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Non-Chemical Methods for Treating Problems in Bee Hives.  RSS feed

Collin Vickers
Posts: 104
Location: Rutledge, MO
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Greetings permies,

Doing a little research on pest/disease problems in bee hives, so I thought I'd post what I've got so far.


Varroa mites:

- Vaporized food grade mineral oil, applied once every three weeks, applied by puffing fog into hive entrance for 15 seconds
* Supposed to suffocate the mites by coating the bees and depriving them of air
- Powdered sugar, applied directly to backs of bees
* Encourages bees to groom
- Sugar/water/lemon juice solution
* Encourages bees to groom
- Avoid use of ready drawn comb
* Allows bees to restrict cell size and cut mite gestation cycle short
- Phil Chandler's design for a hive entry, (consists of entry holes at the top of a hive, with an entry box that forms a slow with a landing strip near the bottom of the hive, which seems to accomodate bee preferences)
* PC has a youtube video showcasing this design, and I know a keeper in Houston who claims to have had success with it

Small hive beetle:

- Credit card sized pieces of cardboard or plastic politician ad signs, (the point is to have numerous, small tube-like cells, too small for the bees to enter, coat one end of 'tunnels' with vegetable shortening, fill the interior cavity with a mixture of boric acid and powdered sugar, cap the other end with more shortening.
* The beetles will be attracted to the shortening, eat the contents of the tunnel and die, being herded inside the cavities by natural instincts of bees.
* I've seen instances where diotomaceous earth was used in place of the boric acid.
- Diotomaceous earth around base of hive
* Part of the beetle life cycle is time on the ground outside of the hive - when the attempt the crawl in the sharp crystals of the DE shred their exoskeletons
* (Stands risk of harming bees who end up on ground if the keeper is shaking frames for an artificial swarm, hive splits, or harvesting)

For tracheal mites:

- Essential oils of winter green or spear mint added to sugar solution, fed to the bees, (I'm not sure what the ratios are supposed to be - I've heard that a pint jar of the essential oil can treat 500 hives).

Fungal growth:

- Avoid disturbing the hive too often
* Maintains water tight propolis seals made by the bees
- (Seems to me that a big advantage of the KTB hive with a removable bottom board is that the keeper can lay down under the hive, as you would when working on a car, inspect comb formation/queen cell formation and bee activity, and close it up without breaking any propolis seals or risking rolling bees between combs.)

Wax moth:

- Let the bees build fresh comb each season / boil and purify wax if making own frame foundations
- Healthy hives will largely keep them in check

Invasive pirates, (rival bees, wasps, ants, etc)

- Use corks, whole or sliced in half, to restrict entrance space, adjusting as the bees seem to need more or less space for traffic in and out of the hive
- If feeding sugar solution, only use small quantities the bees will consume in a week or so
- Use the coke-bottle trap method to trap them, (cut plastic bottle in half, invert top inside of bottom, fill with an inch or two of cheap soda pop)
- Diotomaceous earth around base of hive to keep out ants and other terrestrial insects, including hive beetle


Any additions, substractions, caveats, testimonials?
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