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Thread: oxalic acid

  1. #61
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    Michael and Mike: I will apoligize for my tongue in cheek remarks about grant funding and bee lab closing. I had no idea that I would be taken seriously, I was trying to make the point the you folks have now made, let professionals do the research and the back yard beekeeper labs be closed. Utilize the results of scientific research and be thankful for it.
    I would also not close the labs in S Tx and AZ. If you have followed the recent reorginization of the USDA bee labs you will know that elimination of duplication was the essence of the effort.
    I am lucky enough to live close to and associate weekly with a retired USDA bee scientist who writes a monthly article for the ABJ and who shares his wealth of bee knowledge gained from more than 60 years in beekeeping and research, Queen rearing was and is his specialty.
    In the future I will keep my tongue in cheek remarks to myself.
    Have a nice day
    Les in SC

  2. #62
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    On the other hand, "backyard beekeepers" like Rev. L.L. Lanstroth changed beekkeeping as we know it, and a lot of people's work would not be considered "real" research because they lacked the educational credentails, such as A.I. Root, Charles Dadant, Julius Hoffman and all the other fathers of modern beekeeping.

    I think it's more likely that any real advances will come from the beekeeping community, not the researchers. I do think we need researchers to validate the results, but only if they actually try to duplicate the experiments.

  3. #63
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    Hey Les,Keep the comments coming ,tongue in cheek or not.Your queen breeder/scientist friend is exactly the kind of person I am talking about.(I think I read about everything he wrote over the years)We need these bright people doing research and getting well paid for it.Unfortunately,the bee industry is too small and shaky financially to pay these guys.So the taxpayers should pick up the tab,being as how they benefit(even though they dont know that they do)Not all gov. programs are total crap,but a lot are!
    And the backyard beekeepers can help too.Even a blind sow finds an occasional acorn.

  4. #64
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    Michael: we could be talking apples and oranges. I will try to make myself clear. I view apriculture (beekeeping) and bee biology (research) seperately , this seperation in your opinion may or may not be proper. In the seperation I realize of course that the two can be practiced by the same person, it is not unsual to find a scientist who practice apriculture. I do believe however that few if any apriculturist are scientist.
    Of the fathers of beekeeping you mentioned. The Rev. Langstroth who discovered bee space and the top opening hive both have served us well and he deserves the recognition,there does seems to be some controversy about the credit he has received for his discovery of removable frames. It appears that he may have gotten the idea from a 1838 book by Munn. See TH&HB third printing 1997 ,page 13 first para.
    Mr J Hoffman gave us the frame containing the automatic bee space feature, he rightly deserves reconiginitioin for his work, even though many beekeepers choose not to use the feature.
    Both Rev. Langstroth and Mr. Hoffman were beekeepers , their work falls into my definition of apriculture. I can find no evidence that Mr. Root or Mr Dadent fall into either catagory.
    Mr Root and the French jeweler Mr Dadant have made major contributions to beekeeping through their editing and publishing of other peoples work and by supplying beekeeping equipment, if someone has evidence contradicting this please feel free to correct me.
    The people just mentioned were not trained scientist and to my knowledge did no research, but did make major contributions to beekeeping. As for being the fathers of beekeeping I don't know I guess I will leave that to the historians.
    My comments are intended to make clear my thoughts on what is to me apriculture and research , not to suggest in any way what a beekeeper should or should not do with his bees. I do advocate the use of information generated from the scientific community and suggest that the information be used exactely as prescribed. I have been into hives that had two sets of strips in them, these new strip would be the third set.
    You mentioned that if the scientist would work to verify/validate facts found by beekeepers they would be doing the right thing. Could you give us an example of what you mean?. I honestly believe that there are people at the USDA labs. who would love to have your inputs.
    It is said that a good beekeeper does the right thing at the right time, now if I just knew what and when.
    I without reservation urge you to leave bee biology research to the scientist.
    Have a fun day
    Les in SC



  5. #65
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    Dale or Ann
    If you are out there please e-mail me your address I am having trouble with your e-mail address.
    Les in SC

  6. #66
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    >Michael: we could be talking apples and oranges. I will try to make myself clear. I view apriculture (beekeeping) and bee biology (research) seperately , this seperation in your opinion may or may not be proper. In the seperation I realize of course that the two can be practiced by the same person, it is not unsual to find a scientist who practice apriculture. I do believe however that few if any apriculturist are scientist.

