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Thread: Formic Acid

  1. #1
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    Default Formic Acid

    Does formic acid do the job it is supposed to do?

  2. #2
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    Yes it does if the mite counts are not real high. And if you are in the right temp range. If the counts are high you might need to extend the treatment.

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    Default

    I saw a review of data at EAS by an speaker that seemed to indicate that it was slightly better that menthol or thymol in the control of varroa.

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    I was looking at Oxalic Acid delivered via something like this vaporizor

    http://www.members.shaw.ca/orioleln/Vaporizer.htm

    Big advantage sounds like its not so temp dependent.

    Any comments on Formic v Oxalic?

    Both are Organic Acids and don't seem to fall into the hard/persistent chemical group.
    Milk Cows Not Taxpayers

  5. #5
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    Oxalic acid works great, especially if you can hit the hive with no brood in late fall. You can save yourself some money and just mist the combs with an oxalic acid sugar water mix. Remove the cover and spray between the frames, lift the hive body and do it again from the bottom. The sugar also acts to break down the protective shell of the varroa and gives you a higher kill rate.

  6. #6
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    Late fall is not the time to treat regardless of what you use. Treatments should be prior to the fall brood cycle, thus knocking down the mites prior to any potential damage the mites can cause.

    To treat after the fall brood cycle does kill lots of mites. But the damage to the over-wintering bees has already taken place.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPK1NH View Post
    Both are Organic Acids and don't seem to fall into the hard/persistent chemical group.
    If I eat some vegtables with dinner I probably consumed some organic acid, no problem. If I condense organic acid into a bottle the label says caution may cause death or blindness! It's still organic but so is snake venom which is used in some medicines but I am not going out to find a rattle snake if I am sick, so why dump something like that onto my bees, makes no sense at all.

    Condensed OA is sold as wood bleach Its still organic so go ahead take a sip!

    I will eat a spoonful of what I put into my hives for every drop of organic acid you put in your hives. I will have had dessert and they will be planning your funeral!
    Last edited by MIKI; 09-14-2008 at 03:14 AM. Reason: not done yet!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post
    Late fall is not the time to treat regardless of what you use. Treatments should be prior to the fall brood cycle, thus knocking down the mites prior to any potential damage the mites can cause.

    To treat after the fall brood cycle does kill lots of mites. But the damage to the over-wintering bees has already taken place.
    I agree but timing is more crucial than just before the fall brood cycle monitoring mites and treating with the rise in population and again two weeks later so as to avoid the population explosion mentioned earlier by emerging brood.

    Second reason to monitor is if a warm fall is encountered then you may have to do a late fall treatment as there will be more brood cycles and the mites will regain a foothold going into winter, devestating the winter cluster!
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKI View Post
    I agree but timing is more crucial than just before the fall brood cycle monitoring mites and treating with the rise in population and again two weeks later so as to avoid the population explosion mentioned earlier by emerging brood.

    Second reason to monitor is if a warm fall is encountered then you may have to do a late fall treatment as there will be more brood cycles and the mites will regain a foothold going into winter, devestating the winter cluster!
    I agree MIKI on the surface.

    Others I have spoke to, mention pre-fall brood cycle due to possible damage to the bees in the form of shortening their life span, and other harmful concerns.

    I personally think that there is a fine line between enough acid treatment to kill mites, and not enough to harm bees. I think that the acid treatments (O and F) if true about possibly harming bees in some way, then it would also stand to reason that the queen may be harmed. I have people who think that pre-fall treatment is best so fall brood cycle is uneffected, but then never even think about possible damage to the queen.

    Dewey Caron, MAAREC, and others are now suggesting that for the north in particular, that treatments be done in late Aug or early september, regardless of treatments type, so healthy fall brood bees are raised uneffected mite high mite presure.

    For me, even thogh I do not treat, think that if problems still exist on a level that mites are again a problem after initial treatments, and a foothold is once again seen with mites, then considerations besides acid treatments should be given. I know what the literature and marketing label says about these products, but I do not agree about damage levels and concerns. If post fall brood cycle needs to also be used, then perhaps another product should be used. And if it is needed, I hope other considerations (changes) be given as to IPM, queen type, and management considerations.

    And I agree with the bogus claims of "organic" acids treatments due to them occurring naturally on some low level. To me, there is nothing natural or organic about acid treatments. I thinks thats rationalization at its best.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKI View Post

    I will eat a spoonful of what I put into my hives for every drop of organic acid you put in your hives. I will have had dessert and they will be planning your funeral!

    MIKI, the issue is the relative effectiveness of the treatment and long term negative effects.

    If you have a mite issue you can either treat or potentially lose the hive.

    Same issue with illness in humand/animals. You need an effective treatment that will kill the disease without killing the host. Treatment has always been about the correct application, at the right concentration. Even WATER is toxic if taken in sufficient quantities.

    I suspect that in appropriate concentrations Organic Acids will not accumulate in comb the way some of the harder chemicals will and not have long term negative effects within the colony.

