Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers
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  1. #1
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    Default Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    In an attempt to try and put together in a single thread, question (and answers about OAV) see below...

    Oxalic Acid Vaporization – Questions and Answers:

    What is Oxalic Acid?
    Specifically: Oxalic acid is an organic compound with the formula H2C2O4. It is a colorless crystalline solid that forms a colorless solution in water. In terms of acid strength, it is much stronger than acetic acid. Typically, oxalic acid occurs as a dihydrate (containing 2 molecules of water) with the formula H2C2O42H2O.

    Where is Oxalic Acid found?
    OA is found in peanuts, pecans, wheat bran, spinach, rhubarb, beets, beet greens and chocolate. Some others include soy foods, sweet potatoes, black tea, berries and other dark leafy greens, like Swiss chard and collards. It is what gives food that “bitter” taste.

    What happens to Oxalic Acid when heated (vaporized)?
    When OA reaches 215 degrees (f) the water boils off leaving anhydrous (water free) OA crystals. At 315 degrees the OA crystals start to sublime (go from a solid to a gas). At 372 degrees, OA which has not sublimed decomposes to form formic acid and carbon monoxide. Although for the last, I'm trying to find out if this will only occur under "lab conditions."

    How does Oxalic Acid kill mites?
    The jury is still out. It is thought that OA vapors enter and destroy the cuticles thus rendering them footless. It is also thought that it destroys parts of the mite’s mouth. However it works, it decimates mites.

    Is Oxalic Acid Safe for my bees and will it contaminate my comb?
    When used as directed, OAV does not harm the queen, bees or the brood! And it does not contaminate the comb as poisons do. There are naturally occurring levels of oxalic acid in a hive. While OAV elevates that level, the hive returns to pre-treated levels shortly after treatment.

    How much Oxalic Acid is used in the OAV process?
    The recommended dosage is one gram per brood chamber. Most have two brood chambers, so use two grams (which is very close to a teaspoonful. You could use a teaspoon measure in lieu of two one gram ( teaspoons).


    How is Oxalic Acid Heated for use in beehives?
    Mostly, a 12 volt, 15 amp vaporizer is used. The OA is placed in the vaporizer’s pan which is then inserted into the beehive and connected to the battery. When the current is connected to the vaporizer, it heats the pan thus vaporizing the OA.

    How long does it take to vaporize OA?
    Some vaporizers take 2.5 minutes to vaporize OA, others less. The current is disconnected after the time limit and the vaporizer remains in the hive another minute to finish vaporizing. One should “test fire” their vaporizer prior to using as batteries in various states of age may take longer. Also, if one were to vaporize several hives (using a vaporizer not connected to continuous charger (such is in a running vehicle)), vaporization will start to take longer and longer as the battery degrades.

    Do I have to seal the hive when vaporizing?
    Yes, although a “perfect” seal is not necessary. During the vaporization period, the hive is sealed and once the vaporizer is removed, the hive resealed for an additional 10 minutes.

    Is Oxalic Acid safe for the beekeeper?
    Yes, if the beekeeper takes adequate safety precautions. Keep a smoker lit in the beeyard and stand up-wind. Do not BREATHE the vapors! The EPA is stating that an acid gas vaporizer is sufficient. In Europe a mask with an N95 particulate rating is the standard. OA vapors very quickly re-crystallize to cover all the surfaces in the hive making the breathing of the vapors unlikely. However, there is always the chance, error on the side of safety!



    What is the outside temperature range to perform OAV?
    You need an outside temperature of 37 (f). There is no top temperature. The temperature of 37 f is only needed at time of treatment and 1-2 hours thereafter.

    Will the mites grow resistance to OA?
    Since OA is an acid vs a poison, highly doubtful. OA has been used in Europe for 20+years and there is no reported resistance.

    When is the best time to utilize OAV?
    The very best time to use OAV is when the hive is broodless. Why? OA only kills phoretic mites - those on the bees, not in the brood. At that time OAV will kill an amazing greater than 95% of the mites in the hive! So when is the hive broodless or almost so?
    1. At the beginning of winter (for many, somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas).
    2. When you’ve hived a swarm.
    3. When you’ve completed a split and removed most of the capped brood.
    4. When you purchased a package and have placed it in a hive.

    Another great time to use OAV is in late August/early September when the mites are out-breading the bees. What you are doing at that time is killing the mites that are emerging with brood and before they enter another brood cell about to be capped. During this time, you need to vaporize 3 times at 5 day intervals.
    If you have high mite loads year going into spring your can do a series of treatments before you add your supers, however other treatments are better suited to treat hives that are heavily rearing brood.

    Can I perform OAV with supers in place?
    No, you must remove them or place a barrier between the brood nest and the supers. Cardboard or coroplast serve well as a barrier. You can replace the supers or remove the barrier two hours after treatment.

    Can you use an extension cord on your OA vaporizer?
    Yes, after you’ve made the necessary electrical connections. However, you should use a 14 gauge wire on your extension cord to keep the current from dissipating thus making vaporization take longer. You can also use several vaporizers together for faster treatment of multiple hives.

    Is Oxalic Acid legal to use in the US in beehives?
    Not yet, but very soon. The EPA will soon allow its use. There will be no need for individual state approval once it is approved.

    As other questions are posed, I’ll add them (and the answers) to this list.
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    snl, I've wondered about this for a while: "While OAV elevates that level, the hive returns to pre-treated levels shortly after treatment."

    Does the OA crystallize inside the hive?

    Can you give more information on how the hive self-cleans from a treatment?

    I like the promises of OAV but still have lingering doubts like this.

