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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hear people talk all the time about using essential oils for their bees, in treating them and to benefit bee health, yet I never really hear how these oils work. I mean that specifically I don't hear the physical action and efficacy of a therapeutic treatment using essential oils. How do they work, and has anyone tested these soft treatments in any scientific manner? I'm getting the impression that using essential oils soothes the beekeeper more in making it appear that they are actually doing something for their bees without causing noticeable harm.

Please, what actual benefits do essential oil soft treatments have, preferably without anecdotal generalizations?

Just to be clear I am a TF "Bond" beekeeper, hence my bias.

Tyson
 

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Difficult to answer as most medicines are derived from plant, In the UK there are lots of beekeepers who use thymolated syrup for winter feed to prevent nosema, thymol is made from Thyme, personally I think it is important for bees to collect pollen and nectar from diverse foraging, there are over 300 wild plants, trees and flowers and there are some areas of the world where these plants have been eradicated to make way for intense farming leaving slim pickings for our bees, It is important for local communities and councils to get involved in saving our pollinators and provide diverse flower beds and meadows.
 

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Tyson - Since you are treatment free, why do you care about the details of how a particular treatment works (or does not work, whatever the case may be)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Tyson - Since you are treatment free, why do you care about the details of how a particular treatment works (or does not work, whatever the case may be)?
Because I'm intellectually curious. Also, "soft" TF is considered to be "sort of" TF, so for me it's a matter of understanding what differences exist within the TF community. I also study treatments and their efficacy, even though I am doubtful of most of it, just as I am of essential oil therapies. To be TF and "Bond" doesn't mean being thick-headed and incurious.

Tyson
 

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I've never done a side by side comparison.... But I can tell you that the bees will fly over syrup to get the syrup with oils in it...

I can put a jar of feed on a hive and they will empty it in a few days... With the oils, it's emptied almost over night.

So, if your trying to feed them up, it's worth the effort.

What does "Bond" mean?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What does "Bond" mean?
Bond Beekeeping, or "To Live and Let Die". I don't treat for varroa or anything else, most of my manipulations deal with space management and fostering disease tolerance and hygienic behavior. Bees that fail at being hygienic and vigorous are allowed to do so and be replaced with colonies that demonstrate survival.

I'm a live bee remover by trade which means I have limitless access to feral bee colonies. Most do rather well without treatments although their commercial potential is doubtful at best.

Tyson
 

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"Intellectually curious" and "doubtful of most of it" seems mutually exclusive, to me.

Are you sure you aren't here just to grind away on a personal agenda?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
"Intellectually curious" and "doubtful of most of it" seems mutually exclusive, to me.

Are you sure you aren't here just to grind on a personal agenda?
So by your definition being intellectually curious means being wholly receptive of accepted wisdom? Critical thinking requires being capable of challenging even one's own bias', even if the outcome changes that bias. I read about treatments all the time and still they haven't seemed any more a silver bullet than TF is, either one is merely a personal choice.

As far as personal agendas, are you saying that never happens in this forum? ;) No, my issue is that I hear essential oils talked about as if they are a proven benefit to bees yet I just never hear how, and for someone that enjoys knowing why, I thought I'd ask people that believe in or have some evidence of their efficacy.

Tyson
 

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Please, what actual benefits do essential oil soft treatments have, preferably without anecdotal generalizations?

Just to be clear I am a TF "Bond" beekeeper, hence my bias.

Tyson
Here is a link from UWV about their ongoing studies using essential oils to treat varroa, so you can see their usage is more than merely palliative.

HTH

Rusty
 

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"I'm a live bee remover by trade which means I have limitless access to feral bee colonies. Most do rather well without treatments although their commercial potential is doubtful at best." Tyson Kaiser.

