Thyme Oil - Bee Industry

Thyme Oil - Bee Industry

The Thyme essential oil is extracted from leaves of thyme shrub by the process of steam distillation. The thyme shrub is a part of mint family (Labiatae), origination from southern Europe and western Mediterranean. It possesses high odor strength with spicy and herbaceous aroma. Thymol, in the form of crystals is derived from thyme essential oil, and is a tried and tested antibiotic that improves the immune system.

Plants produce essential oils which exhibit the defense mechanism to prevent insects, animals and microbes from eating them. Generally thyme oil is used to combat varroa mites, a parasitic mite that attacks the honey bees (Apis Cerana and Apis mellifera). 


Varroa Mites

The thyme essential oil is widely used in honey bee colony for mite control. Thymol is a phenolic monoterpene, extracted from the thyme shrub. It is available in the form of white crystal, which can be handled safely if there is good ventilation and if nitrile gloves are worn. As the evaporation rate of pure crystals of thymol is highly dependent on temperature, due to which the thymol crystals evaporate quickly in warm weather. It can also kill brood and bees as the deadly concentration of thymol to bees is only 2-4 times the fatal concentration that kills mites.


Thyme Oil Treatment for Varroa Mite Infestation

In a recent study, it was found that the use of thyme essential oil in bee colonies has increased the mortality rate of 100%. This has made thyme essential oil an effective solution for Varroa infestation in bee hives. 


Thyme oil treatment: Method 1

Add 6-8 drops of thyme oil in mineral oil (16 ounces) and shake the solution well. Now squirt the solution on a paper towel in the 'SS' formation. You can now put the paper towel in the hive, over the frames. Keep the setup until three weeks before the flow of honey and also some time after that. 


Thyme Oil Treatment: Method 2

If you use a fogger for mite control, add around 23-25 drops of Thyme Essential Oil in 16 ounces of mineral oil. Now put the fogger into each individual hive for a time span of about 10-12 seconds.

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1 comment
  • Good afternoon, my name is Peter and I would like some clarification on the Thymol treatment for Varroa in the fumigation/fogging application, if you could help.
    How much of a solution of oil will I need to treat the 4 hives that I have. Will I utilize all 16 oz. of the recipe above, for two hives ?? It seems like a lot of waste.
    Would it be effective, and/or possible to cut the “recipe” in half (to 8 oz.), therefore only utilizing approx. 12 drops of Thymol essential oil?? Thanks in advance for your help. Pete

    Peter J Dias on

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