How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?
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  1. #1
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    Default How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Hello,
    I am a first year beekeeper with 2 hives. I am planning to treat both with Oxalic Acid Dribble (OAD) later this month. Both hives have two 8-frame deeps, a feeding shim (1 1/2 inch high), a quilt box, and a telescoping cover. It was relatively warm yesterday (~50F) so I took a quick peek. In both hives, the bee cluster was hanging from the ceiling (the bottom of the quilt box) into the top box (I did not look the bottom box). How can I possibly dribble OA onto these hanging bees? Is it okay to scrape them onto the top bars then smoke them into the frames shortly before dribbling?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    I would OAV, there are lots of new easier, cheaper methods to do OAV. YouTube is full of them.

    There are only a few left that still OAD, this number has dropped a lot in the last few year and I bet it drops even more in the future.

    OAD is hard on bees, shortens their life, you can only do it once during the winter, it takes a lot more time, a small miscalculation may end them. If it's hard on the bees, it might be safe to assume it's hard on the queens too.

    Then in your case you will need to disturb the cluster (most every beek will tell you not disturbed a winter cluster), you may end up with cold wet sticky bee crawling all over hive.

  4. #3
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    Virgil, NY USA
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Shake them down and drizzle them. Its not a big issue. Bees are a lot more resilient than we think. I have done this many times and no issues. Drizzle only once though. The bees spread it around. Fast , simple,cheap and effective.They need to bee broodless or you are wasting your time.
    Nick
    gridleyhollow.com

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Does the QB have a fabric floor? Then simply tilt the QB up (don't remove it) and gently use your hive tool to scrape/detach the hanging bees down on to the bars. They will fall gently down and be none the worse for it. Easy-peasey, I do it nearly every time I go in my hives because I keep QBs on almost all year. You just have avoid squashing them against any little nubs of wax they have installed. (That will not be a risk if the QBs are new.)

    If OTOH, you have made your QB with a screen or wire floor it's a different story and the bees very likely have their toes in the mesh and it will require extremely delicate nudging to get them to detach safely, without pulling parts off them. Less so if the mesh is say 1/2 hardware cloth supporting a fabric layer above than if you have chosen to use screening.

    I've found you can't shake or bang the bees off without dislodging a lot of the filling (though you could remove that in advance, if necessary.)

    Scraping them off against a smooth fabric surface is the easiest and best way and why I recommend that all QBs have a fabric layer on the undersurface. If you already have wire there, make the effort to get them off safely, once, and then then staple fabric over the screen.

    If you do switch to OAV, no matter which wand you chose, you must budget for the proper respirator with the correct acid gas and organic vapor cartridges, as well as goggles (the latter you would need doing OAD anyway). Please do not scrimp on the PPE - you can injure yourself very seriously with OAV.

    I think the fabric floor to a QB is so important I would consider removing it and remaking it properly. It will be a royal pain having screen on it every time you need to open the hive.

    Enj.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Greensboro, GA, USA
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    I use OAV with pretty good results. Regarding wearing a respirator, I don't. I found that by placing my smoker on top of the hive and watching the direction the smoke in blowing I can easily avoid the fumes.
    L8ER, Dave H.
    3 years, 8 Langs, Zone 7B

  7. #6
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    My first concern would be as why they are at the top of the hive this time of year.

  8. #7
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    Jun 2015
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Thank you all,

    OAD seems much easier to me but Iíll seriously look into OAV. I still have some time; the last two weeks in December is the right time for the winter OA treatment where I live (another good advice I got from beesource).

    >Less so if the mesh is say 1/2 hardware cloth supporting a fabric layer above than if you have chosen to use screening
    My QB has a 1/8 hardware cloth floor with a queen excluder beneath to prevent sagging. Maybe the bees are holding onto the excluder rather than the hardware cloth? But since I realized my QB needs some improvement (more depth to hold more shavings and larger ventilation holes), Iíll use unbleached muslin for floor as you described in another thread.

    >My first concern would be as why they are at the top of the hive this time of year.
    I am afraid there is not much to eat in the bottom boxes. In fall, I did not inspect the bottom boxes until mid October, assuming the bees stored as much honey there as they did in the top boxes. I was very wrong; the outmost frames which had been filled with honey in early summer were almost empty and the rest were mostly pollen and brood. Both hives had only ~5 deep frame equivalent of capped honey, the majority in the top box. Then I fed them with 2:1 syrup until mid November when the daytime temp dropped <50F. They consumed syrup ~0.5 pint/day, but I doubt they stored much in the bottom boxes, which felt much lighter than the top boxes when I stopped feeding syrup. Then I put sugar blocks on the top bars, which are now engulfed by those hanging clusters. Our winter is quite mild and the hives are only 25í away from my front door, so I take a peek once in a while to make sure they still have sugar.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Just looked at the Brushy Mountain website for oxalic acid. They only sell to states where OA is approved, but Washington is now on the list. Looks like 30 of the 50 have now done the paperwork.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Good deal sounds like you're on top of things Kuro. I wish you well!

  11. #10
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Regarding bees in the feeding chamber hanging from the underside of the QB - that's completely normal here, and not at all a sign of lack of stores (though lack of stores may co-exist.) Lots of my bees hang out in the feeding rim space on most days of the winter when it's not below zero. If you looked in my hives you would probably find five or six of them with great masses of bees just goofing off in the feeding rim - and all of them weigh more than 180 lbs, so stores are not an issue in these hives. (I run 10-frame - DDDM or DDMD - and they are packed with bees and chow this year.)

