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Treatment of Honey Bees for Acarine Mite (Tracheal Mite) Infestation

This page is credited in full to Dave Cushman who created it. His voice is expressed in black colour text and any additions or comments in blue belong to myself. Credit: Dave Cushman’s website.

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Various Treatments that are (or have been) recommended for treating the Acarine or tracheal mite that infests honey bees, are listed on this page and the links that lead from it.

Folbex VA

Folbex VA used to be the preferred treatment for Acarine in UK, but has not been available for many years as it would be too costly to obtain a veterinary licence. However there is a linked page on Folbex VA which gives the details of how it was used when it was available.

Oil of Wintergreen

Also known as Methyl Salicylate, formula… C8H8O3 ?It is distilled from various species of plants that stay green in winter, hence the name. It should be noted that there are different species used in UK to those in many US texts.

Somewhere between 1920 and 1925, Dr. J. Rennie, recommended wintergreen in preference to the original Frow treatment for treatment of Isle of Wight Disease (whatever it really was).

Between 1920s and 1940s it was common in UK for a wicked bottle of wintergreen oil to be kept in the bottom of the hives as a matter of routine, This was purported to control Acarine infestations, but I have seen no specific trial results on the effectiveness.

Manley used a small bottle (about 25 ml) of Oil of Wintergreen with a wick, or a small flat shoe polish tin with the lid perforated with holes of 6 mm to 9 mm. The tins were filled with cotton wool, with a disc of felt as the top surface, the cotton wool being completely saturated with the wintergreen. He kept such evaporators in all hives and mating nucs all year round.

The wick used has been reported differently in different texts, but such a wick is only a means to provide a large surface for evaporation and should not be critical. Three forms are mentioned… The first being cotton pyjama cord, the second being lamp wick (used in the flat tins by some), but the third requires a little explanation… It uses a soft cotton ‘string’ that was sold for knitting into dishcloths, six strands of this were laid parallel and loosely knotted close to one end, the long strands were fed into the small bottle and knot rested in or on the mouth and the short strands were fanned out to do the majority of the evaporating.

Menthol

In the United States Acarine is a big problem, they refer to the Acarine mite by the term ‘tracheal mite’, which of course, reflects it’s method of infestation.

Bee treatment in the US requires approval by their food and drug administration department. Menthol crystals are the only US approved chemical treatment for Acarine or tracheal mites.

Menthol is a crystalline alcohol, formula… C10H20O ?It is obtained from oil of peppermint and is used in medicines, cooling salves and smoking materials.

 

Menthol crystals are used as a fumigant, the crystals sublime into the gaseous state as well as going through a liquid phase, but the process is very temperature sensitive. Vapour is released above 21

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