HomeBeekeepingUtilizing Important Oils for Honey Bees

Utilizing Important Oils for Honey Bees

Utilizing important oils in beekeeping has turn into a highly regarded option to promote more healthy colonies. Whereas these merchandise should not a remedy for the problems going through our colonies, many individuals consider they could be a optimistic affect Nevertheless, using something within the hive ought to be finished with warning. Can the use of a necessary oil assist your honey bees?

Important Oils Might Enhance Honey Bee Well being

Honey bees at front of hive with essential oil bottle image.

Honey bee colonies reside within the pure world and are uncovered to quite a few pests, pesticide and many others. All of us need to have wholesome bee colonies.

And these winged pollinators have some fairly good techniques in place to care for themselves. They’ve been doing okay for a really very long time.

Nevertheless, our bees have been uncovered to growing pressures from environmental points and new pests and illnesses lately.

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As bee well being declines, we see a want for extra pure strategies of retaining bees. Curiosity continues to develop in using pure compounds as an alternative of artificial chemical compounds.

Varroa Mite Infestations End in Poor Colony Well being

I at all times inform the scholars in my on-line beekeeping class that controlling varroa is among the most vital keys to beekeeping success.

Utilizing the traditional methodology of varroa mite remedies is step one however you may discover different choices too. Nevertheless, at all times examine to verify they’re protected and efficient.

Is utilizing important oils for mite management a sound- extra pure choice to arduous chemical compounds?  Possibly. However that is solely true if the therapy has efficacy (that means it really works) and does no different hurt to the colony.

We do know that colonies with excessive a great deal of varroa mites don’t thrive. And, unhealthy colonies are far more inclined to viruses and different issues.

In fact, it’s not simply mites that take a toll on our bees. Environmental modifications and contamination contribute to poor hive well being. 

Colony with varroa mites in brood before essential oil treatment image.

This isn’t atmosphere for growing younger bees who’re topic to an ever decreasing various weight loss plan. A bee colony ill is extra prone to fail.

Beekeepers are devastated emotionally and financially as they watch colony after colony perish from mites and associated well being points. 

In desperation, some strive non-approved strategies. A few of these are nice concepts which are forward of their time and a few can finish in catastrophe. 

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Are Important Oils Protected for Hive Use?

Within the wrestle to maintain hive wholesome, the thought of utilizing pure oils in your beekeeping program is interesting. They’re pure merchandise so we should always have few worries, proper?

Not precisely, though these oils are pure products-that doesn’t imply they need to be used “willy nilly”. They’re highly effective compounds and might do nice hurt when used within the mistaken manner.

The usage of important oils as a meals complement for honey bees is widespread within the beekeeping world. 

Nevertheless, a few of the strategies of software and most of the oils should not legally permitted to be used in beehives. 

Then why do beekeepers use them?  As a result of the bees are sick and beekeepers need to save them. And to usually, they fight it as a result of somebody urged it.

Previously, a lot of the permitted mite remedies contained poisonous substances that accumulate within the wax and honey of the beehive.  These are nonetheless round however new alternate options are coming in the marketplace.

Advantages of Important Oils Use in Beekeeping

  • assist in the management of tracheal mites (a lesser mite drawback)
  • attainable varroa mite discount
  • assist stop nosema (an intestinal illness)
  • help in new queen introduction
  • use as a swarm lure
  • maintain syrup from turning into moldy.

The most well-liked oils utilized in beekeeping are : Thyme Oil, Spearmint Oil and Lemongrass Oil. Some sources advocate Wintergreen Oil, and Tea Tree Oil as effectively.

Thyme Oil accommodates thymol.  It assists accountable for varroa mites a significant killer of honey bee colonies worldwide.

The fumes confuse mites and block their respiration pores. Thymol can be lively towards fungus and considerably efficient accountable for tracheal mites.

Spearmint Oil works in the identical manner as thyme.  It masks the traditional scent of the bees (making them tougher for mites to find).  It doesn’t mimic or intervene with regular colony pheromones. 

These vital pheromones management actions contained in the hive.  We don’t need to add something that can significantly disrupt regular colony life.

Lemongrass Oil for Bees

Lemongrass Important Oil – The most well-liked oil used for honey bees is Lemongrass.  It is  used as  a therapy for pests, a complement for well being increase or as a bait to lure honeybee swarms to traps. 

Lemongrass is anti-fungal, anti-viral and antibacterial. It does mimic some widespread honey bee pheromones.  Watch out when utilizing any lemongrass product with weak hives. 

The scent might entice robber bees from stronger hives. The weaker colony might not have sufficient bees to guard themselves leading to lack of the hive.

