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Thread: oxalic acid

  1. #1
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    I believe that this deserves it's own thread.

    As I understand it you apply oxalic acid in the winter when there is the least amount of brood. They claim that one ten second application at that time will give 97% control of varroa mites. Applying it before and after the flow would not be applying it while there is any harvestable honey in the hive.
    No the FDA is not likely to approve an acid for human comsumption.
    It has not proven to be harmful to bees in Europe and they have been useing it there for years. It may be that the reason that the brood is not affected is the same reason that brood is not affected by FGMO. The latest discussion on that area of this board is that the brood may be covered with royal jelly or that it lays deep enough in the cell that the fumes do not reach or expose the brood to toxic amounts.
    I posted this earlier last week and did not get a response, I am interested in what Barry had in mind.

    Barry, you wrote:
    "FYI, oxalic is not approved for use in the U.S. It may work good, but like all chemicals, it too has a limited life of effectiveness on mites. We are already hearing of oxalic resistant mites from parts of Europe."
    I don't understand, how could an insect develop a resistance to a corrosive acid? As I understand it, the insects suction-mouth part, (technical, eh?), is corroded away by the acid resulting in it starving to death.
    Bill
    It seems to me, resistance is futile.


  2. #2
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    I am skeptical of the claims that varroa are developing resistance to formic and oxalic.More likely it is an application failure as timing and temperature are critical.It would be like developing resistance to getting thrown into a fire,or getting smashed with a hammer.

  3. #3
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    Bill what do you mean with “No the FDA is not likely to approve an acid for human consumption.”
    If you’re talking about Oxalic Acid, do people need approve from the FDA before they eat vegetables in your country? Almost all vegetables have more or less of that acid. 100g/3.5oz of rhubarb has enough acid to tread a colony.

    Bill / As I understand it, the insects suction-mouth part, (technical, eh?), is corroded away by the acid resulting in it starving to death.

    Your right, go to the website here you will find some pictures I think on the first page. The company must be from your country or so? http://www.members.shaw.ca/orioleln

    I’m telling you, loggermike has right…..It would be like developing resistance to getting thrown into a fire,or getting smashed with a hammer.

    Alfred

  4. #4
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    Here's a link to 1999 Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences publication entitled: "Spring treatment with oxalic acid in honeybee colonies as varroa control". In it they address the issue of oxalic acid residues and indicate that they may be minimal; however, more testing was suggested.
    http://www.agrsci.dk/plb/cjb/oxal-djf.htm

  5. #5
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    Hello everyone,
    In regards to a member being cut off from posting,hey this is the internet,accidental mess -ups happen all the time.I am sure everyones point of view is welcome here.
    As for oxalic,there have been lots of studies,all showing great effectiveness when done during the time of year when there is the least amount of brood.This will vary by area and strain of bee used.For example,someone using Carns in Canada would have good success,but running Cordovan Italians in south Texas or California might not.
    The commonest method of using oxalic is the dribbling method.More than one treatment doing that apparently has harmful effects on the bees over wintering.
    The new method of vaporizing hasnt shown the side effects of the dribbling method and apparently can be done more than once,according to the studies I saw.
    It wont be long now till Coumophos has lost its effect in the USA,so everyone who keeps bees seriously needs to be thinking ahead.
    Of course the beekeepers on this forum ARE thinking ahead and are on the cutting edge of what will eventually be the common practices.
    ---Mike

  6. #6
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    Hello Everyone,

    There are two different types of treatment involving oxalic acid that have been used. One treatment involves dribbling an acid solution over the bees and the other uses heat to vaporizes the solid form in the bottom of the hive. Neither have been approved for use in the US.

    I have thought that the use of oxalic fumes might provide a short term solution to the varroa mite problem for commercial beekeepers. The use of oxalic acid should not contaiminate the combs or hive products like the current type of chemicals do. Although there are application risks, it should be more user friendly than the chemical stuff and hives can be treated during the winter off season.

    Short term solutions are just that. And the same logic that implies that a substance kills the mites but doesn't kill the bees so it's safe was used in the past on every approved chemical. The long term effects of those chemicals however, were always negative and cumulative.

    Is oxalic acid a quick fix? Maybe. Is it benign at the levels used during hive treatment? Don't know but it isn't benign to the applicator at those levels. Some of the websites also show the saftey gear needed. What to take a whiff/ :> )

    Long term solutions are where everyone will end up. I like small cell. It has worked for me.

