He was singing the blues about having to restart EVERY ONE OF HIS 50 HIVES this spring to the tune of about $2,500.00. yes - that's right - he said he lost EVERY BEE IN EVERY BOX?! I asked him WHY????
He said his beeyard was about 25 miles from his home, so he doesn't really check them regularly. I asked him - dead bees IN the box? he said - no...dead bees all over the snow. so that means they tried to get OUT. he suspected, TRACHEAL MITES.
oh yeh... (I thought to myself - I get my head so full of "gotta treat for varroa" this time of year - I forgot about this "little issue" too!)
so - here it is - a "natural treatment" for tracheal mites. If you've got your honey off - GET THESE GREASE PATTIES ON:
Product: Vegetable Shortening (eg. Crisco™)
Ratio: One part vegetable shortening to 2 parts white granulated sugar. Patty size should be about one-half pound (size of a hamburger).
Exposure Time: Continuous (except during nectar flow). Replace as often as needed. Most effective during spring and autumn.
Location within the colony: On broodnest top bars.
Comments and Suggestions:
- Vegetable shortening appears to disrupt the life cycle of the tracheal mite, thus suppressing mite populations.
- Vegetable shortening patties are considered to be more effective in controlling mites than menthol. However, menthol is still useful.