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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was watching "Ghosts in the Hive" on YouTube and it got me thinking. http://youtu.be/fE4emUMyOWs At about the 33 minute mark, Ricarda Kather demonstrates how the Varroa mite uses a passive transfer of oils from a lipid layer on bees to itself in order to basically make itself invisible in the hive. This immediately brought to mind a thread on B.S. by Glock on the use of mineral oil and how it works for a time but then seems to diminish in effectiveness after multiple uses. http://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...ted-fogging-today&highlight=Glock+mineral+oil

Hypothesis:
I'm thinking that when mineral oil (MO) is fogged into a hive it doesn't cause mites to drop off because it's slippery, but that it is absorbed passively into the carapace of the mite, thus making it visible to the bees. Once the (MO) dissipates any mites that are not locked down on a bee are discovered and removed by grooming. This may explain why it doesn't give 100% kill rates like an insecticide because only those mites which are between hosts or not clinging on well enough are dislodged from their hosts.
So why does it lose it's effectiveness? It could be that the bees become habituated to the (MO) odor and no longer consider the mite a menace but just another particle in the hive.
Solution:
Develop a regimen of different oils to fog in rotation. At least 4 different oils, 1 application of only 1 type of oil per week, for 4 weeks. As an example:
1st week (MO)
2nd week Canola oil
3rd week Saffron oil
4th week Corn oil
Not having experience I don't know if the vegetable oils will work it is just an example. There must be other oils out there that can be fogged and are food grade or nontoxic. By changing the frequency of oils it will reduce the incidence of habituation by the bees and thus promote hygienic behavior and make detection more likely while the mite is changing hosts. Also any new brood hatching out will not be exposed as often or only once to any given oil if fogging is done twice per year thus making it more likely for nurse bees to detect mites. Even if a mite does manage to make it into a cell it could be detected because it will carry the oil odor it absorbed before entering the cell. This will permit the bees to remove it from the cell or dispatch it when it emerges with the new bee preventing it from breeding again. The mites will most likely not or seldom develop resistance because the method they use for cloaking is passive.

I'm sure there are holes in my hypothesis you could drive a truck through, but I thought I would put it out there for discussion in case someone can elaborate on it and help us be rid of the Varroa scourge.
Colino
 

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Lots of speculation there. How about giving it a try and reporting your results? Be sure to do frequent good mite counts so we can determine whether it is working. I am looking forward to seeing the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Any updates or additional info?
Lots of speculation there. How about giving it a try and reporting your results? Be sure to do frequent good mite counts so we can determine whether it is working. I am looking forward to seeing the results.
I haven't been able to get the trial run organized yet. When I get up to my planned 10 hives next year I'll start experimenting with it.

I have wondered if adding any of the essential oils would help.
I would first like to try just the different oils alone to judge the effectiveness of the treatment.
 

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If you are gonna fog with something why not use something like Oxalic acid? Just vaporize Oxalic, something that we know works for sure. I know it take a little bit more time to vaporize v/s using the fogger and Mineral oil. But, we know Oxalic will kill 90+% of the Phoretic mites.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you are gonna fog with something why not use something like Oxalic acid? Just vaporize Oxalic, something that we know works for sure. I know it take a little bit more time to vaporize v/s using the fogger and Mineral oil. But, we know Oxalic will kill 90+% of the Phoretic mites.
I know OA works I use it myself, I was just thinking that maybe it would be a way for those purists who want to use more natural treatments in their hives. Also it's the carapace of the Varroa that absorbs the smell of the hive so they become invisible, what if there was some type of oil that would be permanently absorbed by the Varroa and binds with them making the mite permanently visible?
Colino
 

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There have been experiments trying to find ways of confusing the mites timing sense of proper stage of larvae to jump in with. There are peheremones also that trigger female mite ovulation. Some of these signals must be quite subtle. I would think if there was any quick and dirty way of tricking the mites someone would have been onto it by now. If the basic premise of your hypothesis is correct, rotation of different oils might be of benefit. I would not embrace fogging with any oil as I have worked in oil aerosol evironments and dont like what it does to my lungs. No oil breathed is a health tonic.
 

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Interesting concept and thread comments, but I have to make the following statement: My paternal grandfather was born in Northern Italy and my bees are Italian so we can only recommend Extra Virgin Olive Oil. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There have been experiments trying to find ways of confusing the mites timing sense of proper stage of larvae to jump in with. There are peheremones also that trigger female mite ovulation. Some of these signals must be quite subtle. I would think if there was any quick and dirty way of tricking the mites someone would have been onto it by now. If the basic premise of your hypothesis is correct, rotation of different oils might be of benefit. I would not embrace fogging with any oil as I have worked in oil aerosol evironments and dont like what it does to my lungs. No oil breathed is a health tonic.
What I'm proposing is not really trying to trick the mites, I'm proposing that by making the mites visible to the bees it may stimulate bee hygienic behavior.
Colino
 

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What I'm proposing is not really trying to trick the mites, I'm proposing that by making the mites visible to the bees it may stimulate bee hygienic behavior.
Colino
Putting mites off their game seems like trickery to me but I am on your side!
 

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Here's a link to a 4 year study on the use of mineral oil treatments via fogging and otherwise:

http://www.beekeeping.com/articles/us/mineral_oil.htm

This study was conducted by a vet and consisted of using mineral oil in a fogger, on wax paper, and a couple of others. The conclusion was that mineral oil treatments were effective at managing the mite populations, and in some cases eliminating small populations of them as well.


Best of luck.
 

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Not having experience I don't know if the vegetable oils will work it is just an example. There must be other oils out there that can be fogged and are food grade or nontoxic.
Before getting too far, you may want to first test other oils in your fogger to make sure they will work properly. Some oils may end up turning your fogger into a flame thrower.

You may have already done this, if so, disregard.
 

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I know OA works I use it myself, I was just thinking that maybe it would be a way for those purists who want to use more natural treatments in their hives.
Huh? More natural than oxalic acid? OA is ALREADY in the hives and is naturally occurring..........
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Huh? More natural than oxalic acid? OA is ALREADY in the hives and is naturally occurring..........
Yes it is but some believe that it is a toxin, which it is if taken in high enough doses. For an example go munch down on a few rhubarb leaves.
Colino
 

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Yes it is but some believe that it is a toxin, which it is if taken in high enough doses. For an example go munch down on a few rhubarb leaves.
Colino
Many, many substances that when used correctly are benign however when taking in high enough doses are detrimental. You dump a ton of powered sugar on hive you'll kill it, so I don't understand your statement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Many, many substances that when used correctly are benign however when taking in high enough doses are detrimental. You dump a ton of powered sugar on hive you'll kill it, so I don't understand your statement.
Notice in the original quote I said "Purists" they have a different standard than you or I. Anyway this is all off topic, I'm looking for a way to make mites visible to the bees, read the original post. If the carapace absorbs the odor of the hive can we find a substance that is absorbed by the mite carapace and then binds with it so the mites become permanently visible? If such a substance exists it would be another tool in our arsenal to combat the Varroa scourge. Anybody out there with chemistry background know of such a compound? If you do you could market it and give us kick starter pricing.:)
Colino
 
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