Smoking Plant Leaves For Mite Control?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by dr.buzz, May 12, 2012.

  1. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    "Beekeepers have a long-established practice of using smoke to calm their bees before opening the hive. Now U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists have found another potential benefit from smoke: Some plants, when burned, give off natural chemicals that control honey bee mites.


    Frank A. Eischen, an entomologist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Weslaco, Texas, has found that smoke from certain plants either kills varroa mites or causes them to fall off the bees.

    After 30 seconds, smoke from the grapefruit leaves knocked down 90 to 95 percent of the mites in the cage test. With grapefruit leaves, however, few of the mites are killed. Most simply fall off the bees."

    http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/ar/archive/aug97/mitesmoke0897.htm

    This isn't new information, and three years ago someone on this forum mentioned that Ross Conrad discussed it in his book. Has anyone tried it and gotten decent results?



     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I have never heard of this (and I attended one of Ross' courses when he was up here 3 years ago?) Interesting, I guess if you smoked em over a sticky board?
    (the bees that is) :wink:
     

  3. Bsweet

    Bsweet Member

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    Smoked some leaves in my younger days that made me fall over a time or two and didn't kill me:grin:
     
  4. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    no grapefruit trees around here, too cool for citrus. Have to see if crackerbee will try it out!
     
  5. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Got me thinking , I grow my own hops, have a bunch of older leaf hops from last year, with Hop Guard now a treatment, maybe burning hops will work ..

    Mite just try ( pardon the pun )
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Tobacco leaves, sumac berries, many things have been said to be effective. Some have said ANY smoke will cause the mites to drop.
     
  7. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    Ive given leaves off my white and pink grapefruit trees to a few beekeepers that said it worked but I have never tried it, Ive only seen 1 mite in 1 hive, but someday Ill try it (if I have to, hope not)
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    an iddee snip..
    Tobacco leaves, sumac berries, many things have been said to be effective. Some have said ANY smoke will cause the mites to drop.

    tecumseh:
    actually one of the better (in terms of reliability) protocols for testing for mites involves using just a bit of pipe tobacco and a sticky board.

    nice catch dr buzz and thanks for the link.
     
  9. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    When you burn these leaves, do you use just dried leaves or fresh leaves placed in the smoker with something else doing the real burning?
    I've got two hives about three meters from a grapefruit tree and not much further away I have plenty of Oxalis weeds (they should be rich in oxalic acid). It would be easy enough for me to get either fresh or dried weeds.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    well it would seem to me that either would work well.... one being a bit cooler smoke than the other. I would think the trick question would be how much?
     
  11. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I know an old time beekeeper who uses Sumac seeds and claims it works? I remember Mom, my grand mothers, and most everyone around that had chickens would put Sassafras sticks and leaves mixed in the nest boxes to keep mites out and off the chickens. Been thinking about burning some in my smoker to see if it works.:???: Jack
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Was that mites, Jack, or chicken lice. I remember coming out of the chicken house with lice all over me.
     
  13. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Sorry folks, Iddee your right it was lice, but i wonder if it would work on mites? I remember teachers sending kids home because the got head lice, claimed they got them off the chickens. None of us ever got any,Mom would scrub our heads with some kind of stinky stuff every week to make sure, it's a wonder i still have hair.:grin: Jack
    P.S Happy mothers day Mom (Feb. 21, 1919 to Nov.4 2004),i love and miss you
     
  14. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    That's interresting. I've used dried rhubarb leaves before after harvesting the stems because I know rhubarb leaves have oxalic acid in them, but never heard of using grapfruit leaves before... if it works it might be worth getting a grapefruit tree in a large pot and bringing it indoors for the winter just to use the leaves. Of course, it wouldn't take long for the trees to be bare.
     
  15. jb63

    jb63 New Member

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    Ben, when you used the rhubarb what kind of results did you have?