October 3, 2020
Have we told you how amazing Jim is? Not only has he spent almost two years putting up with our every question, but he is always ready to move forward. He’s gentle and patient and has made us fall further in love with the bees. We love Jim.
OK, now that the love fest is out of the way, we’ll tell you what’s been going on.
When Jim received his wax samples, he literally started testing that same day. The weather was right and the honey bees were ready. Since we’re trying to determine the most favorable essential oil formula, first we have to make sure the formula is safe for the bees and markedly unsafe for those little monsters.
We know that the oils we’re using are all considered low-risk (read: bee friendly), but variances in concentrations make a huge difference, and what’s harmless at 5% could be deadly at 10%. And understanding how many mites are removed when a bee is coated with one dose of the formula is important. Obviously the goal is to get as close to 100% as we possibly can. We also have to see what percentage of the bees’ bodies are covered with the wax after a dose.
Did...did we forget to mention THE USDA GOT THEIR SAMPLES! Yes, in spite of the pony-express-speed shipping, they arrived safely.
But right now what we’re most worried about (aside from weather, time, and *gestures vaguely*) is that the USDA simply won't have the time or manpower to run the complete tests. They’re already fitting us in, and working with the same abbreviated schedule and skeleton crew as the rest of the world.
But there’s a possible saving grace here.
A while back we got in touch with a bio-testing facility called Eurofins (they pretty much do everything) and we’re talking to them about picking up the slack the USDA and Jim cannot. We’re waiting for their proposal now (world-class lab services don’t come cheaply).
Fingers crossed that it all works out.