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Rhubarb plant mitigating mites?

My mentor read somewhere that the rhubarb plant leaves is being used, to extract an oil or substance for mitigating mites. I think he indicated it might be OXALIC Acid? Just curious if anybody thought about planting rhubarb plants near or around the hive entrances. I meant to give this a try just to see. Since I’m setting up 12 hives all in the same area, I thought about planting rhubarb around three or four of them as a test. I know it’s a few years out before I might be able to give feedback, but just thought I would ask first as well.

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I too tried the Rhubarb though my rhizome did not do well as my soil is to high in acid.

Rhurbarb leaves contain oxalic acid which is an effective treatment for varroa.

However I think it is highly unlikely that planting rhurbarb plants near hives could result in adequate concentrations of oxalic acid reaching varroa mites inside the hive, as there is no mechanism for this to happen.


I totally agree with this. But if anyone has excess rhubarb that they would like to ship to me, I won’t charge you for taking it off your hands… :smile:


I agree with @Dawn_SD & @JimM. Any excess that Dawn can’t handle can be sent to Wilma here at Buderim, Qld. Australia.

PS Hi @Martha, have you tried to sweeten your soil with dolomite. Acidic soil was my main problem when I started growing veges. Once I started using dolomite, everything came good. I just don’t use it while growing potatoes.

This video shows me burying orange skins in my vege garden. Orange skins being acidic.


I read that as DYNAMITE. :smile: I can just imagine @JeffH dynamiting cane toads. Very funny. :blush:


While this is sort of what I was ultimately going to do. In its place a few partial leaves on the top of the hive inside the box. The bees ultimately will remove it and didn’t know if that would help mitigate mites. Presently I use an essential oil mixture on a drink coaster that I soak in essential oils and they remove the drink coaster piece by piece and by doing so mites are mitigated. I virtually never find mites in my hive. And was just thinking this is just another preventive measure.

Just looking for thoughts, certainly not any guarantees just didn’t know if anybody else had tried this.

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That looks like a healthy solution to some soil amendment. However, I’ve used lime in the past and that works great too. Thanks for the tip!

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This is certainly interesting and worth a try.

Even if it only provides a 10 or 15% reduction, all the other efforts are providing a little reduction i.e. screen bottom board, healthy hive, a queen that has been bred for some mitigation/resistance. It’s just another little step. Just didn’t want to cause death or other issues to the hive. I will take baby steps on the number of leaves I place in the top. Probably start out with just 1/2 a one.

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I wonder if other veggies that contain oxcilic acid would work.

Hey Dawn:

Got plenty of both ( rhubarb n mites ). Sorry :neutral_face:! Not sharing at the moment … not got my fill of rhubarb pies yet this season :laughing:… I could loan you a few mites :laughing:!

So far my mite levels are low this Spring (knock on wood). But that could change … I’ve got a young lady that just started to Flow2 dropping by Saturday to help me with my hives (If the Wx is mild n not pouring). Might do a check sugar roll n maybe “Walk-Away Split” on my Bamboo hive. Guess I’ll see how colonies are on the weekend !



I have heard of people deliberately planting Oxalis near their hives. Not sure it really has a significant effect though. This nice little article lists other edibles which contain Oxalic Acid. :blush:


And one would definitely have to live in a climate where it doesn’t freeze. Interesting article

I’m a new beekeeper. I have 4 hives and would love to do things as “naturally” as possible-including treating mites. I’m curious what essential oil mixture you use. Thanks!

There are a few essential oil recipes when using the search function.
Marty’s recipe is around post 80 on this thread.

I have plenty but you have to pick it up. Our mailman wont take it.
When did you say you will be here? I can provide bed and breakfast at no extra charge.

Rhubarb is an excessive feeder. I put chook dung at least 100mm (4") deep around all plants twice a year. Once in early spring and once after clear felling it in about mid January to get a second crop before it goes dormant in Winter.

PS It has to be watered at least every other day or so to get a good crop. Should grow well in your area. I use an old bath now to limit the crop.


I hope to take you up on that one day! :blush:

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I used to grow rhubarb under a dripping garden tap for many years, till I replaced the tap washer and it died, I guess from lack of water. back then everyone grew it but sadly I seldom see it and many, many years since I have enjoyed stewed rhubarb and ice cream. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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You are right on. But everyone grew a lot of other veg as well.
I stew it with apple and goes on my rolled oats and yogurt for breakfast.