For what its worth, I just finished treating 55 hives , with Mite Gone (Formic Acid pads) the same as I have for the last five years. As do my neighbors and friends. It is a common treatment in our area possibly because the company is located close to us. The Mite Gone website has a lot of information specific to use in the USA.
For sure I see a large mite drop and see mites go from as High as 6 per hundred , to 0 reading about three weeks after putting the pads in. And my hives over winter OK .
You guys really should take a look at the Band heater vaporizer thread on equipment and hardware, It takes me about 30 seconds per hive to treat with OAV, the illegal stuff of course as I do not support the burocratic pay to play scheme of government agencies. If you want to use a timer a single band heater device will treat at near 1 minute per hive at a cost of about $15 to make. A 2 heater temperature controlled device will treat in about 30 seconds and cost less than $50 to make. All this can be done from behind the hive, from the top or bottom or as I prefer from the middle of the hive without even wearing a veil and no fried bees or dead queens as with fa treatments, but if you want to continue to do it the hard way that's up to you.
Their 20 tube kit ($55 + tax + shipping) and two quarts of concentrated FA ($33 all) would be more than $100. Buying 20 MAQS is much cheaper unless the Mitegone pads could be reused at least five times.
The cost, and, probably, no need for handling concentrated acid, explains why MAQS are more popular than Mitegone.
We have used concentrated formic acid bought from Duda Diesel. They sell stuff for making biodiesel fuels and FA is one of them.
Anyone looking for acetic acid, they sell that, too. I need some for preparing pollen slides.
I bought a liter of their concentrated formic acid several years ago, and did a very effective treatment with it (look for a paper on this from West Virginia University). But there is some chemistry and basic equipment needed.
The concentration is not guaranteed, and may vary from about 85% to 95%. You need 50%. This means you need a way of diluting it to the exact concentration you want. The best way to do that is a hydrometer, trying to hit (if I'm reading the Engineering Toolbox graph right) a specific gravity of 1.108 at 20C. And I've caught errors on ET, so check more than one source.
I use a 500 mL graduated cylinder for the mixing, because it lets me know roughly how much water and acid I'm using, and it gives the depth for a hydrometer. A plastic graduated cylinder is OK, as long as it is clear enough to let you read the hydrometer scale.
McMaster Carr offers a wide range of hydrometers and is easy to buy from. An instrument that has a range of 1 to 1.22 is available and is suitable. https://www.mcmaster.com/#hydrometers/=19gxuqa
Don't even think about mixing this stuff without face and breathing protection. And a course in general chemistry with a good lab would be a good bet, as well.
Yes, the solution has a definite shelf life. It is pretty much useless if stored for a year. I stored it in sealed one-dose bottles, and after a year they had lost their punch. Even the concentrate goes bad. The concentrate is fairly cheap ... if you need a lot or go in with friends, you can use enough in one year to make it worthwhile. But for a couple of hives, and considering what it costs to set up to do it, you may prefer to throw some money at MAQS.
I have saved the old pads and they would seem fine to reuse, but the availability of ready to apply pads has been so convenient I have not bothered to do it myself.
Looking at the source again, the source is probably right but the guy (me) reading the graph must have been tired. My German skills are near zero, but I think Engineering Toolbox and internetchemie agree: 50% is a density of 1.1207 g/ml at 20 C. My number was low.
If it helps to encourage anyone, from what I'm reading about mead, you need a hydrometer to measure density change in order to estimate alcohol production, and the hydrometer I suggested (1.000 to 1.220) ought to cover that application as well.
baybee, it is likely that Mitegone pads are not more popular because the use of liquid formic acid is not registered in the USA. That keeps the bee supply houses out of the equation as far as distribution goes. I have tried all the formic methods and my largest criticism of the MiteGones is the take a lot of effort to put in the hive.
From a commercial perspective , employess handling liquid formic acid is a safety and liability issue.
The price could be another reason for a backyard beekeeper: one hobby kit would treat six-seven hives, about $15 per hive. One has to order in bulk (nine kits at a time?) to drive the cost down.
