Comb in the way of OAV
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  1. #1
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    Default Comb in the way of OAV

    I have solid bottom boards and have noticed that some hives have comb hanging down from the bottom of the frames to where its only a couple inches away from the bottom board . I never gave it much concern and I don't seem to remove the bottom box in my inspections to remove it , instead just pull frames from the top and just removing some of it . When I was trying to slide my OA vaporizer in the hive I noticed I bumped the comb but didn't think much of it , after vaporizing, the pot on the vaporizer was black . Did I run the risk of melting the wax or worse starting a fire inside , did the oa vaporize correctly with the wax melting in the pot . Should I reach in with a long scraper and try to remove this comb or maybe tip the the hive back and remove it , wasn't sure if it could be brood but I expect it wouldn't be so close to the cold opening this time of year or could it have honey in it , probably no way of knowing without taking a look .Has anyone else run into this situation .

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    Very scary thought: "starting a fire inside" !

    But I looked up the flashpoint temp for beeswax and it is 490-525 deg F so I don't think the wax would actually catch fire with the ignition temps involved in OAV (@ 220F). But that is above the wax melting point, which is @ 140F.

    My own pot has gotten some black residue on it, though I know for a fact that it can't have bumped into anything since I am still stubbornly trying to work out techniques for doing the OAV below the SBB, from the varroa screen slot. Perhaps your residue wasn't actually wax, just normal impurities left from the OAV burn?

    I know you weren't sniffing closely around the hive during the procedure, but afterwards could you smell anything unusual? Perhaps it's the chemicals in my mask cartridge, but I get a distinct, but fugitive, odor of grape soda (of all the weird things!) during the process.

    In your shoes, I would be breaking that stack apart on the first warm day and looking to see what was underneath the box and what exposure it had to high temps. (And I would be intereted in seeing a picture, if you take one.) I worried about the possibility of burning the foam insulation panels I have in my hives during the winter, so covered the bottoms edges with aluminum tape.

    I am surprised your girls build down below their frames. I actually have an additional 1.5" high shim underneath my lowest box above the bottom which some people have warned might prompt unwanted comb-building below the frames. But it has not. I run a SBB above a solid board.

    Other than this incident, how is the OAV working for you? This is my first round, so I am keen to hear other peoples' experiences with it.

    Enjambres

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    I didn't see any black residue from at least two other hives I treated and the vaporizer came out clean so I'm pretty certain it was the wax or could it be burnt bee's , I was using the same container of OA each time but I agree maybe I should take a look , I didn't notice any odd odors , I have noticed this comb before when I was trying to slide sticky boards in they would bump into the comb hanging down .

    As far as the treating its been very hit and miss on results and I haven't had a good mite drop yet , I was trying to confirm my dosage on another thread but I think I'm on the right track . I think the issues I'm having are related to the length of time the power is on the vaporizer , depending if the unit is cold as in the first treatment compared to the rest of the treatments when its already warmed up , I've done quite a few test runs and it seems like I have to run it for 3 mins then shut it off to get a good burn and it still leaves a hard thin crust in the pot but I have been told thats just impurities but I wondered if it was a incomplete burn and not giving a full tretment . On my last treatment I removed the top cover to see if I was getting a good burn and did see the white fog coming up through the inner cover hole so maybe I'll see some results this time around , I have the sticky boards in place , so I should know in a couple days , how have you been making out .

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    Well, I too, have had a somewhat uneven experience, though overall I am pleased and optimistic that it will work well for me.

    As I said above, I am doing it from below the screen, so that's a potential issue as it's possible that the screen itself is causing some problems by allowing the vapors to "condense" or deposit on it before spreading upward.

    OTOH, I did a friend's hive with the exact same set-up (in terms of boxes, shim underneath and SBB, etc.) as mine and I did see smoke/vapors arising out of her opened, upper holes. On the hive of my own with same number of boxes (though in a slightly different configuration, mine: D/m/m and hers: m/m/D) I saw no smoke emerge at all. The difference may be that all my stacks are jam-packed with bees and comb whereas hers are much less so.

