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Bee Keeping

Essential oils are increasingly being used as natural alternatives to chemical treatments in beekeeping. Here are some oils that are employed in beekeeping.

Attracting Bees

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Lemongrass

Mimics the attractant pheromone bees release, making it useful for luring swarms into traps or new hives.

Repelling Pests and Mites

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Thyme Oil (thymol)

Effective against Varroa mites, a major bee parasite. Often used in grease patties placed inside the hive.
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Wintergreen Oil

Also works against Varroa mites and repels Small Hive Beetles.
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Spearmint Oil

Can deter mites and mask the bee scent, confusing predators.
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Peppermint Oil

Strong scent masks bee pheromones, potentially discouraging robbing behavior from other hives.

Promoting Hive Health

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Tea tree Oil

Has antifungal and antibacterial properties, potentially helping against Chalkbrood disease.
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Lavender Oil

May help control the growth of bacteria and spores associated with American Foulbrood disease.
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Lemongrass and Spearmint Oil

Used in feeding stimulants to boost hive activity and overall health.
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Important points to remember

Research essential oils thoroughly before using them in beekeeping. Some oils can be harmful to bees if used incorrectly.  

Research essential oils thoroughly before using them in beekeeping. Some oils can be harmful to bees if used incorrectly. 
  • Start with small amounts and dilute the oils as recommended. 
  • o Food grade Mineral Oil is sometimes used to dilute the essential oils. Used in grease patties for mite control, bees readily pick up the oil on their bodies, which disrupts the mites’ reproductive cycle. Mineral oil is also used in fogging applications to target mites hiding in hard-to-reach crevices.
  • o Fractionated Coconut Oil: This lightweight carrier oil is sometimes used to dilute essential oils before applying them to hives or bees. It's favored for its lack of strong scent and tendency to solidify at room temperature, which makes it easier to handle.

Essential oils are not a substitute for proper beekeeping practices. They should be used as a complementary approach alongside conventional methods. Monitor your hives closely for any adverse effects after using essential oils. Consult experienced beekeepers and essential oil experts as to how to safely incorporate them into your beekeeping regimen.