    Dennis
    Thinking the evaporator would eventually end up in the trash like all that other stuff I tried before small cell

  7. #7
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    Thanks Astrobee, I read the WHOLE thing. It had to interesting to keep my attention for THAT long...
    They were using an atomizer, not vaporizing. An atomizer would reduce their mixture to tiny dropplets. Vaporizing is heating the dry crystals into a gas. Vapor would find its way into areas that the heavier droplets would not.
    The graphs helped explain the study if you can't quite grasp the verbage.
    Bill

  8. #8
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    I've been rather put off oxalic by allegations that it damages the bees. It's applied right at the time when damage is going to be most serious. Does anyone know more? I don't know what the situation is in the States, but you can get it easily enough here.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  9. #9
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    It's sold at any hardware store. Dow chemicle sells it as a bleach for lightening the color of wood. A large tub of it is rather cheep. There are other forms of it available also.
    Bill

  10. #10
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    >>Long term solutions are where everyone will end up. I like small cell. It has worked for me.

    Something I have wondered about.I have some brood combs that have been in use for 30 years.The cells are noticeably smaller from cocoon buildup.So are the bees.Do the 4.9 cells get even smaller over time?That would produce some tiny bees!

    >>Dennis
    Thinking the evaporator would eventually end up in the trash like all that other stuff I tried before small cell

    I sure hope so.Varroa takes up way too much time dealing with it and thinking about it.I still hold out hope that the ultimate answer will be bees that fight off the mite, hopefully without having to convert to 4.9
    ---Mike


  11. #11
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    I have seen references to the bees chewing out the cocoons when the size is too small to suit them. Sounds like you've already regressed.

  12. #12
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    Hi Bill -

    I checked with my source in Sweden and he says there is no official confirmation of acid resitance, but speculations due to the high death rate in Germany. Norberto Milani has, in Apidologie, vol 32, warned against resistance to oxalic, at least enough to make it useless, if oxalic acid was used as sole miticide for several years.

    Where is the reference for the mouth part being burnt or corroded away when using oxalic? There are always mites that will survive acid treatments. A bigger percentage than from pesticide treatments. Why do they survive? If moth burning always occurrs, then why is it not 100% effect? Resistance to acid is rare among bugs, but there are cases in history, given in Rachel Carsons "Silent Spring". So it's not impossible. Also these acids used for mites aren't caustic acids, but organic acids, so if the correct enzyme is there the acid could be digested.

    Regards,
    Barry

  13. #13
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    Barry,
    Here is the web site with the pictures of the effects that oxalic acid has on the mites. http://www.members.shaw.ca/orioleln
    There is quite a bit more info on this site as well. They do claim 98% effectivness if applied when there is no brood.
    Bill

  14. #14
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    Exclamation

    Hi Bill -

    First of all, this site is a commercial site and has a vested interest in selling a product. Red flag number one.

    Second, it gives no study on it's site showing backup for their claims. They do give one link to a site that has some info on the acid but it is in German and does me no good. I have no way to confirm the numbers they show on their site (99.8% success rate, whatever that means).

    This is the last place I would recommend getting our information from. Where are the studies that give us some sound data?

    Regards,
    Barry

  15. #15
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    In the link above posted by Astrobee...
    Bill

  16. #16
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    There is a link to the site in English also. If you’re “interested” in that treatment you will find the results your looking fore on the internet. <G>

    If not, tell everyone;

    They do give one link to a site that has some info on the acid but it is in German and does me no good.
    Look here http://www.mellifera.de/engl2.htm this is I other company. <G>
    First of all, this site is a commercial site and has a vested interest in selling a product.
    Red flag number two. <G>
    Why do you treat with oil every week? Because it doesn’t reach the mites in the brood cell. Same with Oxalic Acid, you can read it on the site with the first “Red flag”
    The problem we have here in Germany is not the resistance against the Oxalic Acid, it is the stupidity from the beekeepers who think, one treatment is enough. Stupid or lazy I don’t know how to call it?

  17. #17
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    Hi all -

    Like I said before, "where's the beef?" I see a report of a report. Phrases like, "The results have indicated that any doubts about safety can be dispelled" don't do it for me. I want to see the data. Especially since the paragraph just above this says, "Because pure oxalic acid is an unhealthy, toxic and corrosive substance, it is necessary to wear protective glasses, ...."

