Oxalic acid vaporizer
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  1. #1
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    Default Oxalic acid vaporizer

    Watching the Oxalic acid treatments on YouTube. 1st the powder turns to a liquid then boils off into a vapor. At what point does the acid turn into a useless vapor that doesn’t kill the mites? I’m trying to decide how to best treat less than 10 hives on a $100.00 budget? Formic pro is 120.00 for 25 doses which has a 2 year shelf life. I can get a vaporizer & 2lbs of Oxalic acid for 90.00 that has high reviews. I can also use the Oxalic acid in the summer month. Formic pro doesn’t recomend using with the temperature above 84 degrees. Input is welcomed.

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  3. #2
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    Apr 2014
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    Powhatan, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    Pay a little more and get the varrox vaporizer. It will last a lifetime, connections are waterproof. Oxalic acid sublimates, goes directly from a solid to a gas, think like dry ice.
    What looks like liquid is the water that is bonded in the acid, it absorbs moisture from the air.
    With a pan type vaporizer the acid starts to re-condense back into tiny crystals pretty much as soon as the vapor leaves the pan.
    The white "smoke" is the cloud of tiny crystals that you want to coat the bees and hive surfaces.
    It won't get hot enough to break down the oxalic.
    The pan however will continue to heat if left connected to the battery after the acid is vaporized.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    OA only decomposes to Formic and Co2 in the lab (both of which are colorless). If you’re seeing white crystals, that’d be OA. JD is also correct about the Varrox. It’s the only steel/stainless wand vaporizer on the market and is water dunkable to cool it down between vaporizations.
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the ProVap 110
    OA Vaporizer. The fastest vaporizer on the market!

  5. #4
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    Dec 2011
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    Dphilipm, do yourself a favor and read about the Band heater vaporizer in the equipment and hardware section of Beesource and if you cannot build one buy one as they are cheap and effective. You will find to control varoa requires many OA treatments and with this type of vaporizer the treatments can be made from behind the hive without having to remove the entrance reducer and upset your bees also possibly frying a few. With 10 hives you can get the job done in around 10 minutes so I would suggest that you do a little research.

  6. #5
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    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    When using a Varrox, "upsetting the bees .....and frying a few" is a rare occurrence if you use correct practice. My bees are unperturbed by the OA, and I bet I've only fried up a couple of dozen bees in all the years and more than a thousand cycles I've done.

    Also keep in mind that you cannot use OA when you have honey supers on the hive (unlike formic acid) and also that OA is much less effective when there is brood because, unlike formic acid, it doesn't kill varroa protected with the pupae under the wax cappings. For these two reasons, many people use formic acid in the warm months. But, as you well know, formic has its own drawback in that it has hard temperature upper limits which are tough to work around in the summer, in the south.

    OTOH, if you have a summer dearth when honey supers can be taken off, and perhaps a dearth-prompted slow down in brooding that would be a good time to run an OA series. You just have to look over your whole bee-year and find places where you can seize just the right conditions for OA, and then build your year-long mite suppression plans around those opportunities.

    Ex: where I live in the north the natural early winter brood pause happens just before a long 2-4 month period when my bees don't fly much, and rarely leave my apiary. Treatment at just the right point around that time kills nearly all the mites and then the weather prevents re-infestation. If you think about your whole year, as well as the biology of the mite's reproductive cycle, you'll likely find some windows where it will work well.

    I have had a Varrox for several years and done more than a thousand treatments with it, I can recommend it wholeheartedly as being a sturdy, reliable, easy to work, tool. I use a small lawn mower battery which will run 20 cycles on a charge. If you've got more hives than that in one yard, you ought to be thinking about a ProVap. But up to about 25 hives, a Varrox is all you need. I bought a cheaper vaporizer first, not an inexpensive one, just a somewhat less expensive one. It failed after a year or two. I'd have been a $100+ ahead if I had bought a Varrox the first time, since I'd have only had to buy it once.

    Nancy

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    Now the pan type of vaporizer is a 20th century tool and has performed well in its time as there was not any alternative for sublimating OA, however we are now in the 21st century and it is time to move on to newer technology. I will treat my 20 odd home hives in about 20 minutes and I use a 100 ft extension cord and it is so easy on the bees that I rarely use a veil when treating and in the 2 plus years I have used this vaporizer in more than a thousand total treatments have not fried a single bee. In my out yards an inverter clipped to my trucks battery and a 50ft cord is all it takes to treat those hives in about 10 minutes, again no veil and no dead bees and as the Op is in Alabama, too much time spent all kitted up in the hot summer sun is not a plus.
    Johno

  8. #7
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    May 2014
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    Now the pan type of vaporizer is a 20th century tool and has performed well in its time as there was not any alternative for sublimating OA, however we are now in the 21st century and it is time to move on to newer technology. I will treat my 20 odd home hives in about 20 minutes and I use a 100 ft extension cord and it is so easy on the bees that I rarely use a veil when treating and in the 2 plus years I have used this vaporizer in more than a thousand total treatments have not fried a single bee. In my out yards an inverter clipped to my trucks battery and a 50ft cord is all it takes to treat those hives in about 10 minutes, again no veil and no dead bees and as the Op is in Alabama, too much time spent all kitted up in the hot summer sun is not a plus.
    Johno
    That is why pro vap is what we use! Fast and effective. A pan vaporizer stills works fine for a backyard beekeeper though.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  9. #8
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    Sep 2016
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    OA only decomposes to Formic and Co2 in the lab
    That "fact" seems to get circulated a lot, but I haven't been able to find anything to back it