    On the first round I had problems with "snow" appearing after the burn on the cup, the cookie sheet it was set on and on the floor of the hive. As well as above that, because some snow drifted downward after a few days and it appeared on my sticky boards which were only inserted after I had finished the treatment, and were snow-free for at least three days after that as I was checking them daily. I saw no "snow" caught on the SBB after the treatment.

    This time I arranged things so that the cup was completely in the air, and not in contact with anything that might bleed off any of its heat. And I saw no snow when I removed the wand, so that's an improvement. But it was also 10 degrees warmer on the second round, (60F vs 50F) so that may also have been a factor, as well.

    The major issue I am fussing over is the dosage rate, as all of my hives are bigger, sometimes much bigger, than a typical two-box stack. One is two deeps and five mediums, another is four deeps. Even my smallest are D/m/m or D/D/m (and each soon to get a second of whichever size they only have one of, so I can winter on D/D/m/m.) So far, I have used one full tsp. on the largest, a 3/4 tsp dose on the four-deep, and a half-teaspoon dose on the other two. When I queried this, I was told that the vaporizer I have (Varroacleaner) can't handle more than half a tsp at a time. But I tested it, and it can easily burn off, with all smoke and no residue, a full tsp. so I'm sticking with that. The alternative would be a second dose immediately following the first but I'm not sure whether that would result in the same spread. And spread throughout the hive is the aim, I think, for full effectiveness on the phoretic mites.

    What results have you seen on your stickies? My four dropped between 180 and 285 over the ensuing six days. (No correlation between size of hive, known mite load - by sugar roll, dosage/box or relative "quality" of treatment, with more snow being worse than no snow.) I have seen pictures of sticky boards covered with thousands of mites after treatment, so while I'm glad to have lower numbers, I don't know for sure whether that's treatment-process-related, or whether I just don't have as high a mite load as I thought. I doubt I have much brood at the moment for them to hiding in, but I do still have some. It also took a few days for the mites to begin to drop in any quantity, so don't be disappointed if you don't see much at first. And they were still dropping at a higher than usual rate late on the afternoon of the sixth day from treatment. I happened to count and re-insert clean stickies and then went to a friend's house to do her hive. In just those few hours as many as six or eight dropped in each hive, which was a considerably higher rate than before treating, so there is some residual effect going on, too.

    A family emergency kept me from doing the treatment on the fifth day, so I was one day late and I hope that doesn't screw things up too badly. (I wonder how the standard five-day interval was determined?)

    I am planning to set up a dummy box with a glass cover so I can watch what happens the vapors rise up through the SBB. That may change my practice.

    My bees seem to be tolerating the treatment well, though I haven't been poking around in the boxes to see queen, brood, etc.

    And I love that I can treat without breaking open the stack.

    I would be interested to read more about your experiences as you go through the treatment process.

    Enj.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    Are you hooking your vaporizer to a battery you carry with you ? maybe battery is not fully charged.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    Quote Originally Posted by laketrout View Post
    I have solid bottom boards and have noticed that some hives have comb hanging down from the bottom of the frames to where its only a couple inches away from the bottom board . I never gave it much concern and I don't seem to remove the bottom box in my inspections to remove it , instead just pull frames from the top and just removing some of it . When I was trying to slide my OA vaporizer in the hive I noticed I bumped the comb but didn't think much of it , after vaporizing, the pot on the vaporizer was black . Did I run the risk of melting the wax or worse starting a fire inside , did the oa vaporize correctly with the wax melting in the pot . Should I reach in with a long scraper and try to remove this comb or maybe tip the the hive back and remove it , wasn't sure if it could be brood but I expect it wouldn't be so close to the cold opening this time of year or could it have honey in it , probably no way of knowing without taking a look .Has anyone else run into this situation .
    Put on a slatted rack. You will never have this problem again. All my hives have slatted racks. I have more than enough room to slide the vaporizer in and out.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    Thanks for the info , I'll pass on my drop counts in a few days , before treating I had natural drops of 20 to 65 so I would expect a good amount of mites to drop off but I haven't been able to achieve a good drop yet , hope this time around it works better .I'm still using 1/2 tsp for 3 mediums .

