I just finished using the Varroacleaner sold by SNL to do my first ever OA treatment on my dozen hives. The process was easy and the Varroacleaner worked perfectly!
My hive entrances are narrow, but the Varroacleaner easily slides in, which is why I chose it over the taller Heilyser unit. Before using the Varroacleaner in a hive for the first time, I did a test run out in the open with 1/2 teaspoon of OA to make sure I understood the process and that everything was working ok. There was complete vaporization of the OA right at 2.5 minutes, just like the instructions on the box said.
When using in a hive, after the 2.5 minute vaporization time period, I de-power the unit and wait another minute or two, and then withdraw and plunge the Varroacleaner pan into a bucket of water to cool it and clean it, followed by a quick wipe with a tee-shirt.
I power the Varroacleaner with jumper cables attached to the battery in my car through a 50' 12 gauge extension cord. The 50' extension cord is necessary because my hives are on my roof, and I can drive the car only so close to the building. Since I drive the car everyday, the battery powering the Varroacleaner is always freshly charged. I am not sure how much resistive losses I get through the long extension cord, but everything works as expected, so far.
It seems the bees hardly notice the OA fumes vaporized into their hive. In fact, I would say inserting the Varroacleaner pan into the hive is more disruptive than the OA fumes.
I did not do recent mite counts before OA vaporization, but I am getting mite drops in the visually-estimated low-100's within 24 hours of the first treatment on a well populated double-deep 10-frame hive, so I know it is working.
Last year I treated mites using Apiguard. That treatment worked well. This year I choose OA vaporization over Apiguard because I can use OA at lower ambient temperature, you don't have to open the hive to administer it, and my on-line research suggested that OA fumes are less disruptive to the hive than the thymol fumes of Apiguard (which my initial experience bears out), and OA is a little better at knocking back the mites. Not to mention that OA vaporization is cheaper than Apiguard once you get past the first handful of treatments.
So far, the Varroacleaner and OA vaporization have met my expectations.
Last edited by shinbone; 10-29-2013 at 11:33 AM.
(2nd year, 13 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)