Get it from Larry (user name "snl") here. www.oxavap.com. He will take care of anything that goes wrong with it (not that anything will.) Very accessible and responsive. I bought my varrox from him and will buy my ProVap 110 from him sometime soon. I am now over 20 colonies and want to speed up my treatment times. Otherwise, Varrox works great. Especially great because it is dunkable and let's you get to the next hive faster than the others.
Was at my County club meeting tonight, and several people said they read the vaporizer method isn't the choice.
I find it hard to believe, they didn't give details why, and couldn't answer why...
I put no faith in their opinions since they could not explain ...
I'd like to have one to treat, could always use MAQS with supers on, but is there any downfall to the vape other than 3 week treat and blocking honey harvest supers for a few hours?
Thinking with honey supers on, ya gotta remove them to get to the brood boxes to use MAQS, or I tip each side of supers up, slide in a sheet of aluminum from the front, then the back, then sealed, treat, then remove the aluminum sheets...
Lot easier than removing everything.
And by the way, most people at the meeting had huge losses of hives....
Makes me that much less wanna follow their suggestions. ...
If done right, does the vape do the trick?
(And I have a jump-start battery pack to grab and go to run it)
Yes, (but in cold climate zones only). In fall there are always mites and should be knocked down in regular intervals with OAV or with same continuous treatment. Winter treatment should be very efficient and very reliable and OAV is here the best. Summer treatment (usually in July) is tricky; if there are minor problems with mites same OAVs will be sufficient, otherwise formic acid is more efficient in summer.
Yes, vaporization is highly effective, particularly the broodless period treatment done in mid-to-late December after all flying has ceased. This will kill upwards of 90% all the mites in the colony at the time (since all will be phoretic, and none protected under cappings once brood has ceased for the year.)
After this treatment is done, because of the lack of flying there will be no additional mites brought into the hive from outside, giving the bees a 2-4 month long break from mites (and the troubles they bring) and essentially resetting your mite levels at nearly zero, until several months into the year. I often don't reach treatment threshold levels again after a good December dose until nearly Labor Day. (But that varies from year-to-year, so I monitor all the time so I can make sure to not miss an early flare-up.)
I think this long-lasting effect is a beneficial function of our very cold northern winters. (I am in upstate NY.) In milder areas, flight resumes much earlier so the very low-mite period doesn't last as long.
The other very important way I use my wand is in the period after I have done my main clean-up treatment. I continue to closely monitor the mite levels and if they start to creep upward due to robbing or drifting, I will start another round of OAV to get - and keep - them down for the rest of the season. This last, late-ish surge is often overlooked and since it originates in hives failing due to viruses, it can be a big problem if not dealt with quickly.
Even the best broodless period clean-up can't reverse damage done by the introduction of viral diseases in the mid-to-late fall. Killing the remaining mites in December, while certainly very beneficial going forward, doesn't cure the main problem by then. I think it's better to keep the mite levels low in a way that is flexible and highly responsive to frequent assessment, so I run sticky boards every week, and continue to sugar roll monthly right up until it's too cold. If I hadn't been routinely doing this frequent monitoring I wouldn't have noticed this particularly useful treatment window, coming as it does well after successful earlier treatment. And OAV is exactly the right tool to use for this, despite there still being brood in the hive.
I think you will be very pleased with your Varrox. Don't be discouraged when you hear people say that it doesn't "work" when there is brood in the hive. It works, but less well, and there may be better treatments at those times of the year. But what it does better than any other treatment available is the critical knock down and clean-up late-season treatments. These form the foundation of a year-long mite suppression strategy, which is a different - and much more successful, IMO - way to keep mites from devastating your bees. It doesn't rely on lurching from one near-crisis to another throughout the year. And that strategy is particularly well-suited to climates with a distinct brood pause and a longish flightless period in winter, like you have in WI.
Always hard to add to Nancy's opinion. She, as usual, states it very well.
Vaporizing while broodless is much more effective, IMO, than doing a series of vaporizations with active brood. Therefore I am always looking for opportunities to use it when I find my colonies broodless: (1) 21 days after swarm; (2) immediately after a split where I have removed all capped brood from one box; (3) winter months (in my case, it's basically a long weekend); (4) a forced brood break either from manipulation (i.e. Snelgrove) or intentionally caging the queen.
When I find my hive broodless, I never waste that opportunity. It is likely frowned on here, but I do not even do a pre-treatment alcohol wash when I have a broodless colony.
As to series of treatments (i.e 3 tx every 7 days; 4 tx every 5 days, etc.) I think these have been shown to be less effective, but they will still keep varroa in check until a broodless period or until you can use another product.
