Thymol                          

Thymol - The Easy Varroa Treatment for Beekeepers


    >>>The premeasured doses of pure crystalline Thymol 
    >>> No extra space necessary between top bars and cover
    >>> Thymol kills more than 90% of the mites

The advantages of Thymol :   - easy to use - high efficacy - no resistance - does not pollute - organic product.

Ingredient: 100% Thymol, more than 99.6% pure

Chemical Class: Essential oil

 Method of Application: Thymol has been applied to beehives world wide by various methods; crystal, powdered and liquid Thymol are used. Thymol provides a controlled release of vapors. Don't place Thymol on top of the brood, the best is on top of the frames close to the back wall. Add a fresh Thymol dose 2 or 3  weeks later without removing the first amount .
5 frame nuc = ½ dosage, 1 deep super = 1 dosage (12grams), 2 deep supers = 1 ½ - 2 dosage, two or  three weeks later the same amount again, without removing the first.
Applications can be made in any time, when conditions are suitable. All applicable restrictions must be followed. Thymol should not be use when surplus honey supers are in place.
Thymol should be used in spring and late summer, when temperatures are above 15ºC / 59ºF. Do not use Thymol at temperatures above 33ºC / 90ºF. For best effect - daytime 15º-20ºC / 59º-68ºF, without falling below 12ºC / 54ºF for long periods.
Screened bottom should be closed while Thymol is being applied. Reduce entrance to approx 15 cm / 6 inches.

Operator Safety: Thymol is generally safe to use and apply. Rubber gloves and eye goggles should be worn when handling Thymol, because it can irritate the skin and eyes. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN and avoid inhaling vapors.

Residues: In the EU, Thymol is a non-toxic essential oil for which there is no minimum residue requirement. Nevertheless, Thymol leaves a slight taste in honey and wax, which does not persist for long.

Resistance: There are no published reports of any resistance of Varroa to Thymol.

*Thymol is not a registered pest control product and cannot be sold in Canada. Please be aware before you obtain or use the material you are assuming responsibility for ascertaining the legality of its contents in your geographic location. 

As of January 1 2015, the German health authorities deregulated the use of Thymol as a treatment against Varroa mites in honey bee colonies. Since Thymol is a natural ingredient of honey, it is no longer considered as medicine, which is only available in pharmacies.  Therefore beekeepers can freely purchase Thymol for use in bee colonies, from any available sources.

Thymol vapor kills the mites but doesn't harm your bees.

Thymol treatment showed promise as a control agent against Varroa and tracheal mites in a 1998 study conducted at the University of Guelph and it is registered for use against these mites in Canada. Thymol should not be used during honey flow.

Thymol can be safely handled with gloves see (datasheet), in well ventilated area.

Thymol is not a winter treatment and needs warm temperatures to be effective.

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   Comments on Varroa Control  

by Heinz Kämmerer

The Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) is probably the most destructive parasite of the honeybee (Apis mellifera), which beekeepers have encountered todate. Originally a pest of the Asian honeybee (Apis cerana), the mite is thought to have transferred to the western honeybee in the Philippines, where both were kept in close proximity, in the early 1960's Varroa destructor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The mite rapidly spread to nearly all parts of the world, where bees are kept, entering Canada in 1989; the mite was first found on Vancouver Island in Devastating mite strikes Vancouver Island bees 1993 (personal observation). Varroa weakens bees by feeding on the blood of both adult bees and immatures, and by transferring viruses between individual bees and between colonies. If the mites are not controlled, infested colonies will die out.

Over the years, a number of highly effective synthetic miticides were developed. Compounds, such as Apistan, Bayvarol, Amitraz and Coumaphos were widely used over much of the beekeeping world. However, the extensive use and abuse of these compounds, over many years, resulted in the development resistance in the mites, causing these chemicals to become increasingly less effective. http://www.mitegone.com/pdfpages/Synthetic miticides contamination Randy Oliver Oct 09 B.pdf

Moreover, the abovementioned miticides are fat soluble, and with continued use, small quantities of these compounds are absorbed into the combs. While the quantities found in the wax are too minute to cause visible harm to the bees, they are stress factors which, when added to other stresses impinging on the bees, under some circumstances, can have negative effects on the colonies. This fact alone constitutes a persuasive reason to discontinue use of these miticides, when alternate control methods are available.

Alternative treatments are available. Organic acids, such as formic acid, oxalic acid, and lactic acid, and thymol, as well, effectively control Varroa without leaving potentially harmful residues.

A number of alternative miticides, including formic acid, oxalic acid and lactic acid, as well as thymol are available. Although some of these organic acids have been used as varroacides for decades, none have been found to leave residues in beeswax, or to induce resistance in the mites. Unlike the acids, the essential oil, thymol, will leave very low levels of non-toxic residues in wax; these are not cumulative over time, and will evaporate within several months, if the combs are stored in a well-ventilated location. Resistance to thymol has not been found.

The effectiveness of formic acid and thymol is strongly dependent on the ambient temperature. Success in treatment can only be achieved at temperatures between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius. Compared to thymol, formic acid has the advantage of killing the mites in capped cells. However, it is less well tolerated by the bees than is thymol, and – like all acids, must be handled with due care by the beekeeper.

Oxalic and lactic acids are effective under a somewhat wider temperature range. However, neither compound will penetrate the cappings of brood cells, greatly reducing their effectiveness when there is brood in the colonies. The best time of year in which to use these varroacides, therefore, is late autumn and winter, whenever the colonies can be safely opened.

Success in controlling the Varroa mite is based on accurate observations and careful attention to detail. In order to decide whether and when to treat for Varroa, the first step is to determine the actual Varroa population present in a given colony. To that end, a sticky board is placed onto the hive bottom for a period of 1 – 3 days. If the natural mite fall (i.e. without the use of miticides) amounts to 6 mites or more, per day, the colony should be treated immediately.

If the natural mite fall, in early August, amounts to 100 mites or more per day, the colony contains more than 10,000 mites and will probably die out soon if treatment is not initiated immediately. If the colony is on a screened bottom board, the screen must be covered, so that the treatment will be fully effective. After the treatment, the mite level should be checked again, by using the sticky board. It is important to remember that the success of a treatment or treatments is not determined by the number of dead mites on the sticky board, but by the number of mites that remain alive within the colony.

It should also be noted that, even if the Varroa treatment has been highly successful, large numbers of mites can again be imported in a short time by bees from neighbouring colonies, especially, if they are from colonies with heavy mite populations. For this reason, better overall control is achieved in an apiary if all colonies are treated at the same time, than if only colonies with high mite levels are selected for mite control treatment.

The use of both formic acid and Thymol as varroacides in late summer is affected only when they ambient day-time temperature reaches at least 15º C. Both compounds will evaporate within the colony at lower temperatures, but do not reach concentrations lethal to the mites.

If in the late fall, the same degree of mite control is to be achieved with formic acid as can be accomplished with Thymol, 4 formic acid treatment (each 40 ml of 60% acid per colony) must be applied within 2 weeks.

To kill any remaining mites with oxalic acid (liquid or vapor), a mite kill of 90%+ can be achieved only in broodless colonies. For this reason application of the acid should occur only at the end of November or the beginning of December.