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Thymolated syrup - who uses / have used / recipe / any issues?

PostPosted:09 Aug 2019, 18:19
by Chrisbarlow
I've started using thymolated syrup this year.

Do people like it for stopping syrup going mouldy?

Does everyone use the Manley recipe or what alternatives are there?

Do folk stick to single Manley strength?

What other benefits have people found?
Any effects on varroa? Nosema?

Are there any side effects?

Re: Thymolated syrup - who uses / have used / recipe / any issues?

PostPosted:09 Aug 2019, 21:37
by Patrick
Have used it now and again. I don’t personally try to store syrup long term but some bees are inexplicably slow in taking down syrup and a feeder still full of syrup with black scum on it is irritating though whether bees are that bothered is unclear.

It does make any plastic containers used to mix up or store thymolated syrup honk a bit so I wouldn’t use it in anything I wanted to use for other food related purpose (ie fermenting barrels for cider or beer making for example). You can of course add it jusr before you put in a feeder.

Whether it stops nosema I have not personally tested but ROB Manley knew more about bees than I ever will and gave it some credit. Randy Oliver also did some work on it which is on his excellent Scientific Beekeeping website.

When I started it was commonplace to add Fumigellin B powder to feed for nosema but this was withdrawn from sale and truth is, it is not often mentioned though was once considered a scourge as was scaring. Now we only talk about Varroa but I doubt Nosema Apis or Ceranae have listened.

I did sometimes find bees were reluctant to take down thymolated syrup so often fed them all the first gallon thymolated and the rest untreated . Not sure of the reasoning however.

Perhaps I should start a website called Unscientific Beekeeping. ;)

Re: Thymolated syrup - who uses / have used / recipe / any issues?

PostPosted:09 Aug 2019, 22:04
by Chrisbarlow
Thanks Patrick. It does stink. Never thought about it tainting the buckets it's stored in.

I hadn't thought about scientific bedkeeping either. Will go and read it now

Re: Thymolated syrup - who uses / have used / recipe / any issues?

PostPosted:10 Aug 2019, 09:26
by AdamD
The Scientific Beekeeping website will keep you busy for hours! Randy Oliver was a guest speaker at the BIBBA conference in the Isle of Man a few years ago which I attended and he is a very engaging speaker and has far more energy than you would expect for someone in his 60's.

I do use thymolated syrup - not all the time though - using "Hivemakers recipie" which is pinned on the wall of my bee shed. Does it stop nosema? I don't see nosema in my colonies so perhaps it does. This page has the recipe and also a scientific paper about how thymol can help with nosema.
http://www.norfolkbee.co.uk/useful-documents

Re: Thymolated syrup - who uses / have used / recipe / any issues?

PostPosted:10 Aug 2019, 10:51
by NigelP
I can simplify the solution here Adam as I don't use lecithin.
Just make a 2000x concentrate at 10g thymol crystals in 50mls of isopropanol.
You will not get mould using this at this concentration. I store 5 litre containers of 1:1 syrup with this at out apiaries for emergency feeding if required. They stay out in all weathers and no mould is ever seen.

Re: Thymolated syrup - who uses / have used / recipe / any issues?

PostPosted:10 Aug 2019, 13:22
by Chrisbarlow
AdamD wrote:
10 Aug 2019, 09:26
The Scientific Beekeeping website will keep you busy for hours! Randy Oliver was a guest speaker at the BIBBA conference in the Isle of Man a few years ago which I attended and he is a very engaging speaker and has far more energy than you would expect for someone in his 60's.

I do use thymolated syrup - not all the time - using "Hivemakers recipie" which is pinned on the wall of my bee shed. Does it stop nosema? I don't see nosema in my colonies so perhaps it does. This page has the recipe and also a scientific paper about how thymol can help with nosema.
http://www.norfolkbee.co.uk/useful-documents
Thanks Adam, I'll take a look at that recipe and link

Re: Thymolated syrup - who uses / have used / recipe / any issues?

PostPosted:10 Aug 2019, 13:36
by Chrisbarlow
NigelP wrote:
10 Aug 2019, 10:51
I can simplify the solution here Adam as I don't use lecithin.
Just make a 2000x concentrate at 10g thymol crystals in 50mls of isopropanol.
You will not get mould using this at this concentration. I store 5 litre containers of 1:1 syrup with this at out apiaries for emergency feeding if required. They stay out in all weathers and no mould is ever seen.
good idea NP. How much solution to 5litres? 2.5ml?

Re: Thymolated syrup - who uses / have used / recipe / any issues?

PostPosted:10 Aug 2019, 14:42
by NigelP
Yes, 2.5ml per 5 litres, you don't need to be too exact.
I suspect it will work at even lower concentrations.
Hivemakers recipe with Lecithin is (I presume) aimed at nosema treatments; ensuring the thymol is evenly distributed throughout the solution,.
But all I'm wanting to do is stop mould etc from growing in syrup so it's a lot simpler to make if you leave the lecithin out.

Re: Thymolated syrup - who uses / have used / recipe / any issues?

PostPosted:10 Aug 2019, 20:44
by Chrisbarlow
AdamD wrote:
10 Aug 2019, 09:26
This page has the recipe and also a scientific paper about how thymol can help with nosema.
http://www.norfolkbee.co.uk/useful-documents
The research is interesting with it suggesting increased worker population and honey collection with thymol treated colonies

Re: Thymolated syrup - who uses / have used / recipe / any issues?

PostPosted:11 Aug 2019, 08:41
by Patrick
I must admit the paper is another fairly unambiguous endorsement of adding it to feed and consequent reduction in Nosema. Room for thought.

I wonder about the lecithiny wotsits addition in Hivemakers brew. It supposedly allows the Manley recipe to be an emulsion throughout the feed whilst otherwise it supposedly sits on the surface of the syrup and kills off mould or stops it establishing. But Manley didn’t use lecithin.

I bought lecithin to try years ago and still have my original tub - mainly because I was curious what the heck it was. I do use isopropyl alcohol because I have it, but it’s far more commonly bought in the US than here so rather than buy it in specially if you want to try a go, vodka works just as well. A useful thing about thymol solution which is different to say, trickling oxalic solution, is that amounts are not critical and there seems to not be any increased mortality or reduced efficacy with the final syrup containing (within reason) different concentrations of active ingredient within reason. Probably partly down the high dilution rate.

The only thing to add is that hivemakers solution can recrystallise in the jar quite suddenly. As per Adam’s instruction sheet, it can be re liquified by warmth but lords sake don’t do indoors or the domestic ambient temperature will become correspondingly glacial...