Are Mitegone pads just recut Oasis Standard Floral foam blocks? Cutting, sealing the sides (is there a recipe for this?) and saturating with 65% FA wouldn't take much time for a small-scale keeper.
Except, if there are honey stores present, and there's any chance they will be eventually harvested for human consumption, the honey supers should come off, and the labor goes up. Plus, any bees that stay on the supers during treatment escape treatment.
For those of you concerned about legality, check the fine print on your OAV application instructions ... the sheet that came with the EPA-approved OAV intended for use as a miticide, which you are certainly using instead of wood bleach, right? Mine says that closely repeated applications are not approved. The label I'm linking below says to use when broodless or nearly broodless, and where possible to rotate miticides.
And they remind you that applying FA in a manner other than specified on the label is a violation of federal law. So if you want to comply with the label, like good little scouts, alternating with an approved method for applying FA is one way to do that. Repeated applications close together are not.
I won't tell.
Depending on your location and mite load, we're almost to October and some of us are probably seeing reduced brood or even a brood break. A single treatment now may kill enough mites to buy time until they're broodless. But also, finding the right weather for a FA application is also not so difficult, and a half dose method is available that is less stressful on the bees. Either can be backed by a later OAV application when broodless.
The toothpicks are a real hassle. Do not dismss the hassle part. It is a big effort and because of it I avoid them. Also all the equipment has to be sealed, no holes or leaky pallets. My pallets are made of boards and as the lumber dried gaps were created. I could overcome those gaps on the bottom with a cafereria tray. Essentially you want to create a formic acid pool on the bottom board.
Perhaps the manufacturer could string 2 pads together such that one pad on one side of the frame, the other on the other side of the frame. That would be tricky as when the pads are fully loaded with formic acid they require delicate handling.
MiteGone pads are recut Floral blocks but I think in the manufacturing process there is only a small percentage of the block that has the capillary tubes of the pads running up and down. The MiteGones have the special and and down tubes pre selected. Essentially MiteGone does the cutting and sealing for us, but again my understanding is there is a limited amount of the Floral block that can work. In other words you would need to buy a lot of blocks to get the selected cut, certainly no time or money savings.
Lastly the saturating part is more or less the same for a commercial beekeeper or a backyard beekeeper. The MiteGone pad does not really care, it sucks up at the same rate whether you have 5 hives or 5000.
I have you used MiteGones in the past, just found them to be tedious and slow. Perhaps I would be faster now had I used that method of mite control exclusively.
How fast are you ABruce at treating a hive? How long does it take you to treat 10 hives or 30 hives from the time you arrive in a yard to the time you pull out? How many hives can you treat in a day alone? How many do you treat if you are 2 people if you have available help? Are 3 people more efficient?
Jean-Marc, Are you still using the OAV with the blaster successfully? What is your preferred method of mite treatment?
Yes, this is what they mention on the website too. The question is whether this is true? Even this were true does it have to be bundled vertical capillaries vs. just regular open cell foam for similar release rate of the acid?... MiteGone pads are recut Floral blocks but I think in the manufacturing process there is only a small percentage of the block that has the capillary tubes of the pads running up and down.
According to the Mitegone website, they used to make the pads themselves. Were they just recutting regular Oasis blocks back then? What they call vertical capillaries might just be a misunderstanding of what open cell phenolic foam is.
We are bringing bees back home from Alberta.
Last year I used cheap kids hair clips from the dollar store and just dropped the pad between the frames the clips caught between the bars. But too many of them broke and the pads fell taking more time. A plastic clip that allows you to just drop them between the frames is whats needed.
I treated in the past with oxalic in the little heater unit, and could not imagine doing 50 hives numerous times with that.
I see the new blaster oxalic units and drool with envy. I would really like to have one of those and do a treatment around the first of December when we are normally brood free.
Just keep in mind formic affects your liver. So gloves, appropriate respirator and wash buckets, all on every time. Wipe down surfaces with disposable rags when mixing/preparing.