East Lothian Beekeepers
New treatments for Varroa.
1) Exomite Apis
With the discovery of pyrethroid resistant mites in Kent and North Shropshire it would appear that cases are appearing spontaneously. If this is the case it is only a matter of time before we get resistant mites in East Lothian.
Exosect Ltd in Southampton have developed a new product called Exomite Apis to control Varroa.
The product is based on Entostat powder. This is a natural wax which readily carries an electrostatic charge. Research at Southampton University showed that insects also carry an electrostatic charge which build up while they fly or walk. Entostat powder has been designed to utilise this and sticks to the bees very strongly. By adding various ingredients this can be used as a treatment for Varroa.
The container is inserted into the hive entrance and as the bees walk over it powder clings to them delivering the treatment.The powder has also been detected in the brood cells again helping in the demise of the mite.
Trials in 2003 showed over 80% efficacy using a powder/thymol treatment.
Treatment is recommended as 2 12 day applications in the spring and autumn when drone brood is minimal.
Full trial results are available on the website at www.exosect.com and product details at http://www.agri-nova.biz/pages/exosect.html
2) Its all done with mirrors
Patent No WO 03/037076 filed by Finnish company Urpo Vainio claims to remove mites other than with pesticides.
A mirrored sheet is placed inside the hive with the surface angled to catch light coming into the hive front the entrance. This confuses the bees and they rush at the mirror where they hit a protective mesh suspended in front of it. The shock of the impact dislodges the mites which fall down through the mesh onto a tray which can be removed and cleaned.
3) Liquid Paraffin
American beekeepers have been using liquid paraffin (NOT ESSO BLUE!!!!!) as a treatment for varroa. They first used a mister to spray the bees and hive but this caused an unacceptable loss of bees. Recent work has suggested that pouring some liquid paraffin on the top of the brood bars will work just as well.
The active principle is that the bees pick up the liquid as they cross the bars and it forms a thin film over their bodies. This is not enough to affect the bees spiracles but is sufficient to choke the mite. Success rates of over 90% have been claimed.
One benefit of this method is that the liquid paraffin is inert, has no taste and is unlikely to contaminate either the honey or wax.
Integrated Pest Management
Some ideas from the Apicultural Department of the Federal Dairy Research Institute, CH-3097 Liebefeld , Switzerland are given in the attached paper. To view this please click Here