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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    490

    Default Sumac for mite control?

    A few years ago, I read an article regarding the use of dried Sumac berries in your smoker for mite control. I would like to revisit that idea in this thread. I really would like mite control via my smoker.

    Does anyone do this? And what kind of results are you getting? Is it detrimental to the bees? Queen? Brood? Is constant or only occasional use recommended? Or, has this method been debunked since I read the article?

    The article said the species of Sumac was "Staghorn Sumac", Rhus typhina. Is this the only variety that controls mites?
    Or, do others? What species do you use?

    This sumac is not native to my area, but seems like it would grow here based on the horticultural info I read. So, Can anyone furnish me seed from well dried clumps? I would like to try to grow some. It looks like a nice plant to have around, even if I don't get good mite control.

    All discussion would be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Laurence
    His Hive Honey Farm - Do all for His glory!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: Sumac for mite control?

    There was also a thread that talked about Grapefruit leaves being used to the same effect but I never heard anything more about it. Any one know anything more?
    Old Guy in Alabama

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Waterville, NY
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Sumac for mite control?

    Although I can literally reach out my window and collect some sumac "bobs", I feel hesitant about sending them. Please, nothing personal. If you have no Rhus typhina where you live it is probably because it is not native to your area and maybe it should not be encouraged to become established. Up here it grows like a weed sending out root sprouts eventually forming thickets. I use the stems and branches for twig-work rustic furniture and beds because it has a very beautifully colored grain. Also, the bobs, as they are sometimes called, can be soaked in cold water, strained, and served as "indian lemonade." Some people are allergic to staghorn sumac but may also have it confused with poison sumac (Rhus vernix) which causes severe contact dermititis similiar to poison ivy. Good reason though.....poison ivy is in the same family as the sumacs (Anacardiaceae - cashew family) and even the same genus....Rhus radicans.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    986

    Default Re: Sumac for mite control?

    I would be careful with that one. My father had a very bad reaction from smoke of burning sumac; swelled his eyes shut for three days!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: Sumac for mite control?

    The use of sumac (mostly staghorn around here) for a smoker fuel goes back to before the mites were a problem for us. I have never heard that it is good for a mite treatment though. I wonder if this has ever been substantiated?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    787

    Default Re: Sumac for mite control?

    I'm with beemilk on this. If you don't already have it, don't plant it. It is an invasive weed all over Upper East TN. -js

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,778

    Default Re: Sumac for mite control?

    I would not risk breathing poison sumac smoke just to save a bit on mite treatments and smoker fuel. But to each their own.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    967

    Default Re: Sumac for mite control?

    i have often used sumac twigs for smoker fuel.
    I have no mite problem.

    I also have a wooden hive stand.
    I have no mite problem.

    Which of these is the thing that prevents mite problems?
    Neither.

    I also wear a beard each time I work the bees...I have no mite problems...I think that that is what prevents the mite problem.

    No scientific studies have been done demonstrating that wearing a beard does not prevent mite problems. Any assertion that wearing a beard has no affect ought to be supported by such research; otherwise it is just another unscientific assertion.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,778

    Default Re: Sumac for mite control?

    Good one Beregondo!
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fair Grove,MO,USA
    Posts
    1,665

    Default Re: Sumac for mite control?

    I've used sumac for smoker fuel and read that it was good for mite control? and have used it in some of my outyards because my smoker fuel was getting low, but never run any kind of test. The good thing about sumac, the bees work it hard when it's in bloom and it makes a good amber honey. We have three or four different types here, i don't know if the bees work all four or not.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,778

    Default Re: Sumac for mite control?

    All I remember about sumac is the poison part. After a run in with poison oak (apparently, never saw the plant, got the rash from a rock scratch) I am not nearly the "woodsy" type that I once was. For years I wasn't allergic to poison ivy - I don't know what I got into but it burned like fire and has recurred for a couple of years at the same site, so if I am paranoid of sumac, that is why.

    I know it grows in Michigan. I don't think it grows in Texas. At least not my part.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

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