As part of the People’s Garden Initiative for Gastonia, North Carolina, the National Science Laboratory (NSL) built two beehives to produce honey without the use of pesticides. If insect control was needed, we planned to use only what was allowed for use in organic products. When Varroa mites were discovered in the hives, we used thymol, a natural oil, to control them.
Several weeks ago, we collected honeycomb samples from each of our hives to test for about two hundred different pesticides. The NSL has built a reputation for quality pesticide residue analysis. Many members of its staff have performed this work for over 20 years. The equipment we use for analysis is the latest and greatest, producing detection limits of 1 part per billion—the equivalent to one drop of water diluted into 11,008 gallons, or about three seconds out of a century.