Use of Menthol in Bee Hives
Honey bees breathe menthol vapors into their tracheal tubes. When it comes in contact with the tracheal mites,it either affects mite's nervous system or it robs the mite of oxygen and smothers the mite.
The exact way that the menthol vapors kill the tracheal mite has not been proven at this time. It is known,due to the life cycle of the mite,that the bees must continually breathe the menthol vapors for a minimum of fifteen days in order for the treatment to be effective.
For sufficient vapors,the recommended dosage used to treat the hive is 50 grams or 1.8 ounces.
The bees do not like this vapor in the hive and will try to ventilate the vapor from the hive by fanning. In addition to the label instructions,it is recommended that the following instructions be followed as closely as possible for effective treatment of tracheal mites and efficient use of the expenditure invested in menthol treatment.
The hive of bees should be in a single deep hive body,or two at most. The objective is to fill the chamber with the menthol gas;the smaller the area,the more effective the treatment will be.
An entrance reducer,set to the smallest opening will help to contain the vapors of menthol within the hive. Menthol vapors are heavier than air and tend to drift to the bottom of the hive and through the entrance.
No honey or honey supers should be on the hive(s) at the time of treatment. All treatments should be completed at least two weeks before the honey flow. Each over-wintering colony should be treated with 1.8 ounces/50 grams(a rounded 1/3 measuring cup is about equal to 1.8 ounces) of menthol when there is no surplus honey flow and daytime temps reach at least 65degrees F.
The menthol should be enclosed in square plastic screen or similar porous packet measuring approx. 7 inches square. The packet is then placed on the top bars of the top brood box.
The packet should be left on the hive a minimum of 15 days. However,it can be left for a period of 20-25 days with no ill effect.
During extremely warm weather when temps get up into the 90'sF,it may be necessary to place the treatment packs on hive bottom boards.
If the menthol vapors become too strong within the hive, they will have a tendency to drive the bees out(bees will be seen hanging on the front of the hive).If this happens,the colony is not receiving proper treatment as bees on the outside of the hive are not breathing the menthol vapors. and thus are not subject to treatment. If this condition exists,you may consider placing the hive in the shade or some other cool place.
After treatment,the packet can be retrieved and any menthol left in the packet can be saved and reused,as long as the total amount used in another treatment is 1.8 ounces.
Not all the menthol will evaporate during the 20-25 day period. The bees will tend to propolize the bag, this is a natural occurrence. Care must be taken when retrieving used menthol bags so as not to tear the bags, allowing the menthol to spill down into the hive and onto the developing brood. After the menthol is removed,it can be stored at temps lees than 70degrees F.
The best time to treat colonies for tracheal mites is in the springtime, when daytime temps reach 65 degrees F and in the fall of the year immediately after taking off honey.
It is highly recommended that the colonies be overwintered,which are known to have tracheal mites,be treated in the fall of the year with menthol.
Note:Use of menthol is at your own risk.No endorsement is made or implied by MidniteBee
*read instructions by manufacturer before using product(menthol)