Talk to me about essential oils in syrup

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by ASTMedic, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    So I'm studying the topic of making an essential mix for my syrup and I'm thinking of spraying the Ritecell when I check the girls next time.

    Since the girls are trying to get going after the supersedure I figured I should go back to feeding them. They still hadn't touched the bare Ritecell when I checked them on Thursday. Brood looks good though so I want to give them a boost. Anything I should know before going down this road?

    I'm going to use this recipe:

    > 5 cups water
    > 2 1/2 pounds of sugar
    > 1/8 teaspoon lecithin granules (used as an emulsifier)
    > 15 drops spearmint oil
    > 15 drops lemongrass oil

    Bring the water to a boil and stir in the sugar until it is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved remove the mixture from the heat and quickly add the lecithin and the essential oils. Stir the mixture thoroughly. This solution should have a strong scent and not be left open around bees. Cool before using.
     
  2. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    there is a reason not to boil their sugar water and I am not sure what it is, but it seemed important at one time. Something about a chemical change that occurs when sugar is boiled. HELP!

    Personally I just bought a block of beeswax from Dadant and dripped it on the ritecell, then fed plain sugar water. Essential oils incite robbery attempts pretty well. Boiling essential oils causes them to evaporate I think, so that's money in the air...
     

  3. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    I've used the spearmint and lemongrass oils before with no robbing issues...it has been known to incite robbing at times though, just be aware and keep some robbing screens handy if you decide to use it. Please take the water off of the heat before you stir in the sugar to prevent it from caramelizing and upsetting the bees digestion :wink:
     
  4. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    ast,
    unwaxed rite cell? you can try spraying it but i would melt some beeswax, and coat these frames with extra wax. also bees need a good nectar flow to draw foundation, or a simulation there of, so feeding them syrup would help (and help to build your colony). you also have to keep in mind that young bees draw wax, so you will need a good population of young bees to draw these out, and a good nectar flow. if they are "trying to get going" after a supersedure, you will need to be patient, and these frames may not get drawn depending on circumstances.

    do you have a nectar and pollen flow in progress now ast? they may ignore the feed if there is a nectar flow.

    gypsi and mama beek mentioned boiling of the sugar water, no need to boil this, it can potentially make the bees sick. just bring your water warm enough to melt the sugar crystals, or put your mixture in a different container and add hot, but not boiling water.
     
  5. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    I'm going to feed this from the top covered with a hive body to prevent robbing. Due to a VER hot spell I also built and put a robbing screen in place so they could get full ventilation while still allowing them to protect their hive.

    Oh and this is coated Ritecell.
     
  6. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I used to believe in essential oils for bees, but I now feel the more junk we add to the hives that doesn't occur there naturally, the more stress they have to deal with. I think if you are going to use it at all, you ought to at least cut that dose by half- try 5-7 drops of each of those oils rather than 15. The effect will be just as potent to the bees, will be less unnatural and more pleasant, and it won't be a fume-y overload for them to deal with. With essential oils (which are VERY strong substances) less is more- bees have very a sensitive sense of smell and taste. :)
     
  7. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    Ok Omie I'll try that.
     
  8. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    There are so many conflicting views about feeding. I am presently feeding one to one sugar syrup. The bees are lapping it up like pigs, and they are building comb. At one apiary, I am adding a wee bit of Mann Lakes ProHealth. It's a mixture of essential oils and vitamins. When its gone, I will not purchase more of it. I tend to agree with Omie that 'it's just more junk we add to the hive that doesn't occur there naturally.'

    In the future, my only use of essential oils will be for bait in my future swarm traps.
     
  9. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Yeah as Lazy Shoot says-
    Be sure to have a little bottle of Lemongrass essential oil on hand (not to be confused with lemon extract etc)- if you put out a swarm lure box, put 2 or 3 (at most) drops of it inside the box. Refresh every 3 weeks or so. Those 2 or 3 drops will get the attention of any bee scouts in the area.
    I read a thread a while back where someone 'dribbled' lemongrass essential oil into a new hive before installing a new colony...and the bees just up and left, flew the coop for parts unknown. The fumes may well have been too much for them.
     
  10. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    Thinking about doing this in a trap just to see what happens. We live in a rural area in the foothills on 10 acres. We have two LARGE oaks on the back end of our property by our large pond that I could put a trap in. I've yet to see a swarm but I figure there must be wild bees or swarms from other hives in the area. Then again I haven't seen anyone else with hives but you never know.