Treatments (if any) commonly applied to different pests

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Ritter and Akratanakul (2006) published a guide that summarizes the most common honey bee pests and diseases as well as its most favourable treatment methods. The publication is available as open access via the website of FAO. [1]

Ethiopia: To treat an infestation with ants, Ethiopian beekeepers use several methods such as placing the hive on small cans and fill them with ash and dirty engine oil, bring out ash around the hive, frequent smoking or using local eucalyptus leaves for fumigation. [2] [3] Several studies revealed, that ants are one of the most threatening pests in Ethiopia. [3] [4] Modern methods include the use of benzene, malathion and smooth iron sheets. [3] People use dogs or cats, fence their apiaries or hang their hives into trees to protect them from predators like honey badgers or mice. One traditional method to "treat" an infestation with bee lice is smoking or fumigating the hive with e.g. tobacco, dung, grass, or offer supplemental food. [5] So far, no information on regular treatment against varroa mites was published, it therefore can be considered, that in most regions of Ethiopia, no treatment at all is applied. Reasons may be a lack of knowledge on the severe impact of Varroa spp. on honey bees or simply a higher resistance of African honey bee populations may be possible. Studies suggested, that propolis acts as a natural acaricide and therefore may be a possible treatment method against Varroa. [6] [7] In a study conducted by Teklu (2016), beekeepers from southern Ethiopia practiced following traditional methods to destroy mites in the hives: burning, killing, and removing the whole hive. [3] To treat an infestation with the Small Hive Beetle (SHB), Alemayehu et al. (2018) recommend to combine seasonal colony management (removing unoccupied frames, regular hive cleaning, additional feeding in the dearth period, …) with the trapping of SHBs’ larvae by dead brood trap to increase the treatment success. [8] Other treatment methods include the use of DDT, or roach killer but those methods have a negative effect on the environment. [3] Cleaning the apiary, removing of old combs or hives and strengthening of the colony are considered methods to treat an infestation, or to avoid one with wax moths (G. mellonella, Achroia grisella). [9] Summarized, traditional control methods against ants, wax moths, beetles mammals or birds are practiced[10], but the treatment of "unvisible" organisms like fungi, or bacteria is not common at all. [5]

Indonesia: So far, there is almost no information on treatment methods against pests affecting honey bees in Indonesia! Local beekeepers reported about killing wasps and hornets in the apiary.


  1. Ritter, W., & Akratanakul, P. (2006). Agricultural and Food Engineering Technical Report, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 4, 1-39. URL (access date: 14.06.2018):
  2. Gidey, Y., & Mekonen, T. (2010). Participatory Technology and Constraints Assessment to Improve the Livelihood of Beekeepers in Tigray Region, northern Ethiopia. CNCS, 2(1), 76-92.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Teklu, G. W. (2016). Survey on honeybee pests and predators in Sidama and Gedeo zones of Southern Ethiopia with emphasis on control practices. Agriculture and Biology Journal of North America, 7(4), 173-181.
  4. Tolera, K., & Dejene, T. (2014). Assessment of the effect of seasonal honeybee management on honey production of Ethiopian honeybee (Apis mellifera) in modern beekeeping in Jimma Zone. Research Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Management, 3(5), 246–254.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bekele, T., Genet, D., & Temaro, G. (2017). Assessment of honeybee enemies (pests and predators) in Bale zone, southeastern Ethiopia. J. Agric. Ext. Rural Dev., 9(4), 53-61.
  6. Ebisa, M., Eyob, H., Dasselegn, B., Lama, Y., Abdisa B., & Misganu, C. (2016). Occurrence and Distribution of Varroa Mite and Antivarroa Effect of Propolis in Walmara District of Oromia Special Zone Around Finfine, Ethiopia. Journal of Veterinary Science and Technology, 7(5), 1-6.
  7. Shimelis, M., Yared, K., & Desalegn, B. (2016). Major Honey Bee Health Problem with Particular Emphasis to Anti-Varroa Investigation of Propolis in Toke-Kutaye District, Ethiopia. American-Eurasian Journal of Scientific Research, 11(5), 320-331.
  8. Alemayehu, G., Amssalu, B., & Taye N. (2018). Investigating the effect and control of small hive beetle, Aethina tumida (murray) on honeybee colonies in Ethiopia. International Journal of Research Studies in Biosciences, 6(8), 1-6.
  9. Yetimwork, G., Berhan, T., & Desalegn, B. (2015). Honeybee production trend, potential and constraints in Eastern Zone of Tigray, Ethiopia. Agriculture and Biology Journal of North America, 6(1), 22-29.
  10. Teklu, G. (2016) Assessment of major Honey bee flora resources on selected districts of Sidama and Gedeo zones of South nations nationalities and peoples regional state, Ethiopia. Journal of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development, 4(2), 368-381.