"Healthy Honey Bees from Brood Fed Essential Oils"

We have observed the use of various essential oils has a positive effect on the bees. The underlying mechanisms of action are not fully understood; therefore claims of efficacy cannot be made. There are also various reports that state they actively stimulate the immune system in helping to resist pathogens. This is also poorly understood. Also, the process in which the oils are extracted and growing conditions can make a difference in efficacy from year to year making it even more difficult to make claims.

We make no claims of efficacy using essential oils only observations.


Essential oils, Mineral oil and Vegetable oils seem to positive effect on honeybee health. Our research and observations show that honey bees are healthier and calmer when treated with oils. The action of the oils (Physical, Chemical or Sensory Related) is still unknown. We do not make any claims of the efficacy for controlling Diseases or Mites Using oils.

The pictures above and below were taken 10/16/99 from a hive fed essential oils. The hive was fed essential oils during late winter, late summer and early fall which kept the hive healthy during the entire brood rearing season. The varroa mite populations in the treatment hives increased in the cells during the fall honey flow in September and some deformed bees were found. It is difficult to determine the exact percentages of mite infestation during oil and acid treatments. A patch of brood on one frame may have under 5% infestation and the one next to it may have 20% or more. The oils are not evenly distributed by the bees throughout the hive, especially in non-hygienic hives and during nectar flows. Our acid treatments are dependant on constant brood area temperature which creates a thorough fumigation of the entire hive, while the oils are dependent on several factors such as hygienic behavior, honey flow, etc. Our observations show that mites have to come into direct contact with the oils to have an effects. In contrast, using the acids in the wick system fumigates the entire hive.


Hive fed essential oils.

Notice the nice, rounded, full and clean, light colored cappings on the comb above! This picture was taken after most bees were shaken off.

"Control Hive"

The picture below was taken 10/23/99 from a control hive that had mites resistant to fluvalinate. The comb below has about 30% - 40% mite infestation in the cells. With this degree of Varroa infestation, we find that cells on capped brood are dark in color, and cappings are sunken with a greasy look. But, the hive above, fed essential oils in syrup, shows that the oils help the hive remain healthy when fed ad lib during dearths of nectar. The hive below was treated with two Apistan strips and grease patties on 10/23/99 and will probably not survive the winter. Varroa mites are now showing resistant to Apistan.

"Healthy Bees on Brood given the Organic Acid Treatment"

The picture below was taken 10/25/99 of a hive that had about 40% mite infestation five weeks earlier. This hive was given the Organic Acid treatment using the dual wick system in the PVC Deal™ in mid September. I only found a few patches of brood at this time of the year. I opened ten cells from the patch of brood below and only found one mite. With such a low mite count at this time of year, with only a few patches of brood, shows the treatment worked extremely well in this hive. Five hundred millileters of 18% formic, 4% acetic and 78% water evaporated through the wick system in five days. This hive had eight solid frames of brood and was full of bees when the test began and it kept a constant 94° F temperature. Judging by the current mite count there was probably a 95% or better mite kill using the wick system with the acids in this hive.

The bees were shaken off the comb in order to take the picture. Notice the clean, rounded, light colored cappings on the brood. On the left of the frame is a piece of the wick that fell off the pine stick which the bees propolized. The bees do not tear up and remove the wicks in the oil and acid treatments as they do in the feeding treatments.

Notice the light colored, clean, rounded cappings seen on hives treated with the oils and acids. The oils and acids act as antibiotics in addition to killing mites.