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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    296

    Default what treatments are considered organic?

    Hi:
    What treatments are considered organic? Mineral oil? Oxalic acid? Thymol? Let me know your thoughts. I did not think Oxalic acid was but a beekeeper I know said it is natural since it is found in food and even honey. Your thoughts?
    Thanks! Sally

  2. #2

    Default Re: what treatments are considered organic?

    Now you've done it Sally. You are about to witness a virtual beekeeper's brawl
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  3. #3

    Default Re: what treatments are considered organic?

    Organic is a tricky word.
    Some compounds used to treat for varroa occur in nature. Thymol, oxalic acid, formic acid and probably the hop concentrate in hopguard. None, to my knowledge occur naturally in the concentrations used to treat for mites.
    The good thing about them is that they don’t contaminate the comb like many of the synthetics. Every one is disruptive to the bees at some level. Beekeepers who choose to treat, like to believe that the negatives are offset by the results. I fit into this group.
    You can check the Certified Naturally Grown website to see what compounds they allow…it still doesn’t answer your initial question.
    You can check OMRI (I believe they are the group that approves compounds for Certified Organic) and see what/if they allow.
    I expect that you will get a long list of conflicting opinions on this.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    waynesboro va USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: what treatments are considered organic?

    when i hear organic i think of something occuring in nature and breaks down in a reasonable amount of time

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,703

    Default Re: what treatments are considered organic?

    Sally, "organic" is a very tricky word when applied to bees. While the beekeeper has excellent control over what is applied in the hive, there is no way to control what the bees get into outside the hive and outside your property. Unless you have thousands of acres surrounding your apiary that all meet an "organic" standard of some sort, how can your bees be foraging organically?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: what treatments are considered organic?

    Quote Originally Posted by SallyD View Post
    Hi:
    What treatments are considered organic? Mineral oil? Oxalic acid? Thymol? Let me know your thoughts. I did not think Oxalic acid was but a beekeeper I know said it is natural since it is found in food and even honey. Your thoughts?
    Thanks! Sally
    There are several views and I will attempt to summarize them:

    The organic standard in the US is now controlled by USDA - each certifying agency makes their own determination about what organic is in relation to honey based on other products they certify because there is no organic standard for honey. Organic standards look at what the beekeeper uses in the hives, and what the bees could encounter within their foraging area. So you can add nothing but if you have a neighbor who uses weed and feed on their lawn, no organic for you. (As for compounds that can be used in a hive and or food in general, there are lists)

    As I recall from reading several years ago, most naturally occurring substances are ok, but not synthetic reproductions of them.

    There is CNG or Certified Naturally Grown. This standard is more concerned with what the beekeeper does to the hive than what the bees might encounter outside the hive. Some miticides like formic acid are allowed as the bees transition to not needing a miticide (an assumption?!) and only after the need is demonstrated per hive by IPM practices.

    The third "standard" if you will is that nothing goes in the hive that the bees don't bring.

    The issue in honey as food is what kind of residues from the various treatments remain in the food and are there potential human health consequences to them. So some things like I believe Mineral Oil are generally regarded as safe. Oxalic Acid is known to be toxic in higher concentrations and in any event is not approved for use as a miticide by the EPA in the US. The details of Thymol are unknown to me but I seem to recall that most Thymol is synthetic recreations of thymol and not the naturally occurring stuff. There are some who will argue that there is no difference between the man made stuff and the naturally occurring stuff and just as many who will disagree. It makes a difference in complying with some standards.

    If the jist of your question is what non chemical substances (and as everything is made up of chemicals let's just drop the non-chemical condition) are ok (safe) to use in my bee hive where only me and my family will be consuming the honey, that is yet a different question, one which is the subject of ongoing debates, and one which the special rules of this forum prevent answering.
    Last edited by Andrew Dewey; 01-06-2013 at 09:27 AM.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: what treatments are considered organic?

    The USDA still has no standard. Any treatment disrupts the balance of the hive.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoursim...m#notreatments
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmorethan.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    296

    Default Re: what treatments are considered organic?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Now you've done it Sally. You are about to witness a virtual beekeeper's brawl
    Ooooops...don't want to do that

    My concerns are with using treatments and the mites building up resistance to these treatments and just trying to be more natural. I understand you cannot prevent unnatural substances from entering your hive. I am sure almost everyone around me uses some some type of weed killer on their lawn. I figure I can at least control what goes into my hive. Thank you all who chimed in with your opinions. So much to learn in this hobby.....
    Last edited by SallyD; 01-06-2013 at 12:20 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Boone County, IN, USA
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: what treatments are considered organic?

    Here's a resource http://www.naturallygrown.org

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