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The invasive varroa mites are a serious threat to beekeepers. It is believed to have originated from the Far East where its main host is the Asian honey bee. The European bees are a target and are more susceptible to the mites. Various measures have been tested and proven to help counter the varroa mites. One such measure is the use of smoke treatment when it comes to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of varroosis. This method is effective but requires proper timing and adherence to the recommended application procedure.
Some beekeepers are also skeptical with chemical application as a treatment option; nonetheless, very few measures have been tested and found to be more effective when compared to chemical measures. The main advantage with smoke treatment is the fact that it has no effect on the honey bees but mainly targets the mites. It also does not have any residual effect on honey consumed later on when production resumes.
About the Basalt Varroosis Prevention and Treatment Tablets
The Basalt Varroosis Prevention and Treatment Tablets are highly effective since the product is made up of Thymol and Amitraz. These are highly potent ingredients that boast acaricidal properties (amitraz) and repellant effects (thymol). Amitraz is also referred to as a sublethal miticide mainly targeting the central nervous system of the mites. It is mainly distributed by the honey bees through contact and has been proven to be effective by between 83.8 to 99.5%.
The second primary ingredient – thymol, is made from essential oils derived from plants. It is highly effective since it vaporizes easily and will also be spread from one bee to the other through contact. It is effective with a score of between 70 to 97%.
The main factor determining the effectiveness of these compounds include: treatment period or timing, compound concentration, the bee colony, and the beehive environment. Remember, prevailing conditions such as temperature levels will affect its effectiveness. That is why it is important to ensure proper timing for treatment. Evaporation is essential for the treatment efficacy.
Honey bee population and level of activity within a hive is also a factor that will influence the efficiency of smoke treatment. Activity will influence the distribution of the chemicals, whereas bee population will affect how far the product reaches and ultimate efficacy. It is also worth mentioning that other factors such as brood and delivery method will affect the efficiency of this treatment. These notwithstanding, it is of vital importance that the beekeeper adhere to recommendations while using smoke treatment towards varroa mites.
The 25 tablets contained in the package are sufficient to cater even for bigger apiaries. Each of the tablets contains 12.5mg of Amitraz and 4.5mg Thymol. They are formulated for the treatment and prevention of varroa mites.
This product should be used when prevailing temperatures are not less than 10 degrees Celsius. It should also be used when honey intended for human consumption has harvested. Individuals who are sensitive or have an allergy against any of the primary ingredients should avoid conducting fumigation.
Each tablet is sufficient for a single honey bee colony. The mode of application involves holding the tablet with tongs before setting it ablaze. Any emerging flame should be blown off and the smoldering tablet placed inside the hive. You can use thick metal netting or a wire that is bent to hold the melting tablet and place it inside the hive (on the bottom board). This will allow free air movement through the tablet.
The hive entrance should then be completely closed and the tablet left to dissipate for at least 20 minutes or more. Keep checking to ensure it is fully consumed. If not, then seal the entrance and allow some additional time for melting.
You can also use the tablets for diagnosis of varroosis. In order to do this, a sheet of paper immersed in vegetable fat is placed on the bottom board. Fumigation is carried out and the sheet of paper removed one hour after fumigation has been completed. Review the paper for mite presence and figure out its severity. This will dictate the level of treatment required.
Proper timing is required when using the Basalt Varroosis Prevention and Treatment Tablets. Conduct the procedure twice in spring and at least two or three times during autumn. This will involve treatment in intervals of 4 to 6 days. This is done when the least number of encrusted brood is available. Cutting off of encrusted drone brood is recommended during honey production. This will ensure infested cells are completely removed from the beehive.
Evening is the best time to carry out smoke treatment in beekeeping. At this time, bees have completed their flight and have come back to the hive. Autumn fumigation should also be conducted when all honey intended for human consumption has been harvested. It has been established that Amitraz can get mixed up with honey, which would make it unfit for human consumption.
- The ingredients are derived from natural compounds and have been tested and proven to be efficient against the Varroa destructor mites.
- There is low risk of residues or accumulation of the chemicals in bee products. It is however advisable to carry out fumigation when all honey intended for consumption has been harvested.
- The ingredients target the adult forms of the varroa mites. Since it does not destroy the mites inside encrusted brood, the beekeeper is advised to carry out fumigation in phases. Fumigation should also be conducted when you have the least number of brood in the colony. During the honey production season, cut off all encrusted brood cells to avoid re-infestation.
- The tablets are formulated to guarantee ease of use. Anyone can administer the treatment irrespective of their skill level or experience.
- The tablets help beekeepers ascertain the severity of varroa mite infestation asides aiding in treatment. Effective treatment is achievable only when proper diagnosis has been carried out. Too much usage of the mentioned ingredients can be deadly to bee colonies. It can also end up in honey consumed if not properly administered.
- It is easier to reach the varroa mites since Amitraz and thymol are easily distributed through contact and evaporation respectively. This makes the product one of the most effective in treating varroa infested bee colonies.
Pros and Cons
- Highly effective and its efficacy has been tested and proven.
- Easy to use and does not require expert intervention or any special skills to apply.
- An affordable choice for most beekeepers.
- It does not harm the bees.
- Ideal for diagnosis and treatment of varroa mites.
- It is a safe method with least residual effect on honey intended for consumption.
- The ingredients are derived from natural products and thus are environmentally safe.
- Long lasting solution against varroa mites.
- The product has a long shelf life.
- The 25 tablets are sufficient even for huge beekeeping enterprises.
- Economical to use. A single tablet is sufficient for an entire bee colony.
- The product is only effective in treatment of mites attached to the body of the honey bees. It does not destroy the mites found in sealed brood cells.
The 25 smoke tablets delivered within the package should be stored away from children. Ideal storage temperature is 25 degrees Celsius ,with the package tightly closed so as to keep it safe from light and humidity. The product is also useful strictly within the stipulated time frame. Therefore, do not use it when expiry period has lapsed. Remember, once the package is opened, it will be useful for a period of 24 days. If not fully used by then, safely discard what is remaining.
The Basalt Varroosis Prevention and Treatment Tablets are specially formulated to last a long time. Its expected shelf life is a minimum of two years from time of manufacture. As explained earlier, its shelf life is shortened to 24 days when the package is opened and used. Tightly closed and well stored packages will remain useful for a stipulated time period of 2 years.
A Final Word
The Basalt Varroosis Prevention and Treatment Tablets are a good option for treating varroa mites in your beehive. The method is not only effective, but also a safe one for both the bees and the beekeeper. It is also economical since each of the tablets in the package is sufficient for the fumigation of an entire bee colony. The primary ingredients being amitraz and thymol are widely used in most varroa treatment products. These have been subjected to massive testing and proven to be effective in annihilating the invasive varroa mites. It is however important to adhere to the recommended usage or application.