    If you would like to add a constructive comment please do, otherwise take it to tailgater.
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  11. #11
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    Default Some chemistry for the day: Common organic acids are the carboxylic acids

    An organic acid is an organic compound with acidic properties. The most common organic acids are the carboxylic acids whose acidity is associated with their carboxyl group -COOH. Sulfonic acids, containing the group OSO3H, are relatively stronger acids. The relative stability of the conjugate base of the acid determines its acidity. Other groups can also confer acidity, usually weakly: -OH, -SH, enol group, and the phenol group. In biological systems organic compounds containing only these groups are not generally referred to as organic acids.

    A few common examples include:

    Acetic acid
    Formic acid
    Citric acid
    Oxalic acid
    ______________________________________

    Carboxylic acids are named systematically from their corresponding alkanes by changing the ending -ane to -oic acid. Methane thus gives rise to methanoic acid, HCOOH, which is more widely known by its trivial name formic acid, while ethane gives rise to ethanoic acid, which is much more commonly called acetic acid. Carboxylic acids have an easily ionizable acidic hydrogen.

    Many carboxylic acids are known by both systematic and trivial names. Those of some of the simplest carboxylic acids are given in the Table below. Trivial names followed by an asterisk in the Table below are considered obsolete and their use is discouraged.

    Table: Names of the Simplest Carboxylic Acids
    Alkane Compound Systematic Name Trivial (Common) Name
    Methane (CH4) HCOOH Methanoic Acid Formic Acid Ethane (C2H6) CH3COOH Ethanoic Acid Acetic Acid
    Propane (C3H8) C2H5COOH Propanoic Acid Propionic Acid*
    Butane (C4H10) C3H7COOH Butanoic Acid Butyric Acid*
    Pentane (C5H12) C4H9COOH Pentanoic Acid Valeric Acid*
    Hexane (C6H14) C5H11COOH Hexanoic Acid Caproic Acid*
    Heptane (C7H16) C6H13COOH Heptanoic Acid Enanthic Acid*

    Regards,
    Ernie Lucas Apiaries
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  12. #12
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    Bees4U is correct. But to simplify it a bit more, "organic" acids are "organic" in the chemistry sense meaning they have a carbon chain in them. as opposed to "strong" acids which do not. Examples of Carboxilic (organic) acids are already given above. Examples of strong acids are HCl (Hydrochloric), H2S04 (Sulfuric) etc. As you can see they have no carbon chains in them and they are much more acidic. The "organic" acids used to treat Varroa do happen to occur naturally, but that is not why they are called "organic" acids.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
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    As to application. effectiveness and long term effects what are your thoughts/experiences wrt Formic and Oxalic Acids Michael?
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  14. #14
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    Bjorne good point what do you think about the dowda method if a warm fall is encountered?

    JPK1NH
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKI View Post
    Bjorne good point what do you think about the dowda method if a warm fall is encountered?
    MIKI,
    I put powder sugar in the same catagory as other treatments such as essential oils, smoking with particular fuels, and other items that stimulate grooming and hygienic behavior. I think they do help, although time consuming in regards to the number of applications required to keep mites at bay. It certainly can not hurt, although I am in favor of different IPM items that will allow good results without such applications.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKI View Post

    JPK1NH
    My comments are constructive and do not belong in the trailer trash section of this forum and do not ever presume to tell anyone especially me what and where to post!
    MIKI, I'm happy to listen to constructive dialogue but the statement below is far from that and more appropriate for Tailgater

    Quote Originally Posted by MIKI
    I will eat a spoonful of what I put into my hives for every drop of organic acid you put in your hives. I will have had dessert and they will be planning your funeral!
    Milk Cows Not Taxpayers

  17. #17
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    >As to application. effectiveness and long term effects what are your thoughts/experiences wrt Formic and Oxalic Acids Michael?

    I have no personal experience with Formic. My reading on the subject convinced me that there were more queen losses and it was very temperature dependent. My weather is pretty unpredictable.

    My only experience with Oxalic was vaporizing it. It was very effective and did not appear to have any ill effect on the bees and was NOT temperature dependent. Also it's cheaper and easier to ship, (in fact oxalic is available at the local hardware store) since liquid formic is a hazardous material. But I'm much happier not treating at all.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
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    Default Formic Acid treatment

    http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/varroa/FormicAcid.pdf

    I just got through treating my 3 hives using Dr. James Amrine and Bob Noel's method and got execllent results. I lost no queens, noticed no dead bees, and saw no dead larvaue. Mites killed were in high numbers. I am 14 days past the treatment and am still gathering data. The day after I had about 247 dead mites. Each day the numbers drop. Last night I was down to 27. This method actually kills mites in the brood as long as the comb is not the old thick tough comb associated with old comb that should have been removed. It took a little to get everything lined up but killing the mites in 24 hours versus 21 days with MiteAway II using this method appealed to me. One of the commercial beekeepers in Florida has treated one hive with the same queen 3 times and she is still producing with no noticed changes. Cannot beat that. I have noticed my hive since the treatment seems to be a lot more active. I did the typical mite droup count on the greesed board under the screen bottom board to determine when to treat. When my daily drop hit 50 or above for a day or two I treated.
    John Jones
    Stone Mountain, Georgia

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