    THanks
    Rick

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Yes, OA does crystallize inside the hive.
    In the proposed EPA registration..........the EPA states "Dietary exposure from the proposed use as in in-hive application will be indistinguishable from naturally occurring levels of oxalic acid in the hive." You can read more on the proposed registration document here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!searchR...N%252BO%252BSR

    From what I've read, the OA crystals coat the entire insides of the hive and the bees disperse it in there coming & going......
    Hope that helps...
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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Have read that the microcrystals of OA in the hive interior absorb moisture from the air and dissolve into a thin acidic film.
    Frank

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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Thanks, that answers a couple of my questions.

    My next question would be about uncapped brood and uncapped nectar (not supers, but their own feed). Is any description of whether it hurts either of these in that EPA document? Or is there another study on this subject? To me, crystallization would "significantly" increase the OA inside the hive.

    I can understand the EPA assessment if OAV is not used while supers are on.

    Can you point me to any studies or documentation on what happens inside the open cells?

    Thanks
    Rick

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by rweaver7777 View Post

    Can you point me to any studies or documentation on what happens inside the open cells?

    Thanks
    Rick
    Rick, can't really give you what happens in open cells other than to say others have found the bees very tolerant of OAV.
    Randy Oliver has some good info here: http://scientificbeekeeping.com/oxal...-1-of-2-parts/
    Another source: http://www.agroscope.admin.ch/imkere..._JjKbNoKSn6A--

    And again, not to use with supers on!
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  8. #7
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    Have read that the microcrystals of OA in the hive interior absorb moisture from the air and dissolve into a thin acidic film.
    Thanks Frank.......... you have a link to that?
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  9. #8
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Is 37F just a guideline? Beekeepers are using OA at lower than 37F in my local and getting good results. Trying to get by with one treatment when no brood.

    Interior hive temp is what's relevant, although hard to measure and varies throughout the hive. With a big population and reduced entrances, temp is warmer inside.

    Applied OA with a copper pipe into a hole in a feed rim, covered with plexi glass. Have a 1/4 hole in the pipe cap so some hot air is blown through the pipe to keep OA from crystalizing in the pipe. The hot air from the copper pipe circulates the OA in the hive and eventually causes it to start to exit the bottom entrance. Time to shut the heat gun off. I applied OA vapor 3 times, 7 days apart, in mostly warmer temps.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    snl; I did not find the article I originally read. It is readily soluble in water but whether or not it will completley liquify in air seems debateable. I do know that it is free running when first exposed to air but after exposure it becomes damp and clings together.

    http://www.chemicalbook.com/Chemical..._CB0323998.htm This links supports that it is hygroscopic

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11757607 This link seems to indicate that it is only partly so.
    Frank

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by mgolden View Post
    Is 37F just a guideline?
    It is what is stated by ALL (that I can find) manufacturers of the vaporizers.........I would agree, that temperature of the hive is what is relevant to the vaporization process..........
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  12. #11
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    What about the bees in the supers? Leave them assuming you will get them the next 2 treatments?

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry T Indiana View Post
    What about the bees in the supers? Leave them assuming you will get them the next 2 treatments?
    That and you'll find the vast majority of mites in the brood chambers waiting to jump back into a cell to breed....
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  14. #13
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Wow! Incredibly fast shipping. Ordered the Varrocleaner Tuesday afternoon and it arrived today. That is 1.5 days from SC to WA! 54-55 degrees and sunny predicted this weekend. I hope to give it a try.
    Elev 407 ft 47.39 N, 122.15 W

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Vaped the OA about 4:00 PM Sunday Mar 1. Checked today about 24 hours later. And there are a lot of dead mites. I wiped the board with a handful of grass prior to the treatment. Think another dose in 2-3 weeks?

    sbb1.JPG

    sbb2.JPG
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  16. #15
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    No;every six days for three weeks! Keeep a level of OA on the frames so wnenever the emerging bees come out with their new load of mites the treatment will be waiting. worker brood is under capping for about 13 days and drone for 16 days. You need to cover this period plus a bit of time before and after.
    Frank

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Mites continue to drop the second 24 hour (48 hours after treatment) period. Wiped the board with a handful of grass after taking the first 24 hour board photo. All shown on the board is new. I do know there is drone brood in the lower deep above the area with the most mites dropped.

    sbb3.JPG
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  18. #17
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    "Don't OAV the honey supers"

    Why not?
    I plan on OAV as soon as possible and my cluster
    Is in between the brood box and their honey supper.

    I plan to OAV the honey supper and have all of that
    honey eaten/open air fed during spring.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremynj View Post
    "Don't OAV the honey supers"

    Why not?.
    Because the levels of OA that would remain in the supers have not been tested for human consumption. Let's say you do OAV today with supers on. How soon would you want to eat that honey? If you plan on feeding that honey to the bees and they eat it all that's fine.
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  20. #19
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    Because the levels of OA that would remain in the supers have not been tested for human consumption. Let's say you do OAV today with supers on. How soon would you want to eat that honey? If you plan on feeding that honey to the bees and they eat it all that's fine.
    The study I've seen showed that OA treatment significantly increased OA content in honey, but that these new levels remained within the normal range of untreated honey OA content.

    But OA isn't registered for use while honey supers are on, doing so is asking for a fine or lawsuit.
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  21. #20
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    Default Re: Oxalic Acid Vaporization - Questions and Answers

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic View Post

    But OA isn't registered for use while honey supers are on, doing so is asking for a fine or lawsuit.
    It's not registered all in the U.S, but soon. Even then you won't be allowed to use it with supers on.
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