Varroa Mites and Bug Wash

Taylors Hill have identified a naturally occurring tetranortriterpenoid which discourages the feeding mechanism of certain species of insect. Combined with a naturally occurring catalyst this substance has the ability to prevent the varroa mite from feeding, thus removing it as a threat to bee colonies.

The way it works is as follows, sap or blood feeding insects such as midges, ticks, aphids and mites have biting mechanisms based on a two-fold function. The outer or lower part of the jaw covers the inner like a sheath. This part punctures the skin of the victim carrying with it an acidic anticoagulant which ensures an uninterrupted flow of blood or sap to the predator. The inner part of the jaw then protrudes into the hole thus created and commences to suck up the food supply.

The product which we have developed is strongly alkaline and reacts with the saliva of the mite, discouraging the biting mechanism by neutralising the acid anticoagulant. This has the effect of preventing the mite from feeding. Bees, who have a substantially larger body weight and volume than mites, feed in an entirely different way to mites and midges. Rather than puncturing the skin and injecting anticoagulant, they're designed to suck up nectar. Nectar is strongly acidic, being composed of complexes of the higher sugars, and bees therefore will not feed on our compound. Accordingly, it does not affect them in the same way as it affects the mites.

The only observed effect it has on bees is to possibly slightly alter their foraging habits insofar as they appear to collect marginally less honey after Bug Wash is applied. We attribute this possible side-effect to an alteration in the acid/alkaline balance of the hive caused by the introduction of our compound. However, since our compound deters mites from feeding on bees, then the marginal side-effect may be considered a small price to pay in return for healthy colonies.

Finally, on the subject of honey production; our compound is not poisonous to mammals and its use in the hive does not therefore result in the need to destroy the honey or wax harvest after application. In fact the compound (which is exceedingly bitter) does not normally get into the honey production chain because the bees do not ingest it, therefore the use of our compound allows the honey to be harvested in the normal way.

We originally administered this compound by smearing it on to a brush/fringe placed over the entrance of the hive so that the bees were dosed as they went in and out. Finding this cumbersome, we have now treated it to make it water soluble so that it can be sprayed on to the frames using a small hand pump. Because it is now sprayed on to the frames we have elected to call this Bug Wash and we are pleased to offer this product as a new method of controlling varroa infestation.

Source:- Taylors Hill Ltd (manufacturer of Bug Wash)
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