Anyone using "natural" remidies for bee diseases? What works?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by zathrus, May 12, 2004.

  1. zathrus

    zathrus Member

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    Has anyone here on this forum used natural or herbal methods for preventing or treating any common bee diseases? This year, since I am new to beekeeping, I will probably use the chemical treatments, but don't want to rely on some chemical company to keep my bees healthy. Any info on this subject would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Sean
     
  2. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

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    you can use food grade mineral oil to suffocate the mites. run a small bead of fgmo along the top bars of the all frames using a squirt bottle. as the bees groom themselves, they will spread this oil from their feet over their bodies, clogging the pores through which the mites breath, thus suffocating them. hehehe... :yeeha:
     

  3. Billy Bob131

    Billy Bob131 Active Member

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    There are many different options when looking into not using chemicals. Food Grade Mineral Oil (FGMO) is considered a chemical, but not as harsh as many of the others. You can squirt the oil on the top bars or use a fogger to apply it into the hive. There are cords that you can make up with FGMO that the bees “clean” out of the hives, getting and spreading the oil throughout the colony.

    http://www.beesource.com/pov/rodriguez/index.htm

    This is a link to the studies that Dr. Rodriguze has conducted with FGMO. (lots of reading)

    Many “chem. free” beekeepers use screen bottom boards (SBB). SBB’s help in many ways but there is some contradicting studies on the subject. I like SBB’s for several reasons: 1. They help the hive from overheating during the summer (a real problem here in the south) 2. I think it does help with the mites. 3. SBB’s make it easier for a hive to keep clean. Below is from the UGA Bee research lab, and studies they have done with SBB’s.

    ABSTRACT This study tested the efficacy of a hive bottom screen device in controlling varroa mites, when used alone or in conjunction with the miticides ApistanJ and ApilifeVARJ. Thirty six colonies were equalized and each assigned to one of six treatments: (1) no treatment, (2) bottom screen, (3) Apistan, (4) Apistan + screen, (5) Apilife, and (6) Apilife + screen. Adult bee populations were not affected by treatment, but the number of brood cells was significantly reduced in colonies treated exclusively with Apilife compared to that of colonies treated with Apistan or exclusively with a bottom screen. Brood production was numerically highest in colonies treated exclusively with a bottom screen. Varroa populations were significantly reduced in colonies receiving acaricide compared to non-treated colonies. Varroa populations in colonies treated exclusively with a bottom screen were 14.9 % lower than that of non-treated colonies, but this difference was not significant. The bottom screen did not affect the percentage of varroa mite population phoretic on adult bees. Apistan provided 100% mite control in South Carolina whereas in Georgia it provided 0% control in colonies treated exclusively with Apistan. With the addition of a bottom screen, Apistan-treated colonies in Georgia experienced an average mite control of 44.3%. This suggests that fluvalinate resistance exists in Georgia varroa mites. It also indicates that a bottom screen may help compensate for reduced acaricide efficacy. Average efficacy of Apilife ranged from 65.2 - 97.1%.


    Small cell foundation (4.9mm), is another tool that is gaining in popularity. From what most have seen from small cell is the brood emerge earlier when raised on small cell. This hinders the mites a great deal and keeps there populations under control. There is a ton of stuff to read about small cell and I will not even try to give it all to you here. This should give you plenty to read during bathroom breaks over the next week or two: :haha:

    http://www.beesource.com/pov/lusby/index.htm


    Another way is catching and removing the mites in the “drone comb method”. Once again way too much for me to cover here. You can read this late at night when you can’t sleep. :)

    http://www.xs4all.nl/~jtemp/dronemethod.html


    Lets not forget the SMR and Hygienic queen lines that they have out now days too.

    There are many more, I can really go on but I think that should get you started. I use FGMO on most of my hives, and all of them have SBB’s. Almost all of my hives are on small cell and what is not I’m converting. I have 8 hives that have never been treated…ever. I have had one of them for 3 yeas now; the others are still in there first year. I have never lost any hive that I have not treated.

    This all sounds real good but be ready to have loses if you decide to go chem. free. It’s part of modern beekeeping.

