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So by accident I'd found people claiming that thyme oil can be used to treat varroa instead of using oxalic acid.

I was skeptical at first, because I know a lot of people in real life apart from bees that just say anything and talk big, to make themselves look good. And they will be spouting off nonsense non-stop especially to relatives.

Seeing this kind of behavior a lot makes me want to ask how real thyme oil treating is? Can people here verify it works?

I am hopeful it does. I don't mind oxalic acid treatments. But the idea that its something that I can't make myself or grow myself sometimes worries me. I don't like to be in the power of others when its things I can do myself.

So I'm curious what you all might say about the thyme oil treatment methods? Is it used the same times of year as oxalic acid? Or could it be used more? (Or how different?)

Although, one issue also might be that essential oils might not be uniform in how people make them (?) I don't know if they all have the same solution standard of the percent of product in them (?).

And at first I didn't want to consider this, but people do use basil to curb insect problems. And so I thought basil and thyme might not be so different. So why not ask. (It makes me wonder if basil can be used for bees also.)
 

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There is a commercial product in the USA called apiguard which is thymol and in Europe I think it’s called Thymovar I’ve never used either of these but they are a popular choice, especially for those that want a treatment based on a natural product
 

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Thymol , one of the constituents of the thyme oil is used, you have to be careful with dosage or it can kill bees and a queen, there are a number of homemade recipes that have been used and there are commercial products as massbee mentioned. I can tell you from experience that its MORE volatile than Oxalic and can "clear out" your lungs just as much as Oxalic acid, this summer I used a homemade recipe that made my bees beard as much as formic acid did on another colony of mine that I treated concurrently. Thymol treatments of the correct dose have shown to be effective, thyme oil has not to my knowledge - just as Oxalic acid has been shown to kill mites but spinach or rhubarb juice has not.
I do use Thymol in my syrup and that syrup also goes in my pollen supplement, so my bees ingest a lot of thymol outside of the honey flow, I have no idea if this has an effect on mites but there are some studies that show that it gets into the brood food. I use it to keep my feed from spoiling.
 

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Thyme oil is not a very precise description. Any oil with some non specific amount of dissolved thyme crystals could fill that description. The method for making a mixture of know effectiveness is laid out in the link below.

Thymol crystals are available online. I have purchased from New Directions Aromatics and they have online stores both US and Canada. Straight forward to deal with. I played with this a bit but that is when I jumped onto Oxalic Acid vaporizations and have not looked back.

Link>
 

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Thymol, as used in mite control formulations is not a "natural product". Thymol is a common industrial precursor, which can be purchased as crystals in bulk quantities. Its synthesis is well described. Two products, Apiguard and ApiLife Var, are frequently sold in the US.

In California, the "Apiguard" gel (pure thymol in a thick jelly) is registered. ApiLife Var is not registered in Ca, however it is registered in other states and available in catalogs. ApiLife Var is a wafer that looks a bit like a granola bar. PLEASE Note that "ApiLife Var" is different product than ApiVar --- the Amitraz strip).

In practice, Apiguard has an issue with flashy overdose temperature sensitivity in common summer ambient temperature ranges (as in Formic). By reports, ApiLife Var is compounded with eucalyptol, menthol, and camphor, and this has the effect of broadening the temperature operating temperatures.

In my use of Apiguard, one expects killed brood to appear on the entrance board. This indicates that the compound is working. Of course, queens can be killed, and brood rearing can catastrophically shut down. Thymol (similar to Formic) has the advantage of controlling tracheal mites, though tracheal mites have largely subsided as an issue in the US.

Apiguard works much more safely when a 1 inch shim is installed above the brood to provide some "headroom" to the evaporation. Apiguard (and the other thymol products) will contaminate honey with a "Listerine" taste if used with honey supers.

My pro queen-rearing buddy experimented extensively with Thymol (including homebrew mixes) and discarded it because of the catastrophic and difficult to predict queen losses that accompanied fumigating with it at summer temperatures.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I guess I wanted to follow up also with this in reply;

Thanks for all the comments to this post.

And also, is it the prevailing educated guess/hypothesis that thymol oil would have more favorable result in promoting strong bees and weak bees more than oxalic acid treatments? (And would it be much of a difference?)
 

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I don't think Oxalic accid and thymol can be compared.

Thymol and Oxalic acid treatments differ vastly in how to apply them. Oxalic acid treatment is one time treatment and it only works if the bees don't have capped brood as the acid will not be able to get through the wax cappings. So you need a way to get the bees out of brood. Caging the queen is a way. Total removal of all frames with brood another - all methods have their pro and cons.

Thymol needs to be in the hive for quite some time. 4 weeks according to the Apilife Var package, 6 weeks according to the local bee institutes over here. The idea is that you get all mites at one point as the thymol is in the hive for longer than an entire brood cycle.
 

