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Thread: Formic acid

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Kelowna, BC, Canada
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    5

    Default Formic acid

    Hi,
    Due to a cold and rainy summer here this year, many of our hives are just building up an extra surplus of honey now. They have enough for themselves but any they make from here on in could be removed. Last night we put in formic acid pads for mite prevention in winter brood, but we are wondering if we could use any of they honey we take in a few weeks, or if the formic acid makes it un-consumable for people. Maybe we should take some of what's there now and let them restock themselves?
    Thank you for the advice,
    S&J

  2. #2
    Harold Guest

    Default Re: Formic acid

    It is my understanding you cannot use any honey that is in
    the same box. Hive or supper that has any chemical in it.
    I believe it even states on the package, Not to use when collecting Honey.
    My self I don't like formic Acid Pads. it is to hard on brood.
    In Washington State I use Hop guard strips Gentle on brood tough on mites.
    Harold

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Kelowna, BC, Canada
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    5

    Default Re: Formic acid

    Thanks Harold, we will look into Hop Guard. We wouldn't be selling any honey, just for ourselves, but I want to make sure its safe.
    I found this on the MiteAway QuickStrips website:

    3) Subject: Treating with honey supers on.
    Q) Can I really treat with honey super on? Why does it not flavour the honey?
    A) Formic acid naturally occurs in honey at levels ranging up to over 2,000 parts per million (ppm). The formic acid concentration in hive air during MAQS treatment remains well below 100 ppm, so the levels in the honey do not go outside of naturally occurring levels.

    I'd like to believe this but don't have enough experience with it
    (and we are not using MiteAway, we are using a slow release treatment with a lower % of formic acid called MiteGone)
    Last edited by s&j; 08-21-2012 at 01:31 PM. Reason: More info

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Formic acid

    Read and follow the Directions!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,575

    Default Re: Formic acid

    It occurs naturally in honey. There should be nothing wrong w/ honey produced w. formic acid pads on hives. It's my understanding that that's why Mite Away Quick Strips were developed.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
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    Default Re: Formic acid

    Quote Originally Posted by s&j View Post

    (and we are not using MiteAway, we are using a slow release treatment with a lower % of formic acid called MiteGone)
    check with the mitegone internet site if that is what you are using the person that sells the stuff has all kinds of information there, if you want to ask him direct he at times posts on bee-l
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Formic acid

    Formic acid pads are fine for use with honey supers on. It is the reason I used it this year instead of Apiguard.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,219

    Default Re: Formic acid

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    It occurs naturally in honey. There should be nothing wrong w/ honey produced w. formic acid pads on hives.
    Why doesn't the honey kill the mites?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
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    1,066

    Default Re: Formic acid

    Why doesn't the honey kill the mites?
    Because mites don't eat honey.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Formic acid

    Mites eat formic acid?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Kelowna, BC, Canada
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    5

    Default Re: Formic acid

    Thanks everyone! We will get all the info we can from the MiteGone website and if it's ok, will proceed with care and leave the supers on. Hopefully next year the weather cooperates and we can pull full supers before we apply mite treatment - that's how it worked last year

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    715

    Default Re: Formic acid

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Mites eat formic acid?
    Not willingly;

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Kelowna, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Formic acid

    I've read that the mites have softer bodies than bees and the formic acid wrecks their feet. They fall off the bees and die in the gas that settles at the bottom of the hive. Die scum!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Formic acid

    So it is a gas that the bees can breath or do the mites have to walk on the pads or strips?If it is a gas that settles then I would think having supers on would decrease it's effectiveness and having a top entrance would really decrease it's effectiveness.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Default Re: Formic acid

    It is a fumigant. It kills mites on the bees themselves but primary purpose is to kill male mites in capped brood cells so that females have a difficult time mating. Male mites only live in the capped brood cells and as a result never form a hard outer shell (carapace) and are particularly susceptible to formic acid fumes. The formic vapors penetrate the cell and kill the male mites. No male mites for the female foundress mite to mate with and the population dives quickly. About 95% efficacy.

    Having supers on is fine as you are targeting the male mites in the brood nest primarily. They actually suggest adding a box so the bees can move into it until the vapor level drops but has already killed the male mites in the brood nest. Top entrances are considered fine as long as they are not too big.

    After treatment testing shows that formic acid levels in honey and comb are not increased above naturally occurring levels.

    It works great but is hard on the bees.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  16. #16
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Formic acid

    Is this a one shot deal?
    If it were a one shot deal you could remove all the capped brood from a hive and destroy it killing the male mites in the carnage (man made brood break). But don't the females lay more male eggs? So if you don't kill the females you would have to do it at least twice whether it is formic acid or physically culling brood.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Winhall, VT
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    Default Re: Formic acid

    Sure, I guess you could kill all of your brood if you want. Give it a try and let us know how it works out for you!
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Kelowna, BC, Canada
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    5

    Default Re: Formic acid

    Isn't that kind of the point of drone foundation? More mites are produced in drone cells so if most drones are layed on one frame and you remove it, you remove a fair amount of mites too?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Winhall, VT
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    Default Re: Formic acid

    Yes, but drones don't care for brood or gather honey so they are considered "expendable".
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Formic acid

    I think if you are treating your bees with formic acid you have already determined that some are expendable even if it doesn't happen instantly.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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