bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Monday, July 05, 2004

Reaching the parts that other varroa treatments can't

A new varroa control technique has been developed not a million miles from here — in Southampton UK.

Exosect, a spin-out company from Southampton University, has developed a novel way of distributing varroa-controlling treatments around a colony using powder that can be made to stick to the bee by exploiting its natural electrostatic charge. The wax powder used as the carrier medium is a harmless food grade substance and, when charged, can be mixed with oils, such as thymol, used in some anti-mite products.

Speaking to BBC News Online, Georgina Kemp, spokeswoman for Exosect, said that because the powder sticks to the bees it spreads all over the hive, including inside comb cells where bees develop.
"When the mites are actively developing, they do so in the brood cells where the bee larvae are growing," she added.

"One of the problems with other products is that they rely on vapour action so once the brood is capped they are no longer effective."

By contrast, she said, the powder got right into the brood cells.
It seems that the powder is still in trial phase using thymol as the anti-varroa treatment. Efficacy is described as “good”. Integrated Pest Management (rotation of treatments) is still the order of the day, however.



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