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I don't think Oxalic accid and thymol can be compared.

Thymol and Oxalic acid treatments differ vastly in how to apply them. Oxalic acid treatment is one time treatment and it only works if the bees don't have capped brood as the acid will not be able to get through the wax cappings. So you need a way to get the bees out of brood. Caging the queen is a way. Total removal of all frames with brood another - all methods have their pro and cons.

Thymol needs to be in the hive for quite some time. 4 weeks according to the Apilife Var package, 6 weeks according to the local bee institutes over here. The idea is that you get all mites at one point as the thymol is in the hive for longer than an entire brood cycle.
Thymol and oxalic acid can be compared if you consider that both only kill phoretic mites, however the thymol treatments must remain in the hive for 14 days and then shortly thereafter a second treatment is required so you are looking at around a 30 day treatment with a bee irritant in the hive for a long period of time with losses of bees and brood at least but it does kill mites. Oxalic acid on the other hand kills phoretic mites whenever it is applied and so treatments every 3 to 4 days for as long as you wish but generally 3 weeks is sufficient to bring mite loads under control. Oxalic acid vapor aplications so many times is labor intensive so is not really considered by commercial keepers unless colonies are brood free, however most small keepers have no problem. The oxaic acid vapor is also an irritant for around 5 minutes after treatment and colonies are back to normal shortly after the crystals have settled. The only treatment that is supposed to kill mites in the brood is one of the formic acid treatments but yet takes around 7 days of irritating bees, killing bees and brood and occasional queens to bring mites under control.
 

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apiguard treat 2 times at 10 day's works excellent, never had any brood hauled out except when I put it between brood chambers that had brood between them when the boxes were split. Been using it since the first year it came out, still just as effective as the day approved. You can use it when it's to hot for formic, just decrease the amount you put on. Oav works fine, the more hives, the more work, since we have supers on for the entire season up here, can only be done in the spring or fall. Formic works just fine in July or Aug. if you pick the 3 days that will have the correct temps. and use one pad at a time. Apivar is an excellent treatment in the fall after pulling your supers because of the amount of time you leave it in the hive, some protection from all the mite bombs around you. All treatments work, it's up to you to know what the heck you are doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So... a follow up on thyme treatments...

When you look at this, its hard to know what solution the thyme oil is in when its sold? Does everyone have the same ratio of thyme in the sold bottles? It doesn't say this when you are looking around for it, and this makes you unsure what you are getting. Any suggestions on this?
 

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So... a follow up on thyme treatments...

When you look at this, its hard to know what solution the thyme oil is in when its sold? Does everyone have the same ratio of thyme in the sold bottles? It doesn't say this when you are looking around for it, and this makes you unsure what you are getting. Any suggestions on this?
I believe the thymol treatments made commercially are made with thymol crystals.
 

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I believe the thymol treatments made commercially are made with thymol crystals.
Yes; Here is a quote from Cushman's site

A simple way of making the stock solution is to dissolve 30g of thymol crystals in 150ml of isopropyl alcohol. ... It might be helpful to know that 150ml of isopropyl alcohol weighs 118g. "Manley strength" will prevent unsealed syrup fermenting in the combs during the winter.Sep. 24, 2019


Thymolised Syrup - Dave Cushman
 

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I've used both Apiguard and oxalic vaporization. Both kill mites real well. I never seen dead brood, dead bees, or dead queens from either of these two chemical treatments.
 

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So by accident I'd found people claiming that thyme oil can be used to treat varroa instead of using oxalic acid.

I was skeptical at first, because I know a lot of people in real life apart from bees that just say anything and talk big, to make themselves look good. And they will be spouting off nonsense non-stop especially to relatives.

Seeing this kind of behavior a lot makes me want to ask how real thyme oil treating is? Can people here verify it works?

I am hopeful it does. I don't mind oxalic acid treatments. But the idea that its something that I can't make myself or grow myself sometimes worries me. I don't like to be in the power of others when its things I can do myself.

So I'm curious what you all might say about the thyme oil treatment methods? Is it used the same times of year as oxalic acid? Or could it be used more? (Or how different?)

Although, one issue also might be that essential oils might not be uniform in how people make them (?) I don't know if they all have the same solution standard of the percent of product in them (?).

And at first I didn't want to consider this, but people do use basil to curb insect problems. And so I thought basil and thyme might not be so different. So why not ask. (It makes me wonder if basil can be used for bees also.)
Thought I might add this to the discussion. Apiguard which is basically thymol is effective in controlling mites in strong colonies and I use it in rotation with oxalic acid. But Apiguard will totally disorient and ruin a weaker colony. I learned this by using it on a crop of splits I was going to winter as nucs for replacement and sale. Now I am careful to only use it on strong queenrite colonies as they seem to tolerate it best.
 
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