How long to use menthol
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  1. #1
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    Nov 2006
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    Tulsa, OK
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    Default How long to use menthol

    I am just starting up, and at least one -- maybe both -- of my hives have tracheal mite symptoms (walking bees and k-wings). The local mentors suggested that I use menthol on the bottom boards, which I have done. They said to put it on the bottom boards, since highs could exceed 80 degrees. I put that on last Wednesday (its Monday now) and I have noticed much fewer walking bees already. I suppose I could have Nosema, and I also treated with Fumigillin.

    I can't imagine that the bees like this stuff. How long do I need to keep it on the hives?

    Thanks.

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  3. #2
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    Jul 2005
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    I use it for a minimum of three weeks, but 42 days would be better. It tends to make the bees grouchy and you have to make sure that the temperatures are appropriate.

  4. #3
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    Feb 2006
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    A Maine beek told us he puts one ounce of menthol in his smoker, puts an entrance reducer on, fills the hive with smoke and then removes the reducer. They all pour out screaming, coughing and rubbing their eyes (and are very grouchy as a result) but it keeps the tracheal mites under control. This is done in the fall after the honey supers are off. His bees overwinter beautifully.

  5. #4
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    Jun 2006
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    Larkspur, Colorado
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    I only use menthol from late fall into early spring. I use the paper towel method, saturated with canola and menthol. I change the towels out every 2 weeks or so. You know when to stop in the spring when you see bits and pieces outside the hive .

    Steve
    Steven Lechner<br />[email protected]<br />303.657.5360

  6. #5
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    Default

    I'm doing it now because I think I have an acute case of t-mites. However, I was not sure how long to leave it on. How do you arrive at three weeks to 42 days? (Just curious).

    Thanks for the help.

  7. #6
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    Default

    The figure is based on a minimum worker brood cycle length of 21 days, with two such cycles being 42 days. Appearently, some of the people on this website treat much longer with no ill effect. Also, you might consider requeening with Buckfast or Russian stock, which are highly resistant to trach mites.

  8. #7
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    Default Another thought

    The kicker is that I got Russian queens so I would not have T-mites. They are open-mated, so maybe the Drone is the problem. Also, I have two hives, and one queen is fairly light and the other is black (and is definitely not an Italian). Funny thing is, it is the hive with the dark queen that's got the problem.

    Of course, I also do not know for certain that this is a T-mite problem. However, I checked one of the walking bees guts, and it was not white or swollen, so I do not think it is Nosema. Also, within a week of putting the menthol in the hives, no more walking bees. So I think this is T-mites.

    Another thought is this -- what if Russian bees are T-mite resistant because even slightly infected bees leave the hive? In other words, maybe they eliminate the problem by an automatic quarantine, and the menthot treatment was unnecessary. Anybody know about that?

  9. #8
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    Mar 2006
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    Heavener Oklahoma
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    Default t-mites

    mites can only enter into the bee from day 1 through day 5 which by then the thorax becomes to hard for the might to bore a hole into the thorax of the bee

  10. #9
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    No, the Russian bees are resistant to infection, meaning even house bees shouldn't get tracheal mites. If you have confirmed tracheal mites as the source of your problem, then I really doubt that your bees are more than 50% USDA Russians, and the other 50% isn't resistant at all. Ask your breeder 1) where their breeding stock comes from and 2) if he or she checks for mites with 88% lactic acid and a microscope exam.

  11. #10
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    Default resistance

    Resistance does not mean they can't get the t-mites They just don't get them near as bad.

  12. #11
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    Default More thoughts and questions

    My bees are not pure Russian, and they were not adverstised to be pure. They are open-mated bees, and neither parent is necessarily pure Russian. Although the genetics should be russian/nwc/feral bees and they should be mite resistant.

    However, short of artificial insemination, I don't see how any queen breeder could be expected to guarantee that any particular queen will have any particular trait. The best they could hope to do is breed most of the queens to be resistant. Maybe I just got a dud, or maybe some of the bees that came with this nuc are not hers or maybe she just needs some time.

    Also, if you get a nuc and it has a disease issue or otherwise is just not thriving, how long should you wait to requeen? How long is enough to give it a chance to straighten out?

    Thanks for the help. Also, good to run into another Okie on here.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ndvan View Post
    However, short of artificial insemination, I don't see how any queen breeder could be expected to guarantee that any particular queen will have any particular trait. The best they could hope to do is breed most of the queens to be resistant. Maybe I just got a dud, or maybe some of the bees that came with this nuc are not hers or maybe she just needs some time.
    Velbert is correct about the nature of resistance, but the trait is dominent and very common in both Russians and NWC's. This means that if the queen is grafted from a cross of the two strains and then open mated (like velbert's queens), then all of the workers should show some resistance to tracheal mites. As to your second question, its very much a judgement call on how long it takes for a queen to sort things out. Undersome circumstances a full year seems reasonable, under others a single brood cycle should be enough.

  14. #13
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    Default treatment

    A few years back I had a nuc in a 10 frame box but it only had 5 built and a couple foundation for 4 mounts it just stayed at a four frame size didn't even attempt to build the foundation, The queen had a great brood pattern but they just didn't get any bigger in size. Didn't notice any thing the really would be wrong no crawling bees on the ground and very very few with K wing no more than any other nuc. So about the 1 st of August It was time for my routine treatment of v-t Mite. So I put the menthol on the bottom board about 3 days later I was in the yard in the evening that little nuc was just a roar it was catching the hot evening sun and when I raised the lid the fumes about took your breath away and the whole 50 gram bag had melted on the bottom board. About 3 week later it started doing a lot better it expanded about 2 more frames and sealed some honey on every frame. went into winter nice and healthy.

  15. #14
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    Default

    You can test for T-mites with a x10 magnifier. Take off the head and the first ring of the thorax, and check whether the two white tubes you can see are white or not. If they're discoloured, the bee has tracheal. Check a dozen and you'll have a good idea what's going on.
    [email protected]
    Birmingham UK

  16. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Default

    You could always send a sample of bees to the Beltsville Bee Lab.

    As for how long to leave the menthol on, I would follow the label instructions. Here's the label for Mite-A-thol.

  17. #16
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    Jun 2005
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    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
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    Default

    I use Mite Away II which is formic acid and will treat both Varroa and Tracheal mites. The treatment is 21 days for both. Formic acid has been use in Europe and Canada for at least 20 years with no resistance and dose not contaminate comb. It was approved for use in the US in 2005.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  18. #17
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    Aug 2002
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    Evansville, IN, USA
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    Default

    >How long do I need to keep it on the hives?

    Menthol, like all other chemicals should be used PER LABEL.

    Or "10 to 12 wks (70 to 84 days) after initial treatment remove all Mite-A-Thol packets from hive. Remove all Mite-A-Thol packets from hive at least 1 month before beginning of surplus honey flow to prevent contamination of marketable honey [Package Directions, No date].

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