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    Yes there is sometimes ladder comb in the way. Smoke the bees up and rake off a path about 4 inches wide and half way back. I have had wax in the bowl and the oxalic boils off through the wax layer floating in the bowl.
    Frank

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    So you feel it vaporized ok even with the wax in the bowl .

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    Yes, I felt that it went off ok. It would be easy to do a test run, deliberately throwing in a bit of wax and see if the fumes come off. Oxalic is water soluble not fat soluble so I dont think the wax will take up any amount of the acid.
    Frank

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    Well I guess the mite drop will tell !!

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    I agree with Ray. I have placed slatted racks above SBB on all of my full hives. Absolutely no problem with low hanging burr comb. I use 1 gram per brood chamber. I do not add more for the honey supers. In example, I have a hive that is a deep and 4 mediums with brood in the medium directly above the deep. I used 2 g in that hive for each the 3 treatments (due to work it was 7 day intervals). In a 4 medium (no deep) hive with brood in 2 chambers, I use the same dose. I believe I read somewhere that 3 g equals a tsp but I may be mistaken. The total mite fall from the larger hive was over 3,000. About 1,700 from the 2nd.

    I insert my Varrox vaporizer through the bottom entrance and rest it directly on the screen near the middle of the SBB. No pan, tray or sheet of metal or levitation used. I leave the sticky boards in place underneath the screens and use strips of foam to block the bottom entrance. I use a 3 minute burn time and occasionally have a bit of black residue. I make sure I have a fully charged battery before treating. So far, every treatment had resulted in a minimum of 250+ dead mites. The hives I mentioned above obviously more. My ambient temperatures during treatment have been between 50 - 60F

    After inspecting the hives and nucs yesterday, most of the brood is now gone. I'll wait until mid-November and give them all 1 more dose.

    John
    11 yrs, TF 6 yrs, moved to OAV in 2014, MAQS 2016. 6 hives and 5 nucs Zone 4B
    www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    @Eyeshooter,

    Re dosing: Why would the number of brood chambers matter for a product/method that only treats phoretic mites? Is it because it's assumed that the honey supers (or other non-brood chambers) don't contain significant numbers of bees? Or because the product/method is only supposed to be done when the "supers" are off (Whatever that means.) What about now when brood in the north is greatly diminished but the numbers of bees has not, and when I have boxes of winter stores on the hive because they need to be there to survive our long cold winters?

    For instance, I have a four-deep colony, during the major time of brood earlier this summer it had 4 to 6 frames of brood in three of the deeps at the same time. Now, I'd be surprised if there were more than two frames with brood on them in a single deep. But it's packed with bees, covering all but the two outermost frames in the two upper boxes. There are a few frames in the center of the former brood area in the second from bottom box that are empty of brood or stores and only lightly covered with bees. Since I see this in all my heading-into-winter colonies I assume it is normal and natural as the sort of center of the early winter cluster-point.

    So it seems to me that this colony needs (at the least) a three-box dose, which is what I have been giving them, or 3/4 tsp. (My reasoning for three not four is that each 1/4 tsp is slightly more than one gram, and also due to the bee-less outer frames on the upper two boxes, I have reduced the colony somewhat while the slight extra above the 1 gr/box that arises from measuring by the quarter teaspoon sort of works out. Also a bit of a deliberate underdosing to be on the safe side with a procedure that isn't completely idiot-proofed by approved authorities here in the US.)

