Albuquerque Beekeepers

Urban beekeeping in New Mexico's largest city.

Hello All --

A fellow beek, Mary Young, asked me to post the recipe for essential oil grease patties, which we use to curtail varroa d. infestation and eliminate the chance of tracheal mites. It's very easy to make and as we have one hive that has shown signs of varroa in the past we use it in late summer/early fall. The recipe is courtesy of West Virginia University's extension office.

Again, we have had one hive live with varroa d. infestation since 2007. When a fellow beekeeper told me to use Apistan and gave me a strip to put in my hive, I took one whiff of it and just knew I wasn't going to put that near my bees. From that point we vowed that nothing made by the Bayer Corp. or Monsanto or any other chemical corporation would come near our hives. Since using the grease patties every fall, in combination with screened bottom boards and sticky board (a simple poster board smeared with olive oil will do) to catch and count the mites, we have seen the infestation drop significantly to nearly none.

Once you make the patties (you can also use spearmint or peppermint oil) form them into small flat burger-type discs and put them directly on the tops of the brood frames. It's also recommended to put a thin roll (about one-half inch in diameter and long enough to span the entrance) across the entrance about a quarter-inch back from the opening (otherwise it blocks the entrance and can be washed away by rain.)

The bees eat the grease patties, which essentially make them very slippery and difficult for the mite to grab on to. Also, the wintergreen oil repels the mite, the mites fall through the screened bottom board and onto the sticky board where they die a miserable death. Yay.

This recipe will make a batch to treat about 8-10 hives, depending on the number of brood chambers and the size of the patties.

Current Formula:

4.4 pounds (1814.4 g) of organic granulated sugar
3 ounces (88.8 ml) of corn oil
1.5 Pounds (680.4 g) of vegetable shortening (I use organic vegetable shortening)
1 pound (463.4 g) of honey
1/2 Pound (226.8 g) of mineral salt (pink color) approx. $8.00 for 50 # from feed stores.
2.2 ounces (65 ml) of wintergreen oil.

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