    Most beekeepers I have known have a keen interest in the little details of what is the best to do for their bees. This often leads to experiments. Some of this experimentation is not very scientific and some of it is. In the long run, though, methods that require a lot of effort with little return are rejected. Methods that give noticeably better results for reasonable effort are retained. Methods that require little effort, but seemed at one point to help, may also be retained or skipped. The point is that not only have beekeepers innovated all of the useful techniques of beekeeping but also in the big wide world of lots of bees and lots of hives the reality of things gets tested.

    Many drugs have been carefully researched with careful scientific studies only to be released into the wild and find out that in that thing we call reality there were things that did not show up in the research. I can give hundreds of life devastating examples if you insist, but Phen-Phen should suffice for a recent one.

    As the truckers say, this is where the rubber meets the road.

    Can you name some useful beekeeping innovations, other than a few stopgap poisons for mites that came from official scientist? I don’t know of any. AI has had little effect on my life as a beekeeper; in fact I’m not so sure it hasn’t caused more problems. If we let the bees that survive breed, we would be better off.

    >Of the fathers of beekeeping you mentioned. The Rev. Langstroth who discovered bee space and the top opening hive both have served us well and he deserves the recognition,there does seems to be some controversy about the credit he has received for his discovery of removable frames. It appears that he may have gotten the idea from a 1838 book by Munn. See TH&HB third printing 1997 ,page 13 first para.

    I’m quite certain that Rev. Langstroth didn’t discover bee space any more than Columbus discovered that the world was round. Columbus had read what the Greeks and Romans had said on the subject and merely convinced people it was true. But he still changed the world as he knew it. Certainly the Greeks were building moveable combs (top bars) for centuries and Huber had built a moveable comb hive, perhaps not commercially useful, but the concept was already there. Langstroth made a practical one and got people to use it.

    Huber, one of the great bee researchers, was a beekeeper and is only respected as a scientist because he acted as one, not because of his credentials.

    >Both Rev. Langstroth and Mr. Hoffman were beekeepers , their work falls into my definition of apriculture. I can find no evidence that Mr. Root or Mr Dadent fall into either catagory.

    Many of these men came up with small contributions that made beekeeping more commercially viable or less labor intensive. Mr. Dadant did many experiments on what was the correct depth of a frame and he was probably correct but no one uses them. He wrote numerous articles on the details of beekeeping and the science of beekeeping. A.I. Root was a researcher who compiled the then available scientific knowledge of beekeeping into not only a book, but one of the journals of beekeeping. He was careful to site sources and tried to make sure what he presented was known as a fact and not just folklore. He often wrote for the magazine of experiments or discoveries that he and other beekeepers had come up with.

    >I do advocate the use of information generated from the scientific community and suggest that the information be used exactely as prescribed. I have been into hives that had two sets of strips in them, these new strip would be the third set.

    I agree many beekeepers do not follow directions. Sometimes it is an attempt to save money and a lack of understanding of the principles involved. A lot of beekeepers would follow the directions better if they understood that there was a reason. But I see many “scientific” studies on methods being purported by beekeepers as being useful against mites and these “trained scientists” not only do not follow the beekeeper’s procedures exactly, but obviously have not even bothered to understand the concepts involved.

    Also most “scientific” studies I see on bees are not large enough to be statistically valid nor are they for an entire year to see what effects it has through the seasons, let alone over a longer period of time. A queen may live at least a couple of years and anything that could cause an accumulative effect on her can cause problems in the hive. Any study of anything should run for a couple of years to see what the long-term effects are. Most “scientific” studies of bees I see published last a month or less.

    >You mentioned that if the scientist would work to verify/validate facts found by beekeepers they would be doing the right thing. Could you give us an example of what you mean?. I honestly believe that there are people at the USDA labs. who would love to have your inputs.

    There are many alternative mite treatments being used by beekeepers. Many are working at least for some people in some circumstances. Most are not researched at all. When they are researched, the methods are questionable at best. Rather than rehash that I will refer you to my rantings on that: http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum13/HTML/000052.html

    >It is said that a good beekeeper does the right thing at the right time, now if I just knew what and when. I without reservation urge you to leave bee biology research to the scientist.

    No thanks.


    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited February 21, 2003).]

  7. #67
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    Hello Everyone,

    I have found a need to raise and maintain some large cell hives. Unlike my small cell hives, these hives will require mite treatments. Fuming with oxalic acid seems like a good choice. It's non-contaiminating, relatively benign to the bees and very easy to apply.

    So, I have built a webpage describing my oxalic acid evaporators. Check it out at:
    www.bwrangler.com/bee/goxa.htm


    A limited use of oxalic could be an integral step in a much easier and painless way to 'regress' bees to small cell. And for $10 you can throw your own evaporator away.

