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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nelson, BC Canada
    Posts
    24

    Default Essential oils in winter - causing hive exodus?

    Hi, I just added some essential oils to my syrup (for the first time). I am overwintering a hive inside basement. The bees seem much more active than ever. They are flying out the tube - and most, if not all, are perishing in the cold air and snow. Is this just a coincidence that there is an exodus when the oil is fed? Should I remove the oil syrup and go back to regular syrup?

    Thanks!
    michael

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,133

    Default Re: Essential oils in winter - causing hive exodus?

    Did you make the solution too strong? Essential oils in a way are pesticides. Bees are insects (some consider pests). If you do something and a reaction that follows doesn't look good I would stop if you can. Get your question answered but don't wait for the answer while your bees are dying.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland. U.S.A.
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Essential oils in winter - causing hive exodus?

    is your basement heated ?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada, North of the 50th Parallel
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Essential oils in winter - causing hive exodus?

    What is the temperature of the basement? If it is too warm, the bees will think its summer and fly out the tube and perish. Could be that it has nothing at all to do with the essential oils.
    Happiness comes from within

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Essential oils in winter - causing hive exodus?

    The bees are confused!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
    Posts
    600

    Default Re: Essential oils in winter - causing hive exodus?

    Basement is gonna be warmer then outside and you should only be adding no more then 5 drops to a gallon of syrup.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Essential oils in winter - causing hive exodus?

    Bees will fly if fed liquid.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nelson, BC Canada
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Essential oils in winter - causing hive exodus?

    Thanks for the responses. My basement stays between 50-60degrees. That might be too warm, but it's unheated - so it always stays in the 50-60 range.

    I followed the online recipe to make a concentrate, 2 cups water, 2 cups sugar, 1/16th teaspoon lecithin, and 15 drops of wintergreen oil. Once this concentrate was finished, I added it to my feeder at 1:8 ratio (concentrate to syrup).

    I pulled the feeder off, and the bees stopped the exodus.

    When I feed just plain 1:1 syrup with no oil, I do get some bees flying out, but only a handful per day. I do see dozens of dead ones outside near the window - as they have accumulated since November.

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