Different Bee Feeding Dietary supplements

In the event you don’t have the time to make your personal important oil recipes to your bees, you do have a couple of choices which are prepared to make use of.

Honey B Wholesome” (HBH) is a well-liked complement for enhancing honey bee colony well being. It’s a proprietary mix containing important oils and different substances. A small quantity of HBH added to sugar water serves as a dietary increase.

Many beekeepers use a 1:1 sugar water combination to stimulate brood rearing. This complement helps maintain the syrup contemporary.

I’ve used it for years and can’t say sufficient good issues concerning the product. You’ll at all times discover a bottle of Honey B Wholesome in my gear shed.

One other well-liked model of feed complement utilizing oils is Professional-Well being from Mann Lake. It’s utilized in the identical manner as Honey B Wholesome.

These merchandise are sometimes added to sugar water, blended into pollen patties and added to sugar water for spraying instantly on the bees.

Suggestions for Making Your Personal Important Oil Combination

Most recipes will embody a sugar water element. It’s a well-known proven fact that water and oil doesn’t combine simply.

Getting your oils to disperse effectively in sugar water is made simpler by means of Lecithin Powder. This powder eases the blending of your merchandise and does no hurt to the bees. Solely a small quantity is required so it lasts a very long time. You may even see it marketed as lecithin granules.

The best way to Use Important Oils within the Beehive

The commonest methodology of software is mixing the oil recipe into sugar syrup.  That is then fed to the bees.

Watch out when utilizing them in bee sugar water.  Observe recipes, measure rigorously. Important oils are highly effective stuff ! I do know I’m saying this lots however it is vitally vital to recollect.

Many beekeepers spray the combination (blended with sugar water) instantly on the honey bees. Do that with warning! -don’t chill the bees or spray instantly into the cells. I’d encourage newbie beekeepers to not spray however feed as an alternative.

Beekeeper feeding essential oils in sugar water to colony image.

Pollen Patties With Important Oils

When used correctly, pollen patties that already include important oils could be a sensible choice for the beekeeper.

It is very important understand that pollen patties have to be used with EXTREME care in areas which have Small Hive Beetles. They’ll destroy a colony in a short while. Most beekeepers that undergo from them use Small Hive Beetle traps.

You may make your personal protein pollen patties. They are often frozen and used as wanted. When to make use of them and the way a lot to make use of will rely in your location.

Widespread Beekeeping Important Oil Recipes

Recipe #1 Bee Well being Enhance

** Mix effectively – at all times shake earlier than use – Use 2 tsp of this focus to a quart of sugar water feed

Recipe # 2 Well being Enhance

Mix completely in a blender (5 min).  Pour into ½ gallon jug and add sufficient water to make 2 quarts.  

Do NOT warmth the important oils.  This may make a focus.  Use 1 cup of focus to 1 gallon of cool syrup.

Grease Patties and Important Oils

Grease patties with essential oils on a beehive top bars image.

Grease patties should not as well-liked as they as soon as had been however some beekeepers nonetheless use them. A mixture of crisco and sugar -they had been initially used to fight tracheal mites. 

The addition of important oils “might” present some varroa management. Grease patties can be utilized on hives a lot of the yr. However, they positive are a multitude in sizzling climate! Subsequently, the beekeepers who nonetheless use them accomplish that largely within the Winter.

They shouldn’t be used when accumulating honey for human consumption.  Along with being messy, patties too might trigger issues with honey bee pests.

When attempting pure oils in beekeeping, use VERY small quantities – most people add an excessive amount of product. Proceed with warning.

We wouldn’t have strong proof that using important oils will deal with varroa mite points. However, they could help bee well being in different ways in which helps promote productive hives.

In the event you determine to strive utilizing important oils in your hives, do your analysis first and don’t belief the opinion of just one supply. (Not even whether it is me.. LOL)

Monitor your hives and if crucial think about a few of the different softer remedies equivalent to oxalic acid or formic acid. Each work effectively in sure conditions.


Does peppermint oil hurt honey bees?

Peppermint oil has a scent that bees don’t favor. It’s typically used to discourage bees from an space. It shouldn’t hurt bees so long as it’s utilized in a diluted kind.

How do you utilize important oils for bees?

The commonest methodology of utilizing important oils in beekeeping is so as to add them to meals. Sugar water formulation and pollen patties are good examples. In some recipes, bees are frivolously sprayed with a important oil combination – however this have to be finished with care.

Do important oils harm bees?

When used within the correct energy and software many oils promote good bee well being. However, even pure important oils will be poisonous to bees and different bugs.



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