comb changes,but not all,later in spring a few more colonys also got nosema that previously tested clear,obviously drinking from the same contaminated water supply that had been crapped over by some of the infected colonys,so every hive in the affected apairys were treated.
Last autumn every full size colony and nuc was fed down with thymolated syrup,this spring have yet to find any signs of nosema in any colony,even weaker one's,and even in the one's that previously had very heavy nosema and had no comb changes,these colonys are in fact boiling over with bee's at the moment and many have had second brood chambers added,some were over wintered on double broods and are incredibly strong,some will be having two nuc's taken from each one very soon. Also as a slight side note i have detected no varroa mites in the vast majority of hives,very very few in some,and no oxalic used at all,reminds me of pre 2002 when i always fed thymolated syrup.
The original recipe is simply 30g of thymol crystals dissolved in 150 of surgical spirit or isopropyl alcohol.........will keep indefinately and you add up to five ml of this per gallon of syrup feed,or if to simply stop fermentation 5ml per 3 gallons.
Problem with the above mixture is the oil tends to float on top of the syrup,obviously some of it is in the entire mix,but not in an equal suspension,so therefore not being stored in the combs as i would like it,and i believe is more effective if emulsified.
If you wish to carry out your own test add 10ml to a bucket containing 2 gallons of syrup,allow to settle,then with a thin tube syphon some surup from the bottom of the bucket into a clean cup,then take some syrup from the top of the bucket into another cup....then smell the difference....taste it..see which one gets you spitting for a few minutes.
Emulsified thymol pre mix.
30g thymol crystals placed in honey jar,add 5ml of isopropyl alcohol to the crystals,place jar into a water bath of boiling water to speed up the dissolving process.
In another jar pour in 140 ml of boiling water and add 1 teaspoon of lecithin granules, stir well,and place this jar into a water bath of boiling water,stirring often for abot ten minutes or so until most of the lecithin granules have dissolved,you can then strain this mixture through a teastrainer or similar to remove any granules that have not dissolved fully,then simply add the dissolved thymol to this mix,and shake well,will look just like a jar of milk.
To use add 5ml to each gallon of syrup and stir well,syrup will go milky,unlike when using the old original mix.
If the mixture forms any crystals at a later date,tip into old small pan and reheat,do this outdoors.
There are also other feed supplements availible such as vita feed,and nosevit ect,i have never tried these so cannot make any comment on them,but i will sure be sticking to what i know works well.
Ps in the past i have on occasion added two teaspoons of the old original mix 10ml per gallon with no ill effects on the bee's at all,but 5ml is plenty.
Last edited by beekuk; 01-03-2011 at 12:01 PM.
Just to Bring it into this thread as well, i have coppied Alpha's post from elswhere on here,with his very effective treatment methods.
He writes things out better than me as well...lol
Sorry for the delay. Below are posted my recipes. Irwin, I use oil and not crystals. It is easier for me. I also recommend using an eye dropper instead of just trying to flick out drops from the bottles. The patties are meant as a feed primarily and a treatment second. From the lack of mites in my hives after returning from Calf. where they should have been infested or at least some sign of them my theory is as follows. Thymol is deadly on contact to mites. I suspect that as the bees stored the patties in the comb as they were packing out the combs for winter feed storage, as mites moved across the comb and contacted the thymol they died. So by having it in the comb it basicly made the comb a mine field for the mites and they died out. That coupled with any that was fed to the larvae would also contact the mites and kill them in this manner.
The liquid feed is meant as a strong treatment for spring or if you are infested with mites and/or your bees have nosema. It will treat both in my experience. You can also use the liquid as a mist over your frames for a quick knock down of mites. The formula is strong, but it has been used effectively by myself with no bee kill.
Alpha6 Feed Recipes
Patties – 5 gallon bucket mixture
2 Cups of Yeast
7 lbs of Sugar
8 drops of thyme
15 drops lemongrass
15 drops spearmint
Measure out the brewer’s yeast into a large container. Add your essential oils as measured above. I recommend using an eye dropper for precise measurements. Pour liquid brewer’s yeast into 5 gallon bucket. Add sugar slowly with mixing with an electric drill equipped with a “mud” paddle. Mix until the consistency is that of a thick mushy mashed potatoes. Add sugar or small amount of yeast to get consistency right. In feeding lots of hives I find you can then pour/spoon this mixture out of the 5 gallon mixing bucket into one used for feeding and then continue to mix a new batch in your mixing bucket. If you try and mix too much, you will burn out your drill which is why I recommend mixing in the above measurements.
Patties – Cement Mixer
2 Quarts of yeast
30 lbs of sugar
32 drops of thyme
60 drops of lemongrass
60 drops of spearmint
In a large mixing bowl measure out 2 quarts of liquid brewer’s yeast and then add your essential oils. In a clean cement mixer pour the yeast/EO mixture. Turn on the mixture and begin to add the sugar. Continue to mix until well mixed and with a consistency of thick mushy mashed potatoes.
Liquid Feed –
1 Quart of Water
1 Quart of Sugar
16 drops of thyme oil
30 drops of lemongrass oil
30 drops of spearmint oil
2 teaspoons of Soy Lecithin Granules
In a mixing bowl or similar item add one quart of hot but not boiling water. Mix in 2 teaspoons of Lecithin granules. Mix with a beater or till all of the granules are dissolved. Add your thyme, lemongrass and spearmint oils and again mix with the beater. Measure out one quart of sugar and pour it in your hot water/oil mix and stir well.
I mix this up two quarts at a time and double the amounts. I then pour it in a 5 gallon bucket and repeat until I have four gallons of liquid feed in the 5 gallon bucket. (At this point you will have mixed 2 gallons of water to 2 gallons of sugar) I then use a “mud” mixer on an electric drill and mix it all very well in the 5 gallon bucket. Put a lid on and it’s ready to go out to your hives. I have a bucket with a small spigot on it that I pour the contents into in the field and then I can control filling my feeders. You can also dip, but if your bees are out they will find it (and you).
Pete and/or Alpha,
Thanks for all this information (and thanks to Oldtimer for setting up this thread). Can you comment on the differences in effectiveness between the patties and the syrup? It sounds like you are using both - ever tried using only the syrup and if so how effective has syrup alone been for you?
Is this a treatment that is only effective within certain temperature ranges such as the Tymol pads, or will it work at any temperature as long as the bees are consuming the syrup?
And finally, since it sounds like the two of you have done extensive research on this subject, are there any negatives to treatment with Thymolated syrup and what arguments would the 'naysayers' raise if they were actively contributing to this thread?