The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – February 2024

- February 1, 2024 - -(excerpt)

A “Thank you” to Randy Oliver

Randy is awesome! That article basically says that he FORMALLY asked EPA if off the shelf oxalic acid is OK [“The Status of Our Industry Regarding Varroa Management,” December 2023]. The “non-response” from EPA speaks volumes. Do what we need to control varroa. Oxalic acid is not to be avoided, but used as needed.

Thanks, Randy!
Dave Mentzer

 Trapouts: Theory vs. Reality

I read with some surprise Richard Dunnagan’s criticism of honeybee trapouts [“Trapouts — The Math Doesn’t Work,” December 2023]. His math seems straightforward; but I feel certain that the reality of what is actually going on is quite different from what I assume is his theoretical chain of events leading to the death of the colony. I say this because I have done hundreds of trapouts, and if done correctly the process is complete within six weeks, not the several months he proposes. This is true whether they have ample honey stores or not.

Only on a few occasions have I had a need to open up the structure and look at the dead hive after a trap out. When I have, there were not very many dead bees at all. Eventually most of the bees end up working in the outside trap hive. I certainly think this is much more humane for them than exterminating them. In addition to that, it is worth noting that trapouts reduce the amount of honey the bees leave in the house, since they have to live on it in their last weeks. This helps the homeowner.

I have often pondered what happens in detail during a trapout, as Mr. Dunnagan has. I have observed a very rapid winding down, and it certainly seems to me that brood rearing is also reduced at a very rapid rate. I suspect it’s a complicated process; but it is certainly not the months-long drawn out torture implied in the article.

It is not that I am particularly partial to trapouts, having done hundreds of cutouts as well. It is just that trapouts are a far more humane method of removal for the bees than either cutouts or extermination, in my experience.

Lloyd Ziegler
Mannford, Oklahoma

Apprentice hive painter

Sloan-Letters-picMy husband recently got into bees and is getting great advice from your magazine! He has also had my grandpa as a mentor who kept bees for 50+ years. Anyways, we have a picture of our daughter painting bee hives, and it would make my grandpa and husband so proud to see her picture in the magazine.

Taylor Sloan
Joshua, Texas