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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Pisgah Forest, NC, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Drawback of using essential oils?

    Not trying to stir up a debate here, but I would like some of the treatment free folks to chime in and provide me with some information about the drawbacks of using essential oils like wintergreen oil, tee-tree oil, and lemon grass oil. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    710

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    Not treatment free, but I'll chime in...as I understand it the oils prevent the growth of things like bacteria, mold, yeast, and fungus. They def. do this. That sounds benign until you realize that the bees need these things to make bee bread and also, like us, they have a host of beneficial organisms in their gut. I'm quite undecided on whether an occasional dose of an EO makes a huge difference one way or the other in a hive, but that's the biggest drawback that I've heard proposed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Polk County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    I'm still not sold on the idea that they even work. For every study I've read that sings their praises, there is another that disputes them. I do bait swarm traps with lemongrass oil but other than that I don't use them anymore.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,783

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    The essential oils in "honey be healthy" will draw every robbing bee and yellow jacket for miles. Have half a bottle I bought last summer and haven't used since 3 weeks after I bought it.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,806

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    It trying to be as treatment free as possible, I tried growing a lot of herbs this year to offer the bees essential oils, pollen and some nectar, etc..naturally. I have to say I have very, very low mite counts in 80 colonies going into the winter. I have screened BB on all hives-inserting the board now to close them off for the winter months, but there is still the screened effect for mite drop. I grew several types of thyme, rosemary, english lavender, dill, basil, oregano, lemon grass etc. I am impressed and will do it again next year. Maybe placebo effect...but what the heck!
    Thats the thyme in full bloom. (I grew most herbs in pots)




    Heres some young lavender in a large pot with purple fountain grass and a sedum:


    Below: Young lavender plants and Bayleaf plants:


    People who came to visit the beeyard really loved the herbs all lined up. I'll be raising them to sell next year with my queens. Already got my seeds from 'Johnneys'

    http://www.johnnyseeds.com/c-3-herbs.aspx

    May I suggest an excellent book from Nationel Geographic...Get it at Amazon.com

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/079...ls_o03_s00_i00

    I also attribute my low mite count to healthy feeding when necessary-both syrup and protein patties, including a LOT of Cider vinegar and electrolytes with vitamins.
    I had a lot of mating nucs I had to feed and am right at the limit for hives in one area. (Most of my colonies are double nucs) So feeding was necessary.
    I try not to let my colonies ever be stressed. I feel this keeps them in a healthy balance and strong to keep pests and diseases in check.

    Lauri Miller
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Miller...56954971040510
    Last edited by Lauri; 10-13-2012 at 11:34 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    Lauri,
    That's a great looking setup you have there, I really like all you herb pots and plantings.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,409

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    Lauri, your place looks like a vacation place for beekeepers!!! Looks very relaxing!!!! You must be one very busy person with all the up keep that comes with a paradise like that!!

    At my old house I had a large half barrel that I grew mint in, the bees were all over it when it was blooming!! Since I cant have bees at my house I am going to section off an area by my garden and make a bee garden with herbs like lavender, mint and such, just so I can kick back and enjoy the bees when I have a little spare time!!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,995

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    Most of your colonies are first year or splits, aren't they Lauri? It's hard for mite populations to get out of control if hives are split in the same season. The concentrations of oils in herbs is miniscule compared to essential oils. There's no doubt the presence of all those herbs makes for a pleasant environment, but it's unlikely that the presence of herbs will have any effect on mites. Otherwise bees near herb farms wouldn't have any mite issues.

    I am in a similar boat this year, in that most of my colonies are splits or established this year are pretty light on mites.

    On the other hand, the colonies that overwintered from last year are getting hammered by mite loads.

    Adam

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    But aren't herbs supposed to enhance the general health of your bees anyway? I'm sure I read a report on it somewhere, I'll have to see if I can find it now.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Ballina, NSW - Australia
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    Love the setup Lauri!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,806

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    Yes, almost all of my colonies are new from packages and splits this year.

    That 'Placebo Effect' I mentioned is just another way to say I have several things I am doing to keep my bees in a healthy balance and really don't know if they do or do not help, but am liking the results so far. Keeping everything into consideration is essential of course when making assessments.

    I only am treatment free as long as there is not a problem.
    When problems arise I go into action, but take the least toxic or harsh method possible.

    But the herbs do smell nice And who knows, it's possible the contact may help the hive flourish in some ways. When in bloom the herbs are absolutly COVERED with bees-Bumble bees and mason bees as well as honeybees. It is like Catnip to cats..They must be getting something benificial from them. Or maybe just getting a Buzzz? LOL. At least they are content.

    As far as I am concerned, if a person keeps bees in an unnatural hive setting and does not allow them to swarm-they must also manage them. That includes treating for the results of human interference.

    I try not to let my colonies ever be stressed. I feel this keeps them in a healthy balance and strong to keep pests and diseases in check.
    The electrolytes and vitamins were new to me this year. I'll be keeping track of how that goes the next few years.

    The worse hives in my yard were a small few I just left alone with no feeding or much management. They got DWV, I treated with Hopguard this fall and they all absconded. ( I left for vacation for two weeks right after treating and when I came back the hives were empty-so I am not sure of the details regarding the changes during treatment)

    The large hives right next to them that were receiving colonies for my queen cells, occasionally got fed my special recipes all summer and flourished. No treatments necessary.( I am talking about a very small amount of feed. My protein patty recipe on top at all times and a quart of syrup only while the queen cells were open. So a three deep hive got about two quarts of syrup a month)

    It is interesting to me, and a little surprising my hives took up my protein pattys all summer. They really relish them-even when there is a ton of pollen coming in. I notice the young bees gorging on the patties-first meals? The cost in minimal and I feel good knowing they are growing at a good rate-without the swarming issues associated with over feeding.

    Conclusions? Good Nutrition and less stress is probably more important than some give it credit for. (For man or beast-or bugs)

    I am far from having my management and nutritional/health program for the bees figured out-
    But it is a challenge I am working on..

    Be observant and THINK!
    Don't we all look forward to the next season so we can try out new theory's!

    But back to the essential oils: When ordering off the internet, who knows of a reasonable, reputable place where the purity is not in question. I'd love to get a good stash of oils for several reasons.
    Has anyone tried infusing powdered sugar with a drop or two of essential oils as a treatment?
    Last edited by Lauri; 10-13-2012 at 11:58 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,595

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauri View Post
    But back to the essential oils: When ordering off the internet, who knows of a reasonable, reputable place where the purity is not in question.
    I have been pleased with this company:
    http://www.100pureessentialoils.com/
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,806

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    Thanks Radar, Looks like I'll be shopping for oils today after my chores!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    419

    Default Re: Drawback of using essential oils?

    Beautiful setup Lauri.That would be worth doing even if the bees got no benefit.

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