    My first year with QBs and sugar cakes in the feeding rim I was very anxious about their presence there and very worried I had lured them to a place where they couldn't form a cluster and therefore I would find them dead. That did not happen and when I regularly examined the placement of the bees (using an infrared thermometer to locate the cluster from outside the box) I discovered they more around up and down all the time. In really cold weather the bees in the feeding space withdraw down in to the middle boxes with the others, and my bees do what bees always do: make a nice tight cluster and warm themselves.

    Also, regarding unbleached muslin, buy the heaviest weight you can find, almost as sturdy as well-worn jeans wouldn't be too heavy. Canvas, however, would be too heavy I think. (And canvas would be hard to stretch tightly.) Since you're installing it late, I'd spring for applying the stick-on strips of foam weatherstripping along the top of the feeding rim as I have described in other posts. It's late for the bees to be sealing up that meeting surface with propolis and it's hard to get the fabric really smooth - the foam weatherstripping along the outer edge of the feeding rim does a perfect job and keeps the drafts out very effectively. I prefer the white rubber stuff, though I have used the grey foam, too. You just have to remember it's there when you go to open the hive the next time and remember to insert the hive tool over it. It's not too late to be monkeying around with your QBs; mine aren't on yet, either, but the weather this weekend should be just fine for that task.

    You will find that sliding the hive tool between the bees and the fabric to drop them softly down on to the bars is slick and easy to do. OTOH, the bees may very well be on the QE, and in that case you could pull the QB off and just snap/bang the bees down off the QE. You do have fabric somewhere about that to contain all the fine dust from the shavings, right? No point putting a mess in with your girls.

    Enj.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoebee View Post
    Just looked at the Brushy Mountain website for oxalic acid. They only sell to states where OA is approved, but Washington is now on the list. Looks like 30 of the 50 have now done the paperwork.
    You can get Oxalic acid at Brushy Mtn 35 grams for $5.95 plus shipping, or get it at the local hardware 340 grams (12 oz.) for six or seven bucks.

    Savogran Wood Bleach is pure oxalic acid.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beregondo View Post
    You can get Oxalic acid at Brushy Mtn 35 grams for $5.95 plus shipping, or get it at the local hardware 340 grams (12 oz.) for six or seven bucks.

    Savogran Wood Bleach is pure oxalic acid.
    Technically the wood bleach can't be used as a pesticide unless it is specifically labeled for that use.

    But I won't tell if you don't tell. Its not as if half the beekeepers in the country have not been using OAV for some years now. But since it is finally approved in the US and in most of the states, we can now recommend to new beekeepers the legal way, rather than sneaking around and saying, "Hey, kid, wanna kill some mites?"

  14. #13
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by funwithbees View Post
    Shake them down and drizzle them. Its not a big issue. Bees are a lot more resilient than we think. I have done this many times and no issues. Drizzle only once though. The bees spread it around. Fast , simple,cheap and effective.They need to bee broodless or you are wasting your time.
    Nick
    gridleyhollow.com
    After shaking put a piece of polyethylene foil upon them.
    Give them time to reorganize tight in their cluster.
    They should sit very tight when you do the OAD (low temperature near frost).

    Regards

  15. #14
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Does anyone realize that OP is in Washington (state) , it's December, and it is winter there? OAD is not a good idea imo. Figure out another way.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  16. #15
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    >it's December, and it is winter there?

    Um, not really. We had several days of freezing nights before the end of November but now it is something like 50F(H)/40F(L) and the bees are busy doing orientation flight every afternoon even in light rain. In most years we have another cold spell in December. People in my area seem to do OAV or OAD in the last 2 weeks of December. I had an impression that if I do formic acid treatment in late summer (I treated one hive with MAQS in September and the other in October) and OA in winter I wonít need another treatment in spring. But because 24-hr natural mite drops in both hives are not that bad (11 and 14, last Saturday), I might skip winter treatment altogether and see how it goes in Spring?

  17. #16
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    11 and 14 are not good! TREAT! they should bee 0-2.
    Nick
    gridleyhollow.com

  18. #17
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Thanks, I'll shop for oxalic acid vaporizer (too bad the Black Friday is over).

  19. #18
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuro View Post
    Thanks, I'll shop for oxalic acid vaporizer (too bad the Black Friday is over).
    OAV would be easier on the bees than OAD once things get cold, and should be at its most effective when the hive is broodless, which you expect in early winter when they're clustered.

    I like formic acid a lot for late summer (kills mites on capped brood), but nothing says you can't use one in summer, test to see how it worked, and then deliver a knockout with OAV in winter if needed.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Has anybody seen a vaporizer that uses the household 110V electrical outlet (I have one near my hives)? All models I looked require a 12V car battery. Do you think I can use a car battery charger (that you plug into the 110V outlet to get 12V output, either 2A or 10A) instead of a battery?

  21. #20
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    Default Re: How to OAD a cluster of bees hanging from the ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuro View Post
    Has anybody seen a vaporizer that uses the household 110V electrical outlet (I have one near my hives)? All models I looked require a 12V car battery. Do you think I can use a car battery charger (that you plug into the 110V outlet to get 12V output, either 2A or 10A) instead of a battery?
    You use a car battery charger to get the 12 volts. Plug it into your ac outlet and you're good to go. Them batteries have hundreds of amps available. I'd put mine on ten and let er rip.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

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