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Treatment of tracheal mites


I have no idea if my bees have them but if they eat this recipe for grease patties is it a bad thing? I have just one final treatment of varroa vapor to lay on the ladies and now I’m worried about throat mites. Opinions welcome. patties%20for%20trachael%20mites


Thanks for posting that @Martha. It looks pretty easy to make. I never have tried it (and really wish we didn’t have to think about yet more mites :flushed:) but what could be the harm? I’ll be eager to hear from others with more experience too.


Me too Eva as that kills them over winter too and spreads to the other bees. I’m making some. What’s funny is the essential oils. Spearmint is in honey bee healthy but this treatment needs wintergreen. I wonder why one oil is best over another?


I wonder who comes up with these recipes. An expert or some guy in his garage that thinks he is an expert. On the internet if something is repeated enough it seems to become fact. While they might work we have no way of knowing. If someone reputable like Randy Oliver from scientific beekeeping or someone with a science background tested this I would have more confidence. Perhaps wintergreen oil is well known to work in the bee industry. A Google search and a little time might confirm this.


I did a quick search while having my coffee. A little more varroa then tracheal. This is cut and paste from Randy Oliver. Acarologist (someone who studies mites) Dr. Jim Amrine, working in conjunction with beekeeper Bob Noel maintains an up-to-date website on mite control in honey bee hives with essential oils and formic acid fumigation at: http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/varroa06.htm. There is a wealth of information on essential oils there.

They have developed a four-part protocol for mite control consisting of:

  1. Screened bottom boards

  2. Feeding two essential oils: spearmint and lemon grass (constituents of Honey B Healthy TM, a product now marketed by Noel)

  3. Feeding wintergreen/salt/grease patties (the salt is surprising to me, since it is generally considered toxic to bees), and

  4. Their 50% formic acid fumigator: details on their website.

I’d be very happy to hear from any beekeepers who have used this system.

Kitchen chemists and oils

Since the essential oils are so much fun to play with, numerous beekeepers have indulged in kitchen chemistry to mix up varroa treatments. We don’t hear much from those who kill their bees outright, nor from those whose colonies die later due to lack of efficacy or colony stress due to the treatment. Those whose bees survive for a season generally post their recipe to the internet, where it gains a cyberlife, independent of its actual efficacy.

If it were easy to come up with an inexpensive application method for essential oils, those clever (and desperate) Europeans would likely have done so by now. The “margin of safety” between the dose that kills mites, and the dose that kills bees is narrow. In addition, evaporation is extremely temperature sensitive. Add to that the fact that individual colonies respond differently to the treatment—some will propolize up the material, some will quickly remove it, some fan it away from the broodnest, and others remove the brood.

Experiment if you will, but don’t bet your whole operation on an unproven recipe! Do your homework—start with the two Canadian Honey Council pages . …the above link does not work. Try this if interested https://www.beeworks.com/using-essential-oils/


I got the recipe from a Tennessee agricultural website last year sometime so I don’t have the link any longer. Thanks for joining in the conversation as I am a new beekeekper and want to do what’s best for my bees. Though I would like to be clearer in my treatment. I am doing varroa treatment right now and am gearing up to treat for the parasite that invades the bees throats. This is why I made the post. :smiley:


That recipe is based on one developed by Diana Sammataro, who has done a lot of research on tracheal mites and how to treat for them. Hers doesn’t have the wintergreen in it, though. She was a PhD, Professor of Entomology and worked at the USDA bee lab. She is now retired and writes a textbook on beekeeping and bee biology. :wink:

As an aside, if you use OAV for Varroa, it probably gets a lot of the tracheal mites too. :blush:


HI Dawn, I thought the formic acid treated the tracheal mites. I have not seen reference to the oxylic acid treating the trachea mites. OMG I’m sneezing so badly while posting this there are typos and I could care less. Are the 2 acids one and the same?

By the way as an interesting observation that might not amount to anything. Varroa treatments well well. Treatment 1 didn’t show to many dead varroa after treatment on a cleaned bottom board. Second treatment on a cleaned bottom board showed lots of dead varroa and the last treatment showed a few but not many dead varroa.

PS the flashing works great and I was able to cut it longer to grasp upon installation and removal.


No, they are not. But they work in a very similar way, so there is some speculation in the entomological literature that oxalic acid vapor may well be effective against tracheal mites. :wink:

By the way, in the interests of education, a bee’s trachea is not really in its “throat”. :blush: I have dissected them out from about 50 bees, looking for tracheal mites, and the tracheae (plural) are actually in thorax, just behind the head. Each trachea opens onto the thorax, quite close to the wings. The dissection is extremely technically challenging, requiring a good dissecting microscope and very fine instruments… :hushed:


I know as I was having a senior moment and could not think of the word trachea! I just plunged forward! :smiley: LOL! It drove me crazy for a moment. And DUH I could have looked at my own header!


I am having a lot of those these past few years. Drives me nuts. :heart_eyes: