Mite Killer?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by brooksbeefarm, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    At our last bee club school for new members, the instructor said he had read that Lemon juice and 1 to 1 sugar water(mixed fifty, fifty) has been found to kill mites if sprayed on the bees :confused:. I didn't get a chance to talk to him after the meeting. Anyone else hear about this? jack
     
  2. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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  3. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Very interesting.

    Sometime ago I asked if citronella would be an attractant, like Lemongrass in, and no-one had an idea. But using it to fight mites was not even close to my mind.

    Looks like as the difference between 50% lemon juice and 100% juice is only 4% mite drop (82% vs 86%), it makes economic sense to just use half juice.

    Now if we could only find a simple Small hive Beatle treatment......
     
  4. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    I did this all last summer as an experiment with my top bar hives. I mixed 100% lemon juice with grapefruit juice from concentrate - about 50-50.

    I sprayed both sides of all the brood frames (bees, queen, open brood - everything) 3 or 4 times through the summer every two or three weeks.

    What I found:

    • The bees did not seem to get too freaked out about it. They acted about the same as if you misted them with water, although there's a lot more buzzing of wings when you close the hive back up.

    • I never saw any dead brood or anything outside the hives after spraying, even though I sprayed over open brood. And my hives are right beside my house, and I checked every day - even several times a day

    • Even though one of the two colonies was the same one that was nearly wiped out by mites last year, (but still overwintered) by October this fall, I had seen no significant signs of mite damage. I quit spraying in September.

    • By November, (two months after stopping the citrus spray) I began to see a few (1 - 3) discarded bees showing mite damage (DWV) - but nothing compared to the hundreds I saw crawling all over the ground outside the hives during September and October the year before.

    From what I have seen, I wouldn't say it wipes out all the mites - but it did appear to keep their numbers down as long as I was spraying regularly. The clusters in the hives this year compared to this time last year are much bigger and healthier.

    Not at all conclusive. Not scientific. But that's what I did and what I observed. I plan to try it again this year. I found that yellow jackets don't like the juice, and it helped keep them from robbing during late summer inspections. It was also helpful if you pulled drone brood to do a mite check - if you sprayed the damaged larvae, the bees didn't seem to get so fired up at the smell of dead bees.

    Adam
     
  5. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

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    I wonder if feeding the bees with lemon juice would have any effect?
    I have always mixed several tablespoons of lemon juice with the sugar syrup that I feed them. Mainly did this to keep it from molding.
    Definitely something that I will be looking at this year. Seems like the test they did actually helped in controlling the mites.
    Robert
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    good snag Crackerbee... <you are keeping us all informed here.

    a snip...

    Feeding colonies with coriander's extract reduced the infestation of adult workers and pupae, especially in spring (Shoreit and Hussein, 1994). It was observed that, decrease of varroa mites number of hive debris after spraying colonies with anise, carnation, coriander, cumin, eucalyptus and lemon grass oils. Reduction of varroa in hive debris was about 2.2 times more than those inside brood cells (Hussein et al., 2001). The effect of lemon and orange juices, in laboratory and apiary, were studied by Hussein and Omar (1989).
    An efficacy of 39.2% was found after three oxalic acid treatments when the brood was present and 99.4% when the brood was not present (Gregorc and Planinc, 2001).

    tecumseh:
    if there is a larger lesson to be learned from agriculture's fairly recent romance with chemical application efficiency in kill rate is really a part of the problem. for almost anything a 100% kill rate is undoable and the higher the kill rate the greater likelyhood is that you are building resistance in to what ever survives the treatment.
     
  7. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Thanks, good find crackerbee and good post AFC. The instructor also said not to feed it during a flow, not because it would be harmful to you, but it would probably get stored in the honey.Hmmmm,honey lemonade doesn't sound to bad to me. :mrgreen: Jack
     
  8. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    My MIL had hip replacement surgery a couple of days ago. Outside of her room is one of those hand-sanitizing stations (outside of each room actually). In '99 my father died in the hospital from an unknown "super bug" after spending 40 days in ccu, thus I'm a bit touchy on cleanliness things at hospitals. What I observed over the last couple of days was some workers that when straight into the room and bypassed the sanitizer (who did sanitize after I voiced my opinion on things). I explained to one young fellow why I was so touchy about it, he understood (as did all of the workers). This fellow was young, but I believe he really knows the ball field that he is playing on after he made the somber statement, "...and there's bugs that the sanitizer won't kill".

    Tec, you are so right, the critters that survive the antibiotics, home-remedies, essential oils, chemicals, poisons, etc., are survivors who are breeding stronger and more resistant pests that the bees have to deal with. Basically when we attempt to chemically kill off the pests we are in reality only killing off the weaker, possibly diseased pests while leaving the best breeding stock...almost selective breeding. :|

    I don't mean to put down anyone using their special rememdy. I'm just starting out with my beekeeping hobby and one day I may be drawn to a bottle of XXX Beetle Dissolver or something, but I'm shooting for chemical/poison free. We'll see...

    Super bugs, both microscopic and those big enough to see with the un-aided eyes, are only growing stronger...the bottom line is that it will be between them and their target species in a contest of survival of the fittest rather than survival of the most medicated.

    Ed
     
  9. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    I wonder about this. Sure, this position is conventional wisdom at this point. We've all heard this argument, and we've all heard the "rock-and-a-hard place" dilemma that beekeepers are facing in watching their bees die each year and wanting to do something about it. And if the answer were truly that clear, then everyone would be doing the same thing - but it's not, and they're not. Simply not treating in one way or another to combat mites is not working consistently. If it were, then the problem wouldn't exist. No one would treat, and the bees would be alive and healthy.

    But I wonder about the "Super bug" theory as well.

    People are throwing all kinds of management tactics and all kinds of applications at the varroa mite, and people are breeding bees aimed at resistance. And sure, in my hive, I'm breeding mites that are selected for resistance to lemon juice, and another guy is breeding for mites that resist thymol, and if you're "treatment free", then you're selectively breeding mites that can live through your bees natural defenses. No matter what defense is used to combat mites - truly natural, chemical, or otherwise - the mite is always evolving to survive it.

    The bee is presently widely claimed to be "in trouble" and people site "death by a thousand cuts" to be the culprit. A culmination of a multitude of issues - so are we killing the bee, or breeding a "super bee"?

    And to flip it around, are we going to end up killing the mites through "death by a thousand cuts" with all the different things we're throwing at it?

    Bottom line is, the answer to mites in not clear. If it were, we'd all be in agreement. Everyone is doing the best they can to figure out what to do. And beyond that, the best we can do is share what we're finding and collectively benefit.

    Adam
     
  10. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    When someone comes up with something that kills mites and other pest that kills bees, and it does'nt kill the bees or people. I think that is a win win situation, it's the chemicals that we were using when the mites first came on the scene that i worried about. Jack