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Author Topic: Breeding Super-Hygienic Bees to Take the Offensive in Colony Collapse Fight  (Read 4564 times)

Offline TwT

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Offline Animator

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I found this on the same site !!
Smoking Out Bee Mites

By Sean Adams
August 28, 1997
Calming bees with smoke is a long-established beekeeping practice. Now scientists have found that smoke from burning certain plants contains natural chemicals that control honey bee mites. It may have potential as an alternative to using chemicals to control varroa mites, the domestic honey bee’s worst threat.

Frank Eischen with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Weslaco, Texas, has tested smoke from 40 different plants to control varroa mites. The most promising are dried grapefruit leaves and creosote bush, a woody perennial. Creosote bush smoke drove 90 to 100 percent of the mites off bees after a one-minute cage test. Grapefruit leaf smoke drove off 90 to 95 percent of the mites in 30 seconds. The findings are preliminary: more research is needed before scientists could recommend that beekeepers use these plant smokes to control mites.

The ARS scientists, at the agency’s Honey Bee Research Laboratory in Weslaco, haven’t yet analyzed the active chemicals in the smoke. And they don’t know how the smoke controls the mites, but believe it either irritates or confuses them.

Varroa mites began infesting honey bee colonies in the United States in the 1980s. The mites attach to bees and feed on their blood. If the infestation is severe and left untreated, the mites can kill the entire colony.

The standard treatment for the mites is fluvalinate, a synthetic pyrethroid harmless to the bees. Beekeepers put fluvalinate-impregnated strips in their hives to kill mites. But they can only use the strips when bees are not collecting nectar and pollen. Otherwise, the chemical could contaminate the honey. Also, European researchers have reported that mites are developing resistance to fluvalinate.


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I read recently in an older beekeeping book "Practical Beekeeping" I think it was, that using tobacco smoke has been used to treat mites by some with seeming success.   The trick was to use the tobacco in a smoker and get a good puff in the hive, but one was supposed to use screen to block the entrance thus enabling the bees, and hence the mites, no escape from the smoke.  the screen could then be removed in the morning.

I have thought of experimenting with various materials to test the theory.  If and when one is going to use smoke, why not use a smoke that has an extra side effect of removing mites at the same time?

Big Bear

Offline heaflaw

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At the bottom of the page from this link it says "via Science Daily".  If you click on that link, it gives a much more thorough article.  The bees are the VSH strain which have been bred years ago by USDA in Baton Rouge.  They are continually being improved.  They have been available commercially to us for several years. 

Apparently, this is the same trait that Russian bees have, has appeared naturally in survivor feral colonies and that some of us hobbyists have in our own colonies.

The bottom line is that we really do not need to treat for varroa if we don't want to.  We can let the bees do their own treatments.

Offline melliphile

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I read a few years ago in Bee Culture that Staghorn Sumac had an affect on mite drop.  I've used it cuz it was free and plentiful.  Don't know if it had a lot of effect on the mites but it does burn a cool billowy smoke that the bees don't seem to mind.
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