More on Methyl Bromide ...
When it comes to discussing issues related to Organic Chemistry - and Methyl Bromide of course is
an organic chemical - I happen to be more qualified than Randy Oliver ... however, I'm mindful that I don't have the same credibility Randy has justifiably developed within beekeeping circles, thanks in part to his excellent website and the numerous in-depth articles published there - and so it was Randy Oliver I turned to for advice regarding how best to deal with this persistent nonsensical allegation of aged pallets which had previously been treated with Methyl Bromide still being considered hazardous to honey bees, many months after that treatment.
Although Randy shared my view that the prospect of any Methyl Bromide remaining within pallet timber a month or so after it's administration was zero, he suggested that an experiment be conducted to test for the off-gassing from any residual Methyl Bromide, together with a suitable control hive.
And so I duly set-up the experiment Randy had outlined, but using 'HT' (Heat Treated) pallet wood as a control, rather than an empty box. After seven days of intimate contact with 'MB' and 'HT' timbers, the two colonies under test were indistinguishable from each other, thus supporting our prediction that - in practice - there is no risk of off-gassing of any Methyl Bromide from treated pallets a month or two after it's initial application to them.
I received an email from Randy earlier this evening in which he writes:
As you likely guessed, I'm hardly surprised by your results. Thanks for
taking the time to test--most people are too damn lazy to do so.
Thanks for the photos and experiment--I've saved them in case the
discussion ever comes up.
So there we have it - proof (if proof were ever really needed) that pallets treated 'once upon a time' with Methyl Bromide are - after testing - safe to use in the construction of bee hives. Anyone who alleges otherwise will now need to provide concrete experimental evidence to support their claims.
The creation of a scare story is not
the same as providing factual information from which to make an educated choice. The reason 'MB' is branded onto treated pallets is not as a warning to future users (which is how it appears to be perceived), but as confirmation that the wood has been treated and is thus insect-free at the time of manufacture and therefore safe for international transportation.