Essential Oil Recipe for Honeybees


calm these bees with this spray

This essential oil recipe for honeybees is similar to the several commercial essential oil concentrates you can buy from beekeeping suppliers. These essential oil mixtures have several benefits. They improve the disease resistance of the honeybees, they calm the bees when you are working them, and they can help introduce a new queen to a beehive.

After reading through this recipe post, take a minute to check out our other beekeeping posts here and beekeeping videos here.

The two main ingredients here, lemongrass oil and spearmint oil have been shown to reduce the presence of diseases and pathogens in the hive.

You MUST use food grade essential oils for your bees, do NOT buy oil used for aromatherapy. I ordered the food grade oils on Amazon here.
I got this and many other beekeeping recipes for honeybees from Cass, whose blog is WVBeekeeper.

I have tried to contact Cass to ask permission to reprint this recipe but could not, so I’m hoping he’s ok with the idea of us all helping honey bees.

more beekeeping videos insert

Essential Oil Recipe For Honeybees

A well known commercially available general purpose essential oil product for bees that is similar to the following recipe claims many benefits even though many of those claims have yet to be proven. The following recipe should work about as well as that product and is way cheaper. It can be added in small quantities to feed to encourage feeding. It has been known to occasionally cause robbing behavior due to its great appeal to bees.

> 5 cups water
> 2 1/2 pounds of sugar
> 1/8 teaspoon lecithin granules (used as an emulsifier)
> 15 drops spearmint oil
> 15 drops lemongrass oil

Bring the water to a boil and stir in the sugar until it is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved remove the mixture from the heat and quickly add the lecithin and the essential oils. Stir the mixture thoroughly. This solution should have a strong scent and not be left open around bees. Cool before using.

NOTE: i have had difficulty getting the lecithin granules to dissolve in the mixture. I have made this without the lecithin and it seemed to be ok.

Use the Essential Oil Mixture in early spring and during periods when no nectar is available and to build up packages, nucs ind swarms. Two teaspoonfuls in a quart of 1:1 sugar syrup delivers a total of one cc of both essential oils. The essential oils are evenly distributed throughout the syrup. The Essential Oil Mixture helps produce rapid build up of bees when used as a feeding stimulant. In addition, using 4 teaspoons in a quart of one to one sugar water of the Essential Oil Mixture as a spray instead of smoke helps calm the bees, and spraying caged new queens and bees helps with queen acceptance during cage introduction and reduces balling during direct release when sprayed on new queen and bees. It also helps to reduce stings: mix a little on your hands and watch the difference in bee behavior-very few or no stings at all. Acts as a bee calmer when sprayed on the bees and helps prevent fighting when combining nucs, swarms, and colonies. Spray on a colony while doing a cut-out for some extra calm bees! When sprayed on new foundation helps encourage the bees to draw out new comb or plastic comb.

I use the essential oil recipe in our  honeybee sugarcakes, here is a video we did on that.

Cass has a number of interesting recipes for beekeeping on his site, please go check them out here.
Click here to buy food grade essential oils on Amazon

Read more of our beekeeping posts here and watch beekeeping videos here. Thx!


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  1. says

    Yes, this is a great recipe. Have used citronella and spearmint with liquid sucrose to top up food stores and keep the girls happy during the cold winter. Works very nicely.

  2. Ann Wooledge says

    Great piece of information. My question would be what do you consider “food grade” essential oils as opposed to “aromatherapy” oils. All essential oils should be “food grade”, although not a common practice in the USA to take them orally. To that fact, a true certified aromatherapist would have your best, unadulterated, oils available, as opposed to those found in health food stores or from MLM companies. Just wondering where you came up with that thought? Thanks!

  3. Eric Gunnar Rochow says

    most aromatherapy oils one finds in the stores say

    “Not for internal use”

    and contain methyl something or other, which I’m not going to give to my bees. its easy enough to order food grade essential oils.

  4. cemal .tuncay says

    Feedıng syrup afternoon late of the before evening gıve . Because early
    gıve tıme hıve ın the şyrup stolen to be ………For spearmınt oıl thank
    you nıce days …..To ask.

  5. shannon b says

    I have a hive that has been in my family for yrs but was never set up for use I have wax for them as well
    My question is this wax is over 20 years old and still in the box should I use it or get new ?


  1. […] Here is the link to the honeybee essential oil recipe we use, there are commercial versions of this, if you don’t want to bother with the ordering of the oils and mixing them. We put one tablespoon of the essential oil mixture in each gallon of 2:1 sugar syurp. The essential oils help prevent disease and promote good bee health. The positive effects of essential oil mixtures for honeybees has been written about in Bee Culture magazine. […]

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