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

Citrus Achievement AwardSharing Is Caring When It Comes To Curing Citrus Greening
October 1, 2014
Mike Sparks, 2014 Citrus Achievement Award winner, says being open with peers about what's working and not working is crucial in managing HLB. Read More
CitrusFarming Is Quite The Scary Prospect For Some [Opinion]
September 30, 2014
Florida Grower managing editor Paul Rusnak says economic realities might frighten off future leaders from noble professions. Read More
CitrusFlorida Announces Its 2014 Woman Of The Year In Agriculture
September 29, 2014
Longtime award recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s farming sector. Read More
CitrusFlorida Produce Industry Embracing Progress, Confronting Challenges
September 29, 2014
Production pressures and politics hot topics at FFVA’s 71st Annual Convention. Read More
CitrusFlorida Farmers Finding Ways To Cultivate An Environment Of Excellence [Opinion]
September 26, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam salutes producers putting their best management practices forward. Read More
CitrusGrowers Should Partner Wisely To Stay Afloat Amid WOTUS Woes [Opinion]
September 26, 2014
According to Florida Grower editor Frank Giles, the Clean Water Act is muddying waters for farmers. Read More
Varieties & RootstocksSimplifying Progressive Citrus Propagation Process A Priority
September 25, 2014
Stakeholders work rapidly to smooth out any kinks in the FAST TRACK. Read More

The Latest

CitrusFarming Is Quite The Scary Prospect For Some [Opinion]
September 30, 2014
Florida Grower managing editor Paul Rusnak says economic realities might frighten off future leaders from noble professions. Read More
CitrusFlorida Announces Its 2014 Woman Of The Year In Agricul…
September 29, 2014
Longtime award recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s farming sector. Read More
CitrusFlorida Produce Industry Embracing Progress, Confrontin…
September 29, 2014
Production pressures and politics hot topics at FFVA’s 71st Annual Convention. Read More
CitrusFlorida Farmers Finding Ways To Cultivate An Environmen…
September 26, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam salutes producers putting their best management practices forward. Read More
CitrusGrowers Should Partner Wisely To Stay Afloat Amid WOTUS…
September 26, 2014
According to Florida Grower editor Frank Giles, the Clean Water Act is muddying waters for farmers. Read More
CitrusPolitics Creating More Work In Farm Management Field
September 24, 2014
Paul Meador of Everglades Harvesting Co. says an immigration reform resolution can't come soon enough. Read More
CitrusUF/IFAS Names New Dean Of Research
September 24, 2014
Longtime citrus scientist Jackie Burns takes lead post. Read More
CitrusMajor Florida Citrus Planting Incentive Program Announc…
September 23, 2014
Citrus World Inc. plans to invest $10 million to encourage new acreage. Read More
CitrusNational Farmers Union Submits Comments On Clean Water …
September 23, 2014
Organization urges other industry groups to submit constructive comments. Read More
CitrusLuke Bryan Pays It Forward For Farming
September 23, 2014
Country superstar honors agriculture with his Farm Tour. Read More
CitrusNew Superhero Aims To Save Florida Citrus
September 22, 2014
Unique marketing partnership comes to life through comics. Read More
CitrusFDA Announces Cooperative Agreement To Implement Nation…
September 17, 2014
Agreement will provide information to help plan and carry out the produce safety rule in partnership with state regulatory agencies. Read More
CitrusFMC Acquires Cheminova
September 9, 2014
Transaction expected to close in early 2015. Read More
CitrusSouth Florida Wet Season Receives Slight Respite
September 9, 2014
Reports indicate most areas around the region received below average rainfall during August. Read More
CitrusWhole Farm Revenue Protection Adds Up For Crop Insuranc…
September 4, 2014
New USDA program to provide coverage for all agricultural commodities. Read More
CitrusUniversity Of Florida’s Class Of 2018 Raises The Bar …
September 4, 2014
Arriving College Of Agriculture And Life Sciences students bring strong credentials and diversity. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Growers, Beekeepers Deal Proving To Be B…
September 3, 2014
EPA encourages further promotion and partnership in similar voluntary programs across the country. Read More
CitrusHarness The Marketing Power Of Video
September 1, 2014
Multimedia platform is an effective and inexpensive marketing tool for you to attract new customers and keep existing ones loyal to your brand. Read More