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Gareths tymol string varroa treatment?

 
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Tavascarow
Silver Bee


Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 962
Location: UK Cornwall Snozzle

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:38 pm    Post subject: Gareths tymol string varroa treatment? Reply with quote

I bookmarked Gareths original post on an old computer that has long died & can't remember the method or concentration.
Can someone point me to the original post please?
Happy new year BTW. Very Happy
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trekmate
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Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1125
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And a Happy New Year to you.

I guess that was a thread that disappeared in the "slip-up" a month or two ago. However I copied Gareth's post completely for my use so here is a copy of my copy:

Thymol String Recipe

I've put the recipe up before, but will happily repeat it here. The treatment is a combination of some info posted by Gary along with other gleanings from here and there, plus a bit of fiddling on my part. The current mix is:

10g of thymol crystals
10 drops of tea tree oil
Olive oil, say 25 ml
Sunflower oil, say 50 ml
One or two pieces of bees wax (walnut sized)
Two or three teaspoons of fine sugar (icing sugar)
Thirty 50mm (2 inch) lengths undyed garden string (eg. hemp)

The only things I measure accurately are the thymol and tea tree. The rest is a bit like my cooking; never comes out twice the same.

Gently warm the oil and beeswax until the beeswax dissolves and then add the thymol crystals. Stir to dissolve these. (They smell strongly, so do not touch them with your hands.) Cool and add the tea tree (it will evaporate if the mix is too hot). Then add the sugar and stir. The mix will turn lumpy and sticky at this stage. The consistency should be that of soft butter (the spreadable from the fridge sort). Place the pieces of string in the mix and coat them thoroughly. Use enough string to soak up all the mix.

This makes enough to treat 3 hives once each provided that they are not heavily 'mited'. I generally repeat after about 10 days and will do a third 10 days on again if the mite drop is still high. (The ten day timing is not crucial.) The treatment is most effective when the bees are active and the weather warm. The dosage rate is about 1/4 that of commercially available thymol treatments and much more effective in my experience.

To apply, move the top bars apart enough to push two pieces of string down between each. The string, being sticky, will catch on the face of the comb. That's fine. Do this for 5 or so bars in the centre of the brood nest (10 strings in total). If the mite load is very heavy, a double dose will still be less than that in commercial treatments.

Over time the bees will chew at the string and throw it out of the hive entrance or push little pieces (finely chewed) through the mesh floor (looks like brown candy floss).

In addition to the direct effect of the oils on the mites, I suspect that the bees also groom each other, as they don't like the smell of either tea tree oil or thymol. In this regard, I suspect that the olive oil and sunflower oil also play a role as they contain oleic and linoleic acids which in insect terms is the smell of death and is what triggers the undertaking response in bees. The sugar is there to give the gunk some substance that the bees can get their mandibles around - I've tried it without and it is much less effective.

Remember that the aim is not to knock out all the mites, but to keep the numbers from spiralling out of control. I would be cautious about using the mix if I was due to be harvesting honey. Although thymol is said to break down fairly quickly in wax, I'd want to be sure of avoiding contamination of the comb. (Thymol does not dissolve in water.)

Note added Aug 2011: Looking back through my notes for the last few years and talking to beekeepers who are totally treatment-free, I am beginning to wonder if OE's affect queen and/or drone fertility. For various reasons, 2011 has been a low varroa year for me and I have not treated any of my bees this season. I intend to continue the non-treatment regime in 2012, using shook swarms and nucs but nothing else and will report further on progress with regards to both varroa and bee fertility.
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Tavascarow
Silver Bee


Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 962
Location: UK Cornwall Snozzle

PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most excellent.
\\\\thank you very much.
I had a hunch someone else would have copied it as well.
Very Happy Very Happy
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