    Still thinking, no whiffing allowed and no 100lb bags of oxalic needed:> )

    But if I had regressing to do over again and knew then what I have learned from my top bar hive, I wouldn't lose any of my hives to mites hoping that the survivors would somehow be superior. I would treat those bees with oxalic fumes and gradually replace the core area of the broodnest with small cell comb.

    I have trashed most of my ideas about regression but know how important both large and small cell sizes are to the bees. It might not take very much small cell comb in a hive to gain mite tolerance, if it is in the right place. And this could be easily done, maybe in a single season, without loosing any colonies!

    Thanks Bullseye for the point to this forum. With so many different bee lists its hard for me to remember just where I posted what.

    And if you follow my tracks be sure to avoid all those bogs I fell into :> ) If you miss a even one of them, you'll be way ahead of me!

    Best Regards
    Dennis


    [This message has been edited by BWrangler (edited September 09, 2003).]
    Last edited by BWrangler; 11-07-2007 at 07:25 PM.

  8. #68
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    I like the design. I like the price.

  9. #69
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    Hello Everyone,

    Hi Everyone,

    Axtmann, noted that my top hive evaporator could pose a problem. The vapors coming off the evaporator can be very hot. It these vapors were to blast directly on the bees, they would be killed. He suggests at least about 2' of tubing is needed to cool the vapors.

    I watched the initial application of the hive top evaporator through my plexiglass inner cover. The bees moved back from the immediate area as the evaporator was being heated and before the oxalic vaporized. No bees were killed in test applications.

    It could be the configuration of my hives that help disperse the blast of fumes. The 3/4" hole is directly in front of a frame end bar which would deflect the blast sides ways.

    If the hole was directly in front of the open space between the frame end bars, I could see where a problem could develop.

    Thanks, Axtmann. I will re-evaluate the situation.

    Regards
    Dennis

  10. #70
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    Hi Everybody,

    I conducted a test to see how hot the oxalic vapor are when using my hive top evaporator.

    I took an empty deep super. Put two shallow frames into it. Placed the gap between the frames directly in front of the 3/4" vent hole. Spread the frames apart about 3/8". Then set a thermocouple just inside the end bar and directly in front of the vent hole. Ambient temp was 58 degrees F. This test was designed to represent a worse case scenario for blasting bees with oxalic fumes, a direct shot at bees on the comb.

    I charged the evaporator and test fired it while watching both the action of the vapor and the temperature.

    First minute of heating. Temps were the same no sign of vapor.

    Second minute of heating. Minor amount of vapor appears. Temps spike to 98 degrees F at end of second minute and vapor begins to flow steady like an idling cigarette. Little horizontal force with the vapor.

    Third minute of heating. Vapor flow increases to about like an gently exhaled breath and remains very low pressure. Horizontal movement restricted with 4 inches of the vent hole. Temps steady at about 99 degrees and then spike to 132 degrees at the end of minute 3.

    Minute 4. Vapor flow rapidly decreases to to cigarette like flow and temps rapidly decrease to about 100 degrees. Continued heating would have kept the temps at about 100 degrees regardless of the presence of oxalic powder in the magazine.

    Examining the frame end bars after running the evaporator showed the typical white oxalic acid deposits. There were no signs of melted wax or propolis on the end bars, combs or in the gaps between them. A very small amount of propolis stuck to the thermocouple which was directly in front of the vent hole.

    The sudden blast or surge that occurs with the bottom board evaporator was greatly modified by the larger diameter delivery tube in the hive top evaporator.

    The vapor is hot but its effects are limited by it's lack of lateral movement and the time it takes for the temps to spike.

    This confirmed what I saw in my hives using the plex cover and with the evaporator directly in front of a end bar. The bees would have time to move back from the immediate area of influence of the vapor before it became hot enough to do them in.

    I didn't use any bees in this test and would advise watching bees if the vent hole would allow vapors to blast directly between the combs. But this test indicates that the results would probably be minimal as the temps are not as hot as I thought they would be and are quickly moderated.

    Axtmann, thanks again for the caution. It's something I had not though of.

    Regards
    Dennis
    Not wanting to burn up anyones bees with oxalic fumes

  11. #71
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    A good hot sauna is 220 degrees F.

  12. #72
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    You don't need a sauna in New Mexico. Just walk outside! Then when you're done run inside and roll in the carpet in the air-conditioning.

  13. #73
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    LoggerMike wrote
    >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!

