The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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The Classroom

The Classroom – January 2018

- January 1, 2018 - Jerry Hayes - (excerpt)

Q Precarious Haranguing

Hello Mr. Hayes,

I’m a beekeeper here in Central Massachusetts and unlike many hobby beekeepers, I’m not writing to harangue you!

Over the 6 years I’ve been involved in beekeeping, I’ve noticed a marked increase of Varroa destructor and a marked increase in their resistance to available treatments. This fall alone between four weekly treatments of vaporized OA and my standard fall Apivar treatment, mite levels via alcohol wash went from 1% to 4% in only 2 weeks. Our apiary inspector confirmed this is happening county wide.

I am very interested in your RNA interference method and would be extremely interested in volunteering if the product ever comes to consumer field trials…though I know the regulations on field practices limit who may participate. With the increase in “treatment free” beekeeping Varroa are building up at a rapid pace and lax treatment practices are creating resistant mites, I’ve been hoping for a bacterial or DNA based solution. Thanks for your time and efforts!

Ernest Quintiliani


Hello Ernest,

I am not harangued too often anymore as hopefully most know why I have stuck my neck waaaay outside of my shell to come here.

RNA (i) is why I am here. It is a non-gmo, non-chemical normal natural way that cells in most all organisms turn things on and turn them off, dial them up or dial them down.

If it works it would be amazing. If it doesn’t, it won’t be for a lack of trying. And if it is in the middle someplace beekeepers will decide if it is worth the value.

The Honey Bee health Coalition (HBHC) has a couple places to visit for their Varroa Management Guide and Videos

Q April Classroom…Behind in Reading

Hi Jerry,

I am reading the April ABJ, (I’m a little behind on my reading, you know how summer is). There is a question in The Classroom about heating honey. You list two articles to read. I can find them listed online, but they are on forums that require membership or payment. For the article Processing of Honey: a review, I requested a copy from the authors through I don’t know yet whether I will receive a copy of that article or not.  For the article “Crystallization of Honey” I haven’t found a free or easy way of accessing it. Can you recommend a resource where I can read these articles?

I’m a 20 year hobbyist beekeeper and am trying to learn more about the effects of heating honey.  Specifically right now, I am interested in learning more about whether heating honey to a relatively low heat, say 100-110 degrees for an extended period of time, say 24 hours, will slow the crystallization of honey without effecting the enzymes and flavor and “bouquet” of honey.


Dennis Gallagher
Bend, Oregon (the high desert)


Lol, you are behind. I have to do the Classroom 2 months in advance of the month it is published in so had to go back to February of 2017 in order to find April 2017 and see what I said. Whew, Dennis

See if you can access the below. Let me know. Thanks. Jerry

Q Homemade

Hello Jerry

I have been wondering, can you help me? I have been making and using thymol patties for mites. I am scared it might be hurting the queens. That stuff smells very strong. One hive up and left me when I put it in. I couldn’t figure out anything but they didn’t like thymol.

So, how does it work with oxalic acid and vegetable glycerin soaked in shop towels, cut in half and squeezed out, applied once for 4-6 days? Looking for a little help. Thanks in advance.

I sure like The Classroom in the ABJ.

Thanks again.



Good morning Sam. I sure appreciate that you like The Classroom.

It sounds to me that you are using ‘home made’ Varroa control concoctions. The problem with using things and delivery methods that have not gone through rigorous testing is that active ingredients, dosage, activity, off-target consequences to workers, queens and drones are not standardized and consistent for their use and results. The goal is to ultimately control Varroa as safely and sanely as possible. If you don’t and let the honey bees die then you…….are not a good keeper of the bees.

Thymol in the form of the tested and labelled product ApiGuard works well according to label directions. It is a standardized product and has been approved to be used based on consist results to control Varroa within those labelled boundaries.

Oxalic Acid has been tested and approved (labelled) for use in three ways: …