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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
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    792

    Default Would agricultural sulfur kill bees?

    Preface: This may be absurd, but hang in there.

    Just wondering here, I don't have any dead bees. I know AG grade sulfur (90%) is used to kill Northern Fowl mites in commercial hen houses. Would the sulfur kill bees, because I know it will kill mites graveyard dead. Just trying to think outside the box on the Varroa mites.
    Last edited by Brad Bee; 04-19-2013 at 07:34 AM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    berkshire county MA
    Posts
    1,472

    Default Re: Would agricultural sulfur kill bees?

    I did find a site that lists sulfu ras one of the oldest known pesticides, and tells you how to kill bees using sulfur in a smoker. It also said mites could be killed using small doses, but who knows how much or what other effects it would have. then there's the question of legality.

    http://www.ehow.com/how_8724734_kill...es-sulfur.html

    this second link is to a study. It's a long read, but you may find it useful
    http://www.reeis.usda.gov/web/crispr...of-varroa.html
    Last edited by berkshire bee; 04-19-2013 at 08:45 AM. Reason: added links

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Brookshire, Texas
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Would agricultural sulfur kill bees?

    I am only familiar with powdered sulphur in agricultural/nursery use as I have been in the nursery/farming business for 40+ years. Sulphur in combination with moisture and soil bacteria forms sulphuric acid. How fast the acid forms is extremely variable and sometimes unpredictable. Sulphur used in burners to control mildew in greenhouse roses has been used for years. I do not think it would be safe to use around bees because the amounts to use and the unpredictability of how it would react make it a huge guessing game that I would not want to subject my hives too.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,238

    Default Re: Would agricultural sulfur kill bees?

    Sulfur smoke is deadly to bees. I would be careful.

    You would have to find out how many ppm you need to kill mites and bees to see if it is even feasible. Then you would need an application method that would keep below the bee threshold. Then you still might not know if there are any bad long term effects.

    With all the unusual things that are used on mites (oxalic acid, power sugar, thyme, other EOs, mineral oil, vinegar, nicotine and all the pesticides...) I am sure sulfur has been tried, and if it was any good someone somewhere would be using it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,014

    Default Re: Would agricultural sulfur kill bees?

    If you intend to take some honey from them, then don't let that stuff near your hive.

    As far as mites go, read Randy Oliver's article on Integrated Pest Management (IPM). His website is www.scientificbeekeeping.com His entire website is worth reading several times over. He does this on his own dime and his own time, so please contribute to keep this awesome dude online!

    I do like how you are "thinking outside the box" on mites! Keep at it

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: Would agricultural sulfur kill bees?

    It might be worth a try - dusting with dry powdered sulfer, not burning, heating or wetting it I think. That is if it hasn't already been tried before. You might kill a hive, but you might not. According to Wikipedia it is an acaricide (Mitacide) and not really an insecticide. Also pure elemental sulfer is nontoxic to humans. Really sounds like just what you want i think. You might be on to something. It might not work at all but it sure sounds worth trying to me. Might do it just like powdered sugar or even mix some with powdered sugar.

    Wetable sulfer - used as a fungicide - might behave completely different than pharmasutical sulfer though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
    Posts
    792

    Default Re: Would agricultural sulfur kill bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    I do like how you are "thinking outside the box" on mites! Keep at it
    I generally stay "outside the box" sometimes I forget where it is. LOL

    I have been a beek for a whole week now. I don't intend to try this, especially on a whole hive. I don't have any bees to spare for research!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: Would agricultural sulfur kill bees?

    It's still a good question.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    1,014

    Default Re: Would agricultural sulfur kill bees?

    Agree, DLF, it is indeed a god question.

    Brad - I generally don't use the phrase too often, because it ass-u-mes that there is a box in the first place. In beekeeping, the goal is a lot of boxes filled with happy bees and excess honey and pollen, or, for some of us the goal is a lot of bottles of mead.

    My point was entirely missed if you did not check out www.scientificbeekeeping.com. The video on the life cycle of the varroa mite is fascinating, and leads us in a lot of directions to consider how to deal with these very significant little pests. The articles on IPM are very helpful.

    Even the "magic bullet" thinking (sulfur as an acaricide) that is often questioned nowadays may prove very helpful if done right. Like I said, please keep it up.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: Would agricultural sulfur kill bees?

    Here's an idea. Do a normal sugar roll to asses mite load, and at the same time do a sulfer roll. Then asses and compare the effects on both bees and mites in both tests. Might even confine both groups of bees for a couple days observation. Only cost a couple of hundred bees.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,576

    Default Re: Would agricultural sulfur kill bees?

    Before you get too far into the sulfur dusting test, you may want to read this study:
    http://www.pakentomol.com/Downloads/Issues/2008-2/4.pdf

    I did post this link yesterday in the other sulfur thread started by Brad Bee in the Diseases and Pests forum.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: Would agricultural sulfur kill bees?

    Thanks Rader - that paper seems to indicate that sulfer dusting actually is effective - even if not the most effective. Still a tool worth having. I would imagine that you could do it at about any temperature. Add safe for people, cheap, and locally available.

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