Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Honey Bee Tracheal Mites
Beekeepers can interfere with the tracheal mite’s ability to reproduce by placing vegetable oil patties in the hive. These patties, made of solid vegetable oil and sugar, are taken up by the bees because of the sugar. The oil is distributed among the bees in the hive, thinly coating all of the bees. Tracheal mites are less successful in finding day-old bees when all of the bees are coated with oil. At Peace Bee Farm, we keep vegetable oil patties on the hives at all times. We add spearmint and lemon grass essential oils to the mix to make the patties more attractive to the bees. Vegetable oil patties are part of our integrated pest management plan. Resistant strains of honey bees have made the tracheal mite less of a killer today.