Ozone Helps Keep Honeycombs Clean

Sometimes even honey bees need help with “housekeeping,” especially when it comes to cleaning their honeycombs once the honey’s been removed. USDA research has shown that fumigating honeycombs with ozone gas can eliminate pests and pathogens that threaten honey bee health and productivity. Now, ozone fumigation may also help reduce pesticide levels in honeycombs.

The findings come from a two-part study led by entomologist Rosalind James with the Pollinating Insects-Biology, Management, and Systematics Research Unit operated in Logan, UT, by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Results from the first part of her team’s study, published in 2011 in the Journal of Economic Entomology, demonstrated that fumigating honeycombs with ozone gas at concentrations of 215 to 430 parts per million (ppm) killed all life stages of the greater wax moth, depending on length of exposure.

Ozone, a highly reactive state of oxygen, also destroyed spores of the chalkbrood fungus after 24 to 36 hours of exposure using 1,500 ppm. Another honeybee pathogen, the American foulbrood bacterium, required substantially longer exposure times and an ozone concentration twice as high.

Both pathogens can persist for years on beekeeping equipment and in hives as dormant spores. They germinate when conditions are optimal, and attack the colony’s larvae. Methyl oxide and gamma irradiation are among treatments that have proven effective for disinfecting honeycombs, but these treatments can be costly and impractical, according to James. An ozone fumigation chamber is something beekeepers can set up on their own.

In January 2013, James’ team published results from the second part of the study in the journal Agricultural Science. That paper details ozone’s breakdown of coumaphos, fluvalinate, and several other pesticides that can accumulate in hives.

Higher ozone concentrations and longer exposure times were required to reduce pesticide concentrations in wax and honeycomb samples. The treatments also degraded the pesticides better in new honeycombs (less than three years old) than in older ones (more than 10 years old).

Read more about these findings in the March 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Source: USDA-ARS News, Jan Suszkiw

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
Postbloom Fruit Drop symptoms on Florida ctirus
Insect & Disease Update
January 23, 2017
Florida Citrus Growers on Alert for Postbloom Fruit Drop
After the worst outbreak in years, growers should be wary of this disorder. Read More
Jones Potato Farm field in Parrish, FL
Citrus
January 20, 2017
Farming Will Always Have a Place in Florida [Opinion]
Growers are resilient and agriculture will survive in our state and elsewhere. It has to, if we want food on our plates. Read More
Sonny Perdue
Citrus
January 19, 2017
Trump Taps Sonny Perdue for Secretary of Agriculture Position
Ag leaders applaud pick to head up USDA. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2017
New York Representatives Introduce Bill to Move H-2A from Department of Labor to Department of Agriculture
Legislators say the move aligns the program in the department to better fit the needs of agriculture businesses. Read More
Freeze protected peach trees in Florida
Citrus
January 19, 2017
New Technology Could Take Weather Intel to the Extreme for Farmers
Scientists aiming to make difficult climate-based production decisions easier for growers. Read More
the sunset on a hot day
Citrus
January 18, 2017
NASA, NOAA Concur 2016 Was World’s Warmest Year on Record
For the third time in three years, the heat gets turned up on surface temperature statistics. Read More
'Gold nugget' seedless tangerine
Varieties & Rootstocks
January 18, 2017
5 Florida Citrus Nursery Trends Worth Watching
Gleanings from recent grower gatherings expose opportunities and possibilities in new variety development and management. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
January 24, 2017
Trump Withdraws U.S. From Trans-Pacific …
Fresh produce export market to hit a wall with signing of executive order. Read More
Citrus
January 20, 2017
Farming Will Always Have a Place in Flor…
Growers are resilient and agriculture will survive in our state and elsewhere. It has to, if we want food on our plates. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2017
Trump Taps Sonny Perdue for Secretary of…
Ag leaders applaud pick to head up USDA. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2017
New York Representatives Introduce Bill …
Legislators say the move aligns the program in the department to better fit the needs of agriculture businesses. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2017
New Technology Could Take Weather Intel …
Scientists aiming to make difficult climate-based production decisions easier for growers. Read More
Citrus
January 18, 2017
NASA, NOAA Concur 2016 Was World’s Warme…
For the third time in three years, the heat gets turned up on surface temperature statistics. Read More
Citrus
January 17, 2017
The Future of Agriculture is in Your Han…
Can farmers actually reach the point of having too much information? Read More
Citrus
January 16, 2017
First Bee in Continental U.S. Listed as …
Rusty patched bumble bee receives protection from activities that could cause it to go extinct. Read More
Citrus
January 16, 2017
Precision Agriculture and Big Data Gaini…
Specialty crop adoption of hort tech to usher in new efficiencies and transparency. Read More
Citrus
January 15, 2017
New Transitional Certification Program t…
The program will be based on standards developed by the Organic Trade Association. Read More
Citrus
January 13, 2017
Vilsack Bids Fond Farewell in Early Exit…
With no clear-cut replacement in sight, U.S. agriculture secretary leaves one week before his term officially ends. Read More
Citrus
January 12, 2017
Season’s First Slip Seen In Latest Flori…
Despite slight drop in Valencias, silver linings found. Read More
Citrus
January 10, 2017
Was 2016 the Worst Weather Year Ever?
Near all-time records in average temperature and costly climate-related disasters make a strong case for dubious distinction. Read More
Citrus
January 9, 2017
Longtime Florida Citrus Grower Earns Cha…
Hugh English recognized for his support of UF/IFAS research. Read More
Citrus
January 3, 2017
Soil Health Institute Launches Web-Based…
The tool allows users to connect soil health problems, management actions, and desired outcomes with research addressing a user’s particular situation. Read More
Citrus
January 3, 2017
Research Shows Limited Sign of Soil Adap…
Studies indicate that soils will typically respond strongly to increasing temperature by releasing more carbon dioxide. Read More
Citrus
January 2, 2017
New Organic Farming Cost Share Options A…
Organic growers may apply for certification cost share reimbursements; expanded eligibility for transition and state certification costs. Read More
Citrus
January 1, 2017
FSMA Training Strategy Available
Aid to help growers understand role in new food safety rules released. Read More