    BB
     
  4. zathrus

    zathrus Member

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    Hi justgojumpit,

    Thanks for the info. I some questions. What's a good source where I could purchace some food grade mineral oil (referred to as FGMO from here on)? Have you successfully used this treatment yourself? How often and at what times in the year do you apply the FGMO? How does the use of FGMO compare to chemical remidies that treat the same problems? Does it work to control both tracheal and vorroa mites? Are there any harmful side effects to the bees? Do you have to treat using FGMO during a non-marketable nectar flow as you should with menthol treatment?

    I realize you may not have all the answers to my questions, but I just wanted to get them out there for everyone to answer. I am still weighing the pros and cons of going the "all natural" treatment methods with the "chemical" solutions.

    Thanks again for the info, I can do some research on my own to answer some of these questions as well.

    Sean




     
  5. zathrus

    zathrus Member

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    Hi Billy Bob131,

    Thanks for the info. I will be back in a few weeks after I have time to read and digest it all! :) I am sure I will have lots of questions after I finish reading through the material. As I mentioned in my previous post, I am trying to measure for myself the pros and cons of going with the "all natural" as opposed to "chemical" treatments, so I am trying to edge-u-micate myself. I am sure I speak for all of us new/beginning beekeepers that we really appreciate others more experienced sharing the knowledge!

    Sean

     
  6. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

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    Dadant is supposed to have something new out ... just this year ... that is non-chemical or at least to a lesser extent than the other stuff. Most beekeepers haven't even heard of it yet. I heard of it a couple months ago ... it's on their website.
     
  7. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

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    What's a good source where I could purchace some food grade mineral oil (referred to as FGMO from here on)?

    I got my FGMO at a livestock supply chain, but their mineral oil isn't always food grade. The mineral oil i got from them is.

    Have you successfully used this treatment yourself?

    I have not yet used this method, but will experiment with it this year. I will run a line of FGMO along the top bars during my next hive inspection. I have read many good things about this treatment method.

    How often and at what times in the year do you apply the FGMO?

    You can apply the FGMO any time of year, whenever you notice mite counts getting higher, or all year as a preventative method.

    How does the use of FGMO compare to chemical remidies that treat the same problems?

    This I have no quantitative answer for. I do know, however, that mites are becoming resistant to the chemical miticides currently on the market.

    Does it work to control both tracheal and vorroa mites?

    I know for sure that it works fot the varroa mites, but i doubt it would do anything for the tracheal mites, as they live within the bees' tracheas (air tubes)

    Are there any harmful side effects to the bees?

    Nope, none that i have read of.

    Do you have to treat using FGMO during a non-marketable nectar flow as you should with menthol treatment?

    Nope, since the mineral oil you are using is FOOD GRADE, has no color or significant taste or odor, it doesnt matter if trace amounts of FGMO get into the honey. I would just be careful to keep the FGMO on the top bars and not flood any cells with it. I don't know how the bees would react if their cells of nectar were topped off with FGMO... they might even empty those cells affected... who knows for sure?!
     
  8. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    I've used nothing but FGMO for the last 3 years. It's easy, cheap and works great for a hobby beekeeper. I buy my mineral oil at any discount pharmacy or grocery store. It's sold as a laxative. Go to beesource.com for info from the originator of this treatment.
     
  9. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Regarding the FGMO- be absolutely certain that the FGMO you purchase has a viscosity of 86%, NOT 92+%. Most of the oil sold at feed stores is not the 86%, so be very careful to check for this. If you use oil with a higher viscosity than 86% it will kill your bees.

    If you use a fogger to apply the FGMO it will kill tracheal mites as well as varroa mites.
     
  10. renee7

    renee7 Well-Known Member

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    Has any one tried diamateous earth? Will it harm the bees? On second thought, it probably would. If they scraped their bellies on it.
     
  11. Billy Bob131

    Billy Bob131 Active Member

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    There is some research in diamateous earth and beekeeping. Nothing has officially been shown but the idea is to use it in against the small hive beetle (SHB). The idea is to put it on the ground around a bee hive. When the larva travels out of the hive it will damage it’s skin allowing bacteria/fungus to kill the larva.

    BB
     
  12. renee7

    renee7 Well-Known Member

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    Evidently, it doesn't hurt the bees then.
     
  13. Billy Bob131

    Billy Bob131 Active Member

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    Yes it will hurt the bees!

    The idea is to spread this around your hive on the ground. Some of it can even be mixed in with the dirt too.

    BB