Beekeeping has become quite popular and there are many worries in recent years about protecting the health of our bees while also having little effect on the environment. Healthy bees are important for the growth and production of the colony, but many pests can affect this. Using essential oils can offer a chemical-free, natural way to safely protect a bee colony from pest infestations and keep them healthy. Essential oils are strong and can cause harm to a bee colony if not used properly. It's important to research which oil is going to be best for your hive and how to properly use it.
Below are a few recipes to get you started using essential oils for the health of your colony.
Grease Patty with Essential Oil
Using essential oils will attract bees, leading the mites to the grease patty.
- 1 pound Solid Vegetable Shortening
- 3 pounds Sugar
- Lemongrass Essential Oil, Spearmint Essential Oil, or Cornmint Essential Oil
Mix well until combined, split into 1⁄4 cup portions, and store in the freezer between sheets of wax paper. Add a few drops of essential oils to attract the bees and for overall health.
General Purpose Essential Oil Mixture
- 5 cups Water
- 2 ½ pounds Sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon Lecithin Granules (emulsifier)
- 15 drops Spearmint Essential Oil
- 15 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
Bring the water to a boil and dissolve the sugar. Remove it from heat and quickly add lecithin and essential oils. Stir the mixture until everything is combined. You can also use a blender because lecithin granules can sometimes be hard to incorporate. Do not leave the mixture open around bees. Cool completely before use.
- 1 teaspoon per quart of 1:1 syrup to stimulate brood rearing, pollen collection, and early spring development.
- 2 teaspoons per quart of 1:1 syrup to improve health or to help against cases of dysentery, chalkbrood, and other stress problems.
- 4 teaspoons per quart of 1:1 syrup when introducing new queens. You will likely need to drizzle this over the bees, or they won’t eat it on their own.
Scent Masking Syrup
Spearmint Essential Oil and/or Cornmint Essential Oil can be mixed with 1:1 syrup to mask scents in the hive. The masking syrup can be used for introducing a new queen, when combining two hives, or to deter predators. Add a small amount of oil to the syrup but enough to produce an aroma.
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