Dipping 1/3 roll of towel (core removed) into
a 50/50 mix of Crisco and menthol. Keep the mixture just above
the melting point.
Removing the saturated roll of towel.
The roll is hot and it drips. There are strong fumes.
Be careful. Work outdoors if possible.
Bagging a finished roll of towels. Menthol
evaporates if not enclosed. Use ASAP, and store towels in a
cool place until needed
1/3 towel placed at back of hive
to avoid driving bees away from the brood. The pink is an
extender patty. Feeder in foreground
rolls of 55 sheets each.
Treats 3,300 hives once or 1,650 hives twice
Melt roughly equal amounts (by weight) of Crisco
vegetable shortening and menthol crystals in a pot. Do it outside
or under a fume hood. Be aware: the mixture is very flammable.
Avoid excess heat, since menthol is very volatile -- and too expensive
to boil off for no good reason.
* 1 box
Crisco is 20 kg. That is 20,000 g (or 44 lbs)
* 1 drum of
menthol is 25 kg. That is 25,000 g (or 55 lbs)
* 1 ice
cream pail of menthol is about 4 lbs.
* Melt 1/2
box of Crisco and 5-1/2 pails menthol at a time, using a washtub and torch or burner.
Cut 20 rolls of blue shop towels into thirds to make 60
rolls about the size of toilet paper rolls .
Remove the cardboard inner core. Soak the rolls
of towel in the menthol/oil mixture until fully saturated.
Drain a bit and place the rolls into ZipLoc bags.
Store them in a cool place until needed.
Result: 60 (1/3 size) rolls x 2 batches
60 x 55 sheets per roll = 3,300 sheets each with 6g menthol and 6g
Take them to the field and place one of the 1/3 sheets
on the top bars of each hive at the front or back, not
right over the cluster. Daytime temperatures should not exceed 70
degrees F or be much under 50. Results will vary with the hive
and entrance design, location and whether the bees are still wrapped or
not. Menthol will evaporate if left in the sun or a hot place.
Keep unused rolls sealed and in a cool place. Warning: Too much
menthol will drive bees off the brood or kill brood.
Repeat in ten days or two weeks
That's it. Forget about tracheal mites for a year
or more. (Do check a bit in the fall, though)
We only got around to one treatment and found a year
later that we did not find tracheal mites
in a cursory exam that should have turned up any serious problems.
We treat in spring before the weather gets too hot.
It's best to check your bees twice a year, though --
spring and fall.
Don't just assume you have control. Be sure.
Note: Samples taken after treatment will test
positive, since dead mites remain inside
the adult bees until the bees die of old age. Therefore
subsequent testing to prove
efficacy must wait at least six weeks after the treatment.
Here are four good articles from
BEE-L with more details about the Blue Shop Towel Method