    I guess I don't understand why the space, or the bees, in the honey supers (or any other non-brood chamber box, for that matter) wouldn't count when computing the dose per colonie.

    And I worry that by counting each box that I am unintentionally overdosing simply because the dosages were initially arrived at for hives that were comprised only of brood boxes because the supers had been taken off. If I took off my two uppermost boxes during the treatment I would likely remove about half to a third of the bees as well, which doesn't seem correct, either.

    I know that the process of sublimation and the re-condensing of the vapor leaves a residue everywhere, on the bees, combs, box sides, etc., so it seems to me everything within the hive must be covered to a certain level or it's a failure, or at least of diminished effectiveness.

    @Beefarmer,

    Yes, I'm using a battery I carry down to my hives, but it is always freshly off a complete re-charge, and also double-checked during operation for voltage under load by my DH, who is an electrician. It was recently bought specifically for this purpose. It hasn't done more than a 18 treatments or test-runs, yet. I only have four hives, plus a friend's single hive, and have only done two rounds, so far. Don't think lack of power is a big factor for me at this time.

    Enj.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    I left the sticky boards in for 3 days and took them out tonight and the girls weren't happy !! I've never seen them land on my jeans like they did , I could see the stingers on my pants but only one got me , good to have baggy jeans !!

    Here are the mite counts after sticky boards being on for 3 days , the first number is the count for a 24 hr. natural drop and the next is after treatment # 3 hive 55/500

    #4 65/600 #5 20/250 #6 35/500 for a good comparison I would think you would have to triple the natural drop count to include what would have dropped in 3 days on there own . I will treat again in 5 days from the last treatment .I hope I can get this under control before its to cold to treat .

    Crofter as you were thinking the wax didn't seem to hurt the treatment it was hive # 4 .

    Would everyone suggest three treatments with these numbers .
    Last edited by laketrout; 10-29-2014 at 04:47 PM.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    Here are my mite counts after second treatment 5 days from first treatment --#3 / 600 #4 / 374 #5 / 340 #6 / 306 At first I was disappointed the numbers weren't lower but they have come down except for # 3. Should I wait for five days or seven days for the third and final treatment .

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    I would do it in 5 days, but I would also do one more treatment right around Thanksgiving when the hive is basically broodless...
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the ProVap 110
    OA Vaporizer. The fastest vaporizer on the market!

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    Third treatment mite counts -- #3 - 300 #4-- 200 #5 - 50 #6 - 125 looks like the numbers are coming down but I expected quicker and lower counts buy this time with the third and last treatment . Sticky board was left on for 3 days after the treatment .

    Are this pretty normal counts for a heavy infestation , first time using oa .

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    I'd keep sticky boarding. Mine continued to be high for at least 7-10 days after the last treatment (my numbers for the intervals were high like yours, even on hives with 1% or less by sugar roll. ) And then on two out of four colonies, they just cratered (the mite drop numbers, not the bees!), down to six or eight total mites in 72 hours.

    The two that remained high after the final treatment continue to drift downward, but much more slowly. One would think that these would be my two largest and hardest to treat with high infestation rate, but while one is, the other is not. It's a puzzle.

    I'm watching the boards closely from now until Thanksgiving, when I plan to treat once more time. I have been in the hives quite recently and they are almost entirely broodless now. (I unstacked all the boxes to face the varroa screen slots towards the front to make monitoring easier during the winter when I have sold insulation panels on the back. That's what I was doing in the hives yesterday and today.) I really want to keep checking on the wretched things.

    On one hand I read the suggestion on here to keep treating until the numbers are really down, but that risks over-treating, I think. I've done the course and now I'm studying the results.

    Enj.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    Sounds good I'll get the sticky boards back on and keep and eye on them .

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Comb in the way of OAV

    I really think that once treatment is started the sticky boards are pretty useless. Do they show how many mites you have or how many you killed?

    My counts went way up after treatment. Does that mean I fed the mites or killed them?

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