According to the Tennessee State Apiarist, a significant portion of the losses last winter were due to tracheal mites. This is partially due to a change in Varroa mite treatments. Previous chemical treatments were effective on both the Varroa and the Tracheal mites but many of them are no longer available. The
Oxalic acid treatments have been very effective on the Varroa but they have
no effect on the Tracheal mite. As a result we are beginning to see a reappearance of the pest. At Hon Taylor Honeybees we have small cell bees which are less susceptible because they have a smaller trachea. That is more difficult for the mite to enter. But it is not 100% so we are now treating our bees for the tracheal mite using a natural process. The formula is 1.5 pounds of Crisco or other vegetable shortening, 4 pounds of sugar and 1/2 pound of honey. Mix well, form into patties and place on the top of the frames. As the bees eat the sugar and honey, the shortening will help prevent the mites from clinging to the bees. It is very effective, proven treatment. A pattie should last 3-4 weeks or longer in the winter. Don't make the pattie too large as they can attract small hive beetles.