Tyson you say "most", I am curious about those that are not doing well, how so? Also, are you called to remove Dead Outs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is a link from UWV about their ongoing studies using essential oils to treat varroa, so you can see their usage is more than merely palliative.
From the study you linked, in reference to essential oils used in fed syrups: "places the essential oils into the food chain and prevents oviposition by female mites or retards the development of immature mites in capped larval/pupal cells."
Seems incomplete, I'd be interested in how they came to this conclusion.
"The probable mechanism is interference with enzymes in the complex gestation of the oocyte and embryo-larva of the varroa mite."
Yes, incomplete.
"Research needs to be conducted to verify the presence of the essential oils in bee larvae and ultimately, in the female varroa mites."
So they have nothing to indicate that essential oils in fed syrups are reaching the varroa mite at all.
"Impaired reproduction is not observed when canola oil, mineral oil, or shortening", "The mites that directly contact these materials rapidly die"
So grease patties could effect phoretic mites by simply coating the bees in a thin layer of grease, inhibiting their life cycle. It is the authors' belief that essential oils are caustic and acting as volatile oils, which they are, and almost any essential oil could fill this role.

I didn't see any evidence that essential oil treatments in this study reduced varroa loads, and in fact the author's state that "We have found that colonies, heavily infested with varroa mites in August, September and October, probably can not be saved." It seems that this use of essential oils mimics the use of oxalic acid in burning phoretic mites and interrupting the non-breeding phase.

I'm still pretty skeptical.

Tyson
 

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I wonder if there are any recent reports on the essential oils? That study was last updated in 1996. :)
 

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I would imagine that if the definitive proof that essential oils will safely prevent or eliminate varroa from a hive that Tyson seeks existed, people would be all over it and we wouldn't have a varroa problem.
 

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"Intellectually curious" and "doubtful of most of it" seems mutually exclusive, to me.

Are you sure you aren't here just to grind away on a personal agenda?
If applied rigorously, this is a wordy way of saying "scientific." Good scientists are supposed to remain skeptical (even of their own hypotheses) until they are adequately proven.

On the way home from bee class tonight, my wife, a Master Gardener recently indoctrinated into using only science-based methods, gave me a mini-lecture on the subject, and said we should practice science-based beekeeping. We call this "preaching to the choir." I've been looking at the actual science behind powdered sugar treatments for varroa, and there actually are some hard scientific papers on it. I also spot a few holes where I might be able to add a hard scientific paper of my own, or at least replicate the methods used in the papers.

I'm also intellectually curious about this, but inclined to see if any hard papers exist on the subject. I suggest you do what I do, bang on the internet and see if you can find any actual papers or theses (not blogs, speculation, or forum chat) on the subject. There is a good chance you will. Then read it. What I do know is that we have diverse forage available, some of which most certainly has some pharmacologically active plant oils in it (mountain mint, for one) and I'm wondering to what degree bees self-medicate. I know they're terribly fond of garlic chives at one nearby garden where both Master Gardeners and Master Beekeepers work.
 

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Phoebee - good point, although I would say there is an important distinction between "skeptical" and "doubtful." I think Tyson may fail the " . . . remain skeptical, even of their own hypothesis until they are adquately proven . . ." part.

Tyson - Can you point to any scientific studies that demonstrate that the Bond Method safely prevents or eliminates varroa from a hive?

And, allowing the entire hive to die to eliminate the varroa doesn't count as safely preventing or eliminating varroa from the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I would imagine that if the definitive proof that essential oils will safely prevent or eliminate varroa from a hive that Tyson seeks existed, people would be all over it and we wouldn't have a varroa problem.
If after three attempts you still have nothing valuable to add, it's safe to assume that "we're done".

Tyson
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Tyson - Can you point to any scientific studies that demonstrate that the Bond Method safely prevents or eliminates varroa from a hive?

And, allowing the entire hive to die to eliminate the varroa doesn't count as "safely prevents or eliminate varroa."
I never said anything about "safely prevents and eliminate varroa", you're quoting yourself.

The point of Bond beekeeping isn't to eliminate or prevent varroa either, it's to tolerate it. Since you have taken it upon yourself to be the thread troll, at least take the time to understand what has been written so you don't come off like you're making things up.

Tyson
 

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"Tolerate varroa" sounds ambiguous, can you please define it?

Also, under your definition, can you point to any papers that prove the Bond Method causes bees to tolerate varroa?
 
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