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Lithium Chloride in micro dose kills >90% Varroa



wow- that sounds pretty awesome! very easy to administer too.


So the bees ingest poisonous sugar water to kill the mites on their bodies and then we must hope they don’t place some in a honey cell?


"Currently, we do not know how LiCl is killing the phoretic Varroa mites, and there are few publications on the effect of LiCl in insects40. In human medicine, lithium has been used since the 1870s and is a mood-stabilizing agent indicated for the treatment of manic episodes and as maintenance treatment for bipolar disorder41. In view of their therapeutic use, lithium compounds and their toxicity profile have been carefully investigated. Thus far, a number of enzymes acting on metabolism, development, haematopoiesis and other processes have been proposed as potential targets42,43. These enzymes require metal ions and lithium exerts its activity in an uncompetitive manner, which most likely occurs by displacing a divalent cation. Admittedly, we have currently no indication that the observed miticidal effect of lithium compounds relies on a comparable mode of action.

We are also aware of the fact that our results represent only the first step towards the development of a new veterinary product. Field tests in free-flying colonies are just as necessary as analysis of sublethal and long-term side effects on adult bees and honey bee brood and possible residue problems in honey."


Looks interesting to me. fingers crossed we don’t get varroa here in Oz and fingers crossed that this turns out to be a nice cheap easy fix that isn’t detrimental long term to bees or us. Such small amounts of LiCl though, I’d be surprised if it causes any issues.


My thoughts exactly. People are still looking for the one hit and leave 'em alone treatment.
A combination of existing treatments and proper management will do it. How difficult is it to split your hive as part of swarm management and engineer a broodless period in both halves? It’s easy and there is your window to get the mites.
Us beekeepers are going to get a bad name throwing stuff like Lithium into our beehives…all only my opinion, of course


Any systemic mode of action is instantly open to resistance. I despair at what people are prepared to throw at their bees


My first question was, sure it killed almost all the Varroa, but how well did it work against the offspring of the survivors.


If you are already using foundationless (I.e. naturally drawn small cell) in OZ, you may find that varroa mites will not be a problem.

Check out Michael Bush or Hillary Kearney sites for inspiration.


If small cell worked everybody would be doing it.


Yes Lithium Chloride probably kills mites, but so might arsnic, petrol, and any other number of chemicals which haven’t been tested for long term effects on bees, honey and humans when used as an miticide.

This article has a sensible response to the proposal…

It’s very soluble, so would readily dissolve into uncapped honey. Unless you have the ability to test your honey for the contamination levels of any unauthorised medicines that you use, I’d suggest you really don’t want to consider your honey as a product suitable for human consumption after using them. Lithium Chloride is/was used as a drug in humans for mental illnesses, and it does have a toxic effect on the female reproductive system. It used to be used as a salt substitute but that was stopped when they discovered it’s toxic effects on humans.

I really don’t understand why anyone is getting excited about LiCl, it’s no better than oxalic acid as a miticide, and when OA is used as directed it doesn’t affect honey quality.


I haven’t found that reasoning to be accurate, especially when discussing how humans make decisions. Many humans are resistant to change (reaction to Flow Hive, for example) and also feel the need to DO something.

I think it is interesting that so many people struggle with varrroa, but have not tried allowing their bees to go foundationless and build small cell. It is actually a philosophy based on success and experience. It is not about caring, or lack of it, but how that manifests. I see it similar to parenting styles: authoritative, permissive, neglectful, or authoritarian. Natural Beekeepers are authoritative :purple_heart::honeybee: and are committed to nurturing vigorous and genetically strong bees and hive ecosystems that can survive and thrive indendent of human management.


Fair enough.
My bees are on foundation less frames and they make big cells and lots of drone
You do know that only regressed bees make small cells, don’t you?


I do know that :hugs: We have found it to be a fairly fast process, especially if give them small cell brood frames (from another hive) to jumpstart the regression. We haven’t had an issue with drones.

Your bees have not regressed?


Hi Tracey, why do you believe that the smaller bee is better able to control varroa?



Hi Dan,
A good question for those of you who currently do not have varroa on your continent (or island)…
Mostly based on our 12 years of experience :hugs:
but we followed Michael Bush’s advice from the start:


Nutshell here:

Cheers :purple_heart::honeybee:



So it is sort of a time related method in a sense…

Pests come to islands too for sure. We recently have had Queensland Fruit Fly larvae on Flinders Island, and on the mainland of Tasmania too, which is a shame…


Exactly. The small cell disrupts the varroa life cycle :ok_hand:t4:


Apparently Lithium Chloride was produced for human consumption for a short period of time during the 1940’s as an alternative to salt. It was quickly discontinued for health reasons.

Just a little bit of trivia, courtesy of Wikipedia.


Countless researchers disprove the theory. Successful treatment free beekeepers can have bees that make small cells but the converse is not proven. Fans of it are passionate about it. Plenty of bee keepers here in the uk are treatment free and have big bees.