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February 3, 2009

Sugar Crisco Patty for Tracheal Mites

Excerpt from Jennifer Berry's Georgia Bee Letter, University of Georgia's
Dept. of Entomology: "If you haven't already done so, now [early February] is the time to treat with oil extender patties: two parts sugar to one part vegetable shortening or oil.....make up small patties about four inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick and place on a piece of wax paper ... place the square on top of the frames in the brood chamber. While the bees consume the sugar, oil from the patty will adhere to their bodies. The oil acts like a shield thus the tracheal mites are unable to recognize suitable young hosts. Oil patties are acceptable for porlonged treament since the oil will not contaminate honey supplies."
You can remove the wax paper if there is any left after the bees have consumed the patty or when you put the honey supers on.
Clarification: the sugar/crisco patty is a method for helping to prevent tracheal mites from infecting bees or spreading throughout the hive; it is not a method for treating bees already infected. To do that you should use one of the menthol treatments.
Crisco patties also come in the form of extender patties and wintergreen/salt patties.