    No where does it say that resistance can not occur from the use of the acid. The resistance part of it is minor to me. I personally wouldn't want to subject the bees to this kind of treatment, once again, stepping in and fighting the mites for the bees instead of letting them do it on their own.

    Small cell has worked for my bees now going on 4 years. Others are having the same true for them. Once I get past the 5 year mark, I will have complete confidence in it and won't hesitate to promote it.

    Regards,
    Barry

  18. #18
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    Nobody is forcing you to oxalic acid, to oil treatments or whatever. We live in a fee world and I think we all should read and study possible ways to fight the Varroa.
    I wonder why some beekeepers accept no other ways; thinking only there way is the only right one?
    Years ago I worked with Perizin, Apistan, Amitraz, Formic Acid, Lactic Acid, Thymol, Oxalic Acid in liquid form and now I end up with a treatment what is in my opinion the best for my bees because of the result, but I’m still open for others. The Russians working with the acid since late 70’s because most can’t pay the chemicals --- where is the resistant? Remember that’s almost 25 years, far over the 5-year mark. Even I have 2002 the best results ever.
    Everybody can see what happen, going for only one or two treatments recommended / registered from government. Mites getting resistant – beekeeper be left stranded. Who is interested to register the acid? I can tell you… nobody!
    The process is very expensive and only worth if you can make money after all the effort. Who wand’s to go and register vinegar for window cleaner if they ask for?
    When Columbus was ready to sail west even the scientists told him not going to far it would be his end. He didn’t listening and that’s your luck. None here in Europe would ever hear that your continent exist and now we can buy the Oxalic Vaporizer to treat the Varroa. <Smile>
    Hey don’t give me the red flag for that.


  19. #19
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    I am rooting for nature and science to hurry along the Darwinian theory. (I wish there was a spell checker here!)
    There is a tremendious amount of knowledge in the books that are available to us about beekeeping, but there are subjects that are just not there. Accepted and tried practices in one part of the world are not necesisarly so in another. I am naturaly curious and like to know how things work. I may not ever intend to use dynamite, but I like to know the how and why of it.
    I am begining my fifth year as a beekeeper, I haven't seen any sign that I have varroa. Is it there? probably. I use the perscribed chems. in the beekeeping books as directed, I don't like to, espicialy because I don't like to treat for a problem that might not be there, or retard natures natural evolution.
    There is a great many things that I do not know about beekeeping, but that is part of why this hobby appeals to me, room for growth. I like to learn from others experiances, most everyone has different results from the same trials. So how best for me to proceed? Filter out the old things that have been given up on and try those things that have the highest probability of success.
    I will let the most dedicated beat themselves with the terribaly complicated and try only that which I can handle, I am honest with myself and my limitations.
    I can understand that when someone is four years into their experiment that they don't want to hear that they could have gotten there quicker if they had taken a different route. But it's not always the destination, it's the journey that matters.
    I am not going to get stuck in any one method, that belies what I want to do with my hobby. Am I going to try oxalic acid? I don't really know yet, but the chances are good that I will, along with fgmo, permacomb, slatted racks top hive entrances, SMR's, NWC's, oils, and a host of other things as they come along.
    I still have questions of safety, but in this sue happy world with every manufacturers lawyers trying to cover their collective asses you have to take reason into your own conduct and do what is right for you and take responsibility for your own actions. In my business I am besieged with government intervention, I don't need any more in my life.
    It is not my aim to persuade or dissuade anyone, I am here to learn from others and just maybe help someone once in a while.
    Bill

    "Can't we all just get along?"
    Rodney King

  20. #20
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    Arrow

    I know I've said this before in another thread, I have no intention to force any procedure on anyone. If you believe that all "possible ways" to fight varroa should be studied, then do so. I will offer my experience with non-chemical methods and encourage others to do the same. You are free to push the chemicals and acids all you want.

    I voiced my concerns about oxalic acid and simply passed on what I heard from a friend in Sweden who I have great respect for. In the spectrum of all the chemicals, oxalic would be one of the mildest, but its use is still not without negatives.

    > The Russians working with the acid since late 70’s because most can’t pay the
    > chemicals --- where is the resistant?

    Are you telling me that the Russians strictly use only oxalic acid and no other treatments for 25 years?

    > and now we can buy the Oxalic Vaporizer to treat the Varroa.
    > <Smile>
    > Hey don’t give me the red flag for that.

    That's fine for Europe, but it's not acceptable for use in hives in the U.S.

    Regards,
    Barry

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