    If you have been using combs that long, that in its self would be bringing on greater risks to the bees health. No matter how the bees clean broodcells, there is always things beeing embedded by the cocoons. This is an open invitation to the bees health-problmizers. I always rotate combs so that brood-combs never get used more that 2 seasons in the broodchambers. After that they get to serve in the supers as combs for heather-honey which demands strong combs in order not to break down during extracting because of its vicousity.

    My experience after 23 years with the little girls, are that they like having a young mother, and clean and fresh living and working enviroments in order to stay happy and productive.

  14. #74
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    Actually,I have only a very tiny number of these old combs still in use.I only cull brood combs when they get what I consider an excessive amount of drone comb or are otherwise defective.To take perfect brood combs out of production just because they are dark is unneccessary and actually counter-productive .This seems to be a common procedure in Europe but I dont think too many commercial beekeepers here would consider it practical.
    I agree with you on keeping young queens in the hives .I think that is a very important part of keeping hives healthy.

  15. #75
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    >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!

    Studies have shown that after the cells get as small as the bees desire they start chewing out the cocoons to keep them the size they want.

    I would guess you would end up with a lot of 4.8mm bees.

  16. #76
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    Bwrangler-
    After re-reading your web site posting of your trials with the vaporizer I discovered that this is a more simplistic porcess than I was making it out to be.

    I thought that your appiance was in addition to a vaporizer , I was confused... I am glad to finally understand that it is a very easy to construct piece of equipment.

    My question to you is, do you think there is a need for an air pump? From your article I would think not. Thanks for saving me a LOT of money, I WAS going to buy one, but now I know how to make my own.

    You have obviously been using it this summer, what frequency of application do you plan to use it? I have installed the strips for a midterm control and thought that an application this January would be good timing, your thoughts please?

    Thanks again, Bill

  17. #77
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    I have used acid and am quite pleased with the results. I was told not to use it when brood was present because it is highly toxic to brood. I only fog in the winter when no brood is there. I was wondering if some of you that do it in the summer have checked the brood a week later and seen any negative results.

  18. #78
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    The reason for using it when there is little brood is simply to get the mites that are normally in the brood so as to avoid repeat treatments.I know some of the research was done when there was brood present and there was no mention of any ill effects.

  19. #79
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    Hello Bill I used a Vaporizer without airflow and the effect is in my opinion 15% – 20% less effective. I would say you need at last two more treatments to get the same result.
    I put a glass on top of the frames last year and could see how the oxalic acid works on the bees. If bees in a cluster there was almost no movement when I fogged with the regular system. All bees on the outside from the cluster had a white color from acid fog and it takes very long for them to bring the acid inside the cluster to the other bees.
    With a light warm air stream the bees open the cluster a little bit and the fog can reach much more (almost all) bees. That’s why you should not treat the colonies below the freezing point. After approx an hour bees was in cluster again and no harm to the whole colony.
    The Swiss research people have the same experience with there electric vaporizers. The heat inside the colonies open the cluster and the treatment is much more effective.


  20. #80
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    Hi Bullseye and Everyone,

    I have setup three large cell hives this summer and have tested the effects of the evaporator on them. If a person must treat, I think oxalic is the best choice. Very little disruption occurs in the colony. I didn't see any impact on brood rearing or behavior.

    I also fumed one small cell hive initially to check for it's efficiency. This small cell hive naturally dropped about 1 mite/week before treatment. It dropped about 15 mites in two weeks after the treatment. No evidence of any mites was found on the bees themselves. The mite load was just too low. But the oxalic was effective even at these low levels of infestation.

    I couldn't see any difference in growth or behavior between the untreated small cell hives and the treated one.

    I had used powdered sugar dusting on large cell hives before trying oxalic. The dusting is very disruptive and labor intensive.

    I don't have any experience with an air pump. Injecting the fumes at the top of the hive works very well when the bees are not clustered.

    I don't have any experience treating clustered bees. I think clustered bees would be very hard to treat effectively.

    I would like to add just one note of caution. The oxalic acid fumes don't bother the bees very much. BUT THEY ARE VERY TOXIC TO THE BEEKEEPER. DON'T BREATH THEM IN NO MATTER WHAT! A small volume can contaminate a large area and they are hard to see once diluted in the air.

    Be Careful. These fumes are not like sugar dust, essential oils or fgmo which are probably not good in the lungs! Oxalic fumes can eliminate beekeepers as well as mites. If you have handled hazadous material, very caustic chemicals or worked in a lab you won't have any problem. But if not, read the msds and follow the instructions.

    Regards
    Dennis
    Wanting everyone to know harmless to bees doesn't always equate to harmless to beekeepers

    [This message has been edited by BWrangler (edited September 19, 2003).]

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