I still do an annual Apiguard or Apivar treatment once I pull my honey supers off in late summer/early Fall. If I lived in your climate, I would likely use MAQS, but it is just too hot here. I have to be REALLY careful applying the Apiguard.
I cannot add much that has not already been said. If you buy a vaporizer, buy it from Larry. Yes, his service is top notch and the price is competitive. Delivery is really fast. Better than that, he is on the forum almost every day to answer questions for you. You can also email him or call. No other vendor will give you that kind of service.
Every varroa treatment has its good points and bad. There are great times to use each of them and times when you should not use them. Each has a place in the arsenal but knowing the best way to use them is the key. Look in the Diseases and Pests forum for great discussions on all of them. I consider my vaporizer the most important tool for beekeeping that I own.
I'm like a kid at Christmas just waiting till I can use it.
Thanks Larry (SNL) for supplying through OxaVap LLC, quick easy on line purchase, quick shipping, and was happy to see two little measuring cups taped to the bottom for use without having to go get some to dedicate to bees.... my wife didn't want me taking hers from the kitchen !
Now the question (and I didn't read the pamphlet that came with it yet), when can I give the first treatment?
I have 10" of fresh snow from last weekend, and predicted to get 3-5" of snow tomorrow. .. Next week in the 50's though....
Minimum temp is 37 F. In practice, I try to not (unless forced by an already-started series, and even worse weather predicted) to use days below about 45. However I actually prefer temps between 45F -55F. Temps at the lower end can make for less-than-perfect burns, which always leave me in a quandry: do I repeat it to make sure I got it, or would that be too much of a good thing.
But, you can not start until you have the proper personal protective gear. Do you have that already? Please don't fudge this important part.
I have recently written out a detailed account of how I use the wand. If you search my user name, you can probably find it. If not, I can take another crack at it.
I know, even though I am a woman and in general not much of a handy person, even I could easily recognize the difference between my first wand (a vaporizing gadget) and a Tool, my Varrox. That's why I unhesitatingly recommend the Varrox. It will stand you in good stead until you get large enough to need a ProVap, or until varroa cease to be an issue.
Now the PPE; You need (at least) a half-face mask with ACID GAS canisters. Sometimes masks are for sale with "organic vapor" cartridges. You may think OA is an "organic acid" and I am "vaporizing", so that's the right one. Nope, you need ACID GAS. Sometimes those two are combined in one set of filters, which is fine. But if not, hold out for the ACID GAS ones. (Organic vapor cartridges are more common because that's what's needed for paint and solvents.)
ETA: Brief pause while I figure out how to add a URL that isn't actually my one-click Amazon account! All fixed now.Whew.
Mine is an older model, with a slightly different exhaust port design, but it is the same 6000 series mask. Also I wear "medium" size and that's what seems to fit almost everybody. (I make people whose hives I am vaporizing also wear masks, even if they are just standing by and watching. And my medium-sized masks have always fit everyone.)
The canisters are these: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AEFCKKY...=4021599750401 Note that these are combo ACID GAS/organic vapor. They come in a two-pack which is what you need for a single mask. They are the more expensive part of the deal. They need to be replaced whenever you can start to smell the OAV plume, or in my fairly intensive use, once yearly. I keep my masks in a large zip lock (after airing it to allow sweat to dry) to prolong the life of the canisters.
An OAV sublimation plume is really, really, nasty stuff. And unlike like many inhalants, you can't cough it out because it isn't a vapor (despite what we call it in bee-world) it's a cloud of tiny, sharp-edged, acid particles that latch on to any mucus membrane: lungs, throat, mouth, and eyes and start burning the tissues. Not pleasant even in the tiny, tiny, whiff of it I once got due to a poorly fitting mask.
Take the trouble to find the right mask, and then commit to using it correctly every time. And correct use includes doing an exhalation/inhalation fit test every time you put it on, even if you only had it off for a few seconds. I am a former volunteer firefighter who did interior attack so I was already trained to do this and I am shocked when I see people casually pull on masks without performing this easy (and quick once you know ow to do it) and essential step to make sure the mask will work when you need it to. Dead varroa are very good things to have; scarred and dead lung tissue, not so much.
Expect that unless you have often worn masks like these, it will feel claustrophobic, and maybe even be a bit harder to breathe. Adjust the fit so it's comfortable, but still passes exhale/inhale fit test and then try to relax, you can easily move enough air through it for fairly strenuous work. (I can run in mine.) If needed take a break, and then re-start. I am so used to working in it, I can go two or three hours without a pause, and I am no spring chicken. But do not take it off while you are still actively vaporizing.
You will also need a cheap set of plastic goggles to protect your eyes.