You are currently viewing Utilizing Important Oils for Honey Bees

Utilizing Important Oils for Honey Bees


Utilizing important oils in beekeeping has develop into a very talked-about solution to promote more healthy colonies. Whereas these merchandise will not be a remedy for the problems going through our colonies, many individuals imagine they could be a optimistic affect Nonetheless, using something within the hive must be completed with warning. Can the use of a vital oil assist your honey bees?

Important Oils Could Enhance Honey Bee Well being

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

Honey bee colonies stay 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 handle themselves. They’ve been doing okay for a really very long time.

Nonetheless, our bees have been uncovered to rising pressures from environmental points and new pests and illnesses in recent times.

Could include affiliate hyperlinks. Learn my privateness and affiliate disclosure coverage for more information.

As bee well being declines, we see a need for extra pure strategies of conserving bees. Curiosity continues to develop in using pure compounds as a substitute of artificial chemical substances.

Varroa Mite Infestations Lead to Poor Colony Well being

I all the time inform the scholars in my on-line beekeeping class that controlling varroa is without doubt one of the most vital keys to beekeeping success.

Utilizing the standard technique of varroa mite remedies is step one however you possibly can discover different choices too. Nonetheless, all the time test to verify they’re protected and efficient.

Is utilizing important oils for mite management a sound- extra pure choice to onerous chemical substances?  Perhaps. 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 way more prone to viruses and different issues.

In fact, it isn’t 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 surroundings for growing younger bees who’re topic to an ever decreasing assorted weight-reduction plan. A bee colony ill is extra more likely 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. 

Be a part of Our Beekeeping Neighborhood

Free “Secrets and techniques to Profitable Beekeeping” plus weekly publication with data about bees, beekeeping and extra…

Are Important Oils Secure 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, regardless that 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 improper approach.

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

Nonetheless, a few of the strategies of utility and most of the oils will not be legally accepted 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 typically, they fight it as a result of somebody recommended it.

Prior to now, a lot of the accepted 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 available on the market.

Advantages of Important Oils Use in Beekeeping

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

The preferred 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 answerable for varroa mites a serious killer of honey bee colonies worldwide.

The fumes confuse mites and block their respiratory pores. Thymol can be energetic towards fungus and considerably efficient answerable for tracheal mites.

Spearmint Oil works in the identical approach 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 enormously disrupt regular colony life.

Lemongrass Oil for Bees

Lemongrass Important OilThe preferred oil used for honey bees is Lemongrass.  It is  used as  a therapy for pests, a complement for well being enhance 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 appeal to 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

If you happen to don’t have the time to make your individual important oil recipes in 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 bettering honey bee colony well being. It’s a proprietary mix containing important oils and different elements. A small quantity of HBH added to sugar water serves as a dietary enhance.

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

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

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

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

Suggestions for Making Your Personal Important Oil Combination

Most recipes will embrace a sugar water element. It’s a well-known undeniable 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 might even see it marketed as lecithin granules.

The right way to Use Important Oils within the Beehive

The most typical technique of utility 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 loads however it is extremely vital to recollect.

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

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 is usually a good selection for the beekeeper.

You will need to take into account that pollen patties have to be used with EXTREME care in areas which have Small Hive Beetles. They will destroy a colony in a short while. Most beekeepers that undergo from them use Small Hive Beetle traps.

You may make your individual 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.

Standard Beekeeping Important Oil Recipes

Recipe #1 Bee Well being Enhance

** Mix effectively – all the time 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 can 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 will not be as standard as they as soon as have been however some beekeepers nonetheless use them. A mixture of crisco and sugar -they have 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 certain are a multitude in scorching climate! Subsequently, the beekeepers who nonetheless use them accomplish that largely within the Winter.

They shouldn’t be used when amassing 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 folk add an excessive amount of product. Proceed with warning.

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

If you happen to 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 essential take into account a few of the different softer remedies similar 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 choose. It’s generally used to discourage bees from an space. It shouldn’t hurt bees so long as it’s utilized in a diluted type.

How do you utilize important oils for bees?

The most typical technique 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 completed with care.

Do important oils damage bees?

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


Leave a Reply