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Author Topic: Beekeeping: potential treatment for Varroa - or not? Lithium in your sugar?  (Read 1360 times)
AndrewE
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« on: February 02, 2018, 05:53:14 PM »

This https://futurism.com/accidental-discovery-wipe-out-bees-worst-enemies/
says
Quote
A recent study conducted by German scientists from the University of Hohenheim offers a ray of hope. The team has discovered a small amount of lithium chloride is enough to kill Varroa mites without harming the honey bees the mites are attached to.

The discovery is a welcome one, because Varroa mites are becoming resistant to previously effective chemical treatments. In their research, published to the journal Scientific Reports, the team goes on to explain that “no new active compounds have been registered for more than 25 years” that effectively kill the mites.

The researchers initially tested a sugar solution that they fed to the bees, and was transferred to the mites through the bees’ blood. But the team observed that the mites in a control group — treated with a solution that wasn’t meant to be lethal — had also died. Additional testing led to the discovery that lithium chloride, which was present in the tested sugar solution, was the actual culprit behind the mites’ demise. Only 25 millimolar of the chemical was enough to wipe out 90 to 100 percent of Varroa mites between 24 and 72 hours.

“The results presented here already indicate that [lithium chloride] has potential as an effective and easy-to-apply treatment for artificial and natural swarms and particularly for the huge number of package bees used for pollination in the United States,” the researchers wrote in the paper.
A First Step

The lithium chloride can be administered through feeding, won’t accumulate in beeswax, isn’t harmful to mammals, and is relatively inexpensive to acquire.

That said, more research is necessary to devise a means of introducing the compound in full-sized colonies to ensure all bees get the amount of lithium chloride needed to be effective. There’s also the matter of conducting studies on free-flying colonies to test long-term effects of the lithium chloride on adult bees, and whether the compound will affect their honey.

Bees, of course, are not critical for pollination, but also have financial benefits. The University of Hohenheim scientists estimate bees contribute between $235 billion and $285 billion annually to food production.

Failing to address Varroa mite invasions would result in the loss of bee colonies around the world, and increase the cost of bee management, pollination services, and crop production. Though mitigating bee decline is a challenging task, protecting them against the Varroa mite threat is a significant first step, and necessary one.
I'm astonished a) that they claim that lithium compounds aren't harmful to mammals, and b) that the lithium is present in what I assume is common granulated sugar!
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 09:31:47 AM by AndrewE » Logged
stannn
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2018, 10:08:21 PM »

......and I'm astonished at the 'not' in the last but one paragraph.
Stan
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supremetwo
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2018, 02:04:44 AM »

......and I'm astonished at the 'not' in the last but one paragraph.Stan

Poor proof reading 'not only ---- but also'.
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Philip R
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2018, 09:35:43 AM »

Lithium is used sometimes to treat "bipolar disorder" (manic depression, in old speak) in humans. Would eating lots of homey make us change our behaviours? , or indead that of the bees. I can see a group of dogooders protesting about contamination of the honey, or indeed the land by lithium dosed bee droppings!, or some similarity to contamination of the water supply by the addition of flouride (to strengthen tooth enamel)

On a plus side, lithium chloride salt is about as simple as a treatment can get. I.e. Not using some complex aromatic and toxic chemical is a good thing.

I hope the lithium treatment works safely and effectively for all our sakes.

Philip  R
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AndrewE
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2018, 09:46:46 AM »

It seems that lithium is more widespread in the environment than I realised, and that it is also an essential trace element.  However it is toxic in higher quantities but after a quick search I can't see at what intakes the symptoms occur.  For some reason I was under the impression that it was quite a toxic element.
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Philip R
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2018, 10:11:47 AM »

Andrew,

Regarding toxicity of Lithium as a chloride salt. Ingesting reasonable quantities of say common salt, that is not good. Potassium chloride, well that will interfere with your heart rhythm big time. So lithium ,being anotheralkali metal should have similar characteristics.

Reference was made to " 25 milimolar ", to me that means fluid strength or concentration in water or solution, not an absolute amount. 25 milimoles of LiCl would kill a bee, and multiply by the bee population, that is a lot of lithium.
I would read that as the bee drinking sugar solution dosed to a max of 25 millimolar lithium chloride. (Isotonic sports drink, redbull for bees!)
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offthegridandy
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2018, 10:24:35 AM »

I  believe a Mole is a molecule. The definition for concentration is mole per cubic meter. So 25 millimolar is a very low concentration.

The SI derived unit for amount-of-substance concentration is the mole/cubic meter. 1 mole/cubic meter is equal to 1 millimolar, or 0.001 molar.

To absorb 25 millimole the bee would have to drink the whole cubic meter of sugar solution!!  How much will one bee drink?  This concentration is almost homeopathic in nature isn't it?

Andy
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AndrewE
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2018, 10:35:06 AM »

I know millimolar is a solution strength, 25 mMolar means 25 thousandths of a gram-molecule per litre i.e. kg (not metre cube, which is a Tonne.)  Lithium is a pretty small atom, so Molar LiCl would be 42.39 grams per litre and 25 mM would be 1.06 grams per litre, quite a lot of something potentially toxic in my view and a lot higher than any concentration I would expect for a "trace element."  Way above any homeopathic concentration too...
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 10:49:33 AM by AndrewE » Logged
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