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I have read about the use of Essential Oils, Thymol, Wintergreen, LGO, Spearmint, etc......... My question is, what are the various oils used for? I know LGO can be used to attract a swarm. I know you add Essential Oil to sugar cakes, or syrup, or patties, and the bees eat it up, but is there a reason you would use spearmint over peppermint? Is there a specific reason for each oil? And, how much would you use, say for a gallon of syrup? I was wondering, being a super new Bee Keeper, what Oils I should have in my apothecary. What Oils do you use, and for what purpose?
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I use 3 only: tea tree, spearmint, and lemongrass. The first one is helpful for nosema, the second is helpful with mites (and seems to be more attractive to the bees than the other mints), and the third makes the syrup itself extremely attractive. EOs are VERY strong. I make a half-gallon concentrate that I then use one cup per gallon of sugar syrup.

EOs have to be mixed carefully, as oil and water don't STAY mixed for long without help, and when they separate again, the oil alone is too strong for the bees. They are also very strong smelling--so don't mix them in the house! If you have a good, strong blender you can mix them using it if you run it on high for about 5 minutes, but you will damage the plastic parts and seals if you don't clean it thoroughly afterwards. Or you can add lecithin as a dispersing medium.

There is a page on my website that is devoted to my tonic if you want more details.

HTH


Rusty
 

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The real question is if you use essential oils - why do you use them the way you do? By what process did you determine it? If you are essentially experimenting what observations have you made?

My observervation has been that hives which consume more winter feed - mt camp sugar, pollen sub, syrup - build up bigger and earlier than those which consume less. The addition of honey bee healthy seems to stimulate more feeding.

I have also experimented with using paper towel pads soaked in a mixture of EO of thyme - applied exactly like you would apiguard. The results have been similar to actual apiguard - which I also use.

I should probably mention that in the second example - since apiguard is a commercial product you just follow the directions as to how, when and how much to use, and if you buy the bulk pack may even be less expensive.
 
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