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why are bees disappearing? Apis mellifera and varroase

In this section we try to give an overview of the CCD - the Colony Collapse Disorder, one of the biggest mysteries in contemporary beekeeping. Many of the beekeepers discover their beehives completely empty. This happens mostly after winter, but, by exception also during the summer season. Scientists did not find a plausible explanation for the phenomenon till now, but in general it is accepted that a combination of different factors causes the CCD. Main reason would be the contamination of the bee colonies by the Varroa destructor mite. The Varroa mites live from the fluids of the Apis mellifera (and Apis serrana), and they propagate in the bee cells when the larves morph into pops. When the larves are born, their wings are totally deformed, and the new bees have a weak constitution. Their cranky health in combination with the monocultural agriculture and the increasing amount of pesticides makes that the city honeybees in these times have a higher degree of survival than the bees foraging in the countryside.

varroa mitelifecycle of the varroa mite

further reading:
Natalia Damiani, Liesel B. Gende, Pedro Bailac, Jorge A. Marcangeli & Martín J. Eguaras (2009). “Acaricidal and insecticidal activity of essential oils on Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae) and Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae)”.

plants with a specific value for pollinating insects

Starting from the pending problem of the Varroa contamination in bee colonies, and in the context of a paper for my herbalist studies, I will research the phytochemicals in the herb Thymus vulgaris (and Thymus serpyllum) - both highly melliferous, nectar-rich plants and on top of that also very valuable plants for their production of the chemical Thymol, the basic ingredient for a lot of anti-varroa drugs.
Working with the bees, and my interest for the behaviour of a colony as a super organism, pushed me into the fields of botanics, physics and chemistry. It is important to map the foodsources of the bees and to gather information about the nectar and pollen values of the different plants in their foraging areas, 3 km radius around the hive. With the knowledge collected during my herbalist studies I can cover yet a valuable part of this necessary information.
Bee life is immediately linked to flowers and plants. The presence of melliferous plants is extremely important in every season.
Below you can find some sites with a list of good honeyplants, their blooming period and their pollen and nactar values:

Thymus vulgaris - monography

thyme seedsfolium Thymii

Thymus vulgaris, seeds
Thyme seeds are small and round (0.5 mm dia.), ………….. folium Thymi
hard, black and smooth

references ⇒ connected OpenGreens database, Thymus serpyllum (compare function) ⇒ libervitae, Thymus monografie ⇒ alles over tijm publicaties
World Health Organisation - monography Herba Thymi ⇒ Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases
{{herb:thymol-tegen-varroa.pdf| ⇒ Thymol kristallen tegen varroa

phytochemicals: thymol

Thymol (also known as 2-isopropyl-5-methylphenol, IPMP) is a natural monoterpene phenol derivative of cymene, C10H14O, isomeric with carvacrol, found in oil of thyme, and extracted from Thymus vulgaris (common thyme) and various other kinds of plants as a white crystalline substance of a pleasant aromatic odor and strong antiseptic properties. Thymol also provides the distinctive, strong flavor of the culinary herb thyme, also produced from T. vulgaris.
Thymol has been used to successfully control varroa mites and prevent fermentation and the growth of mold in bee colonies, methods developed by beekeeper R.O.B. Manley. He propagated the idea of using thymol in syrup intended for winter feeding in order to prevent fermentation and the growth of mould. Manley's thymol recipe has also proven useful in controlling Varroa mites.
Manley's recipe has become a standard and even if the requirement is for a stronger solution, this is often specified as '3x Manley strength' or '4x Manley strength'.[6] His original recipe was one ounce of thymol crystals dissolved in five fluid ounces of surgical spirit to make the stock solution. Then half a fluid ounce of this mixture was added to 1 Cwt (112 lbs) of sugar, which he dissolved in 7 imperial gallons (8.75 US Gal.) of water for direct use as winter feed.

formula thymolformula thymol 3D

Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases
Chemicals in Thymus serpyllum L. (Lamiaceae) / Creeping Thyme ⇒ Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases

thymus_vulgaris.txt · Last modified: 2016/01/13 17:48 by