    The EMEA says that 54% makes it in to the hive, 1% turns in to FA the rest Co2/water
    https://www.ema.europa.eu/documents/...roducts_en.pdf


    "This small electrical device can be inserted into the hive and allowsthe evaporation of oxalic acid in the closed hive55. During heating, approximately half ofthe oxalic acid disintegrates into harmless carbon dioxide, while the remainder forms anoxalic acid precipitate which settles on the bee,"
    https://www.researchgate.net/publica...f_the_Honeybee

    and of course your repost of Dave W
    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    When heating, about half (46%) of OA decomposes into harmless carbon dioxide and water. Other half (54%) vaporizes and forms fine drops and dusts of OA that precipitates everywhere in hive. Because of this even distribution of fine particles, high and consistent efficacy against Varroa mites is possible [[/COLOR]http://www.mellifera.de/Engli2.pdf - Accessed 7/13/04].
    that was with a panheater type device, I have often wondered if the bandheater ones have more breakdown... I know Randy O didn't see any diffrenace in mite killing between the 2 in his limited experiment.
    But locally I am hearing about guys with homemade band heater units doing 4 weekly winter brood less treatments do to a high mite drop on the 2nd and 3rd treatment. To me that's screaming there is something wrong with their set up.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    Funny thing when my OA hits the bottom the temperature drops to around 320 F and only when most of the OA has sublimated does the temperature rise above 400F so I guess plenty of H2O and plenty of white fog which is known to be fine crystals of OA but not a sniff of FA. Now this whole thing about OA is when you get the Oa in contact with a mite or mites they die there is no argument aboutthat the trick is to get the mite in contact with the OA and the more treatments you do the more the equation will move in your favor. Now if it is a PITA to do these treatments you have a problem but if it is quick and easy there is a possibility of success. I dont care what EMEA says.
    Johno

  11. #10
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    May 2011
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    Gloucester County, New Jersey
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    My only drawback to oxalic is I have to shave my beard off because I wear a negative pressure respirator.

  12. #11
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    I started out with the inexpensive Varrocleaner from Oxavap.com. It worked like a charm for 2 years and then the number of hives increased and I got the Provap. I currently lend out the Varrocleaner to beeks in the area free of charge. I believe it heats up faster than the Varrox but it definitely is not built as well. If you want an inexpensive unit, I strongly recommend it. The first hive you save from mites will pay for the unit. Once you get more hives, you may want to upgrade but for a single hive or a few, it works great.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    But locally I am hearing about guys with homemade band heater units doing 4 weekly winter brood less treatments do to a high mite drop on the 2nd and 3rd treatment. To me that's screaming there is something wrong with their set up.
    If they're seeing crystals, it's OA. Now is there a good distribution within the hive? IDK. They would need to open the hive to see.
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the ProVap 110
    OA Vaporizer. The fastest vaporizer on the market!

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    Some beat on OA claiming all sorts of reasons it does not work, yet give me one miticide that can kill 100% of your mites in a day? There are none even Formic acid does not kill them all, it can kill a lot plus a lot of bees and if the temperatures are not where you want them to be over a 7 day period mite kill can be mediocre or bee kill very high. So there are variables with every thing that you use. I try to go into winter with colonies no more than 3 mediums but have ended up with colonies so large that I could not get them smaller than 4 mediums so those probably do not get the same amount of vapor coverage then the ones that are 2 boxes high, yeah I know those hives should have been split, but I split so many as it is and I do not know what to do with all those bees. I am desperately trying to get down to 25 colonies from around 40. what this means is that all the different size of colonies would vary in the amount of any treatment they got. Enter OAV it is cheap it is easy to apply it has no ill effects on the colonies and has no residual effects so what is needed is a regimen of treatment that will prevent the mite population from getting out of hand and that is where we are at this moment, playing with all sorts of treatment timing to try and find the best result for the least input and we still have some unexplored avenues.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    I like OAV.

    No stringent temp. requirements.

    No lengthy treatment times.

    Can be repeated as needed.

    No warnings about Queen or brood mortality.

    Works well when brood is present with multiple treatments.

    Works extremely well during brood-less periods.

    Does not penetrate wax.

    Inexpensive. After purchasing or building your device it gets really inexpensive.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  16. #15
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    Jun 2014
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    South Hamilton, MA
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    I would like to know a good treatment schedule. I would like to have TF (treatment free) bees next spring. Troy Hall said he has many years of success TF in New Hampshire with 50% loss/y. I plan to get his queens next spring and breed those.

    My vaporizer is an immersion heater (<$10). I got 3 packages and did a small dose in late spring. Vaporizing took ~1 min each. All the queens failed, and I was swapping brood weekly. They made great queens. All 3 hives have lots of brood and food.

    I need to do a serious treatment before and during winter. This should involve several treatments, and possibly splits or caging queens. What should the schedule be? My bees are probably Italian. Troy said his queens are carniolan/Russian. They are red/black. Once I get his queens, I'm going TF.
    David Smolinski USDA hardiness zone 6b

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    David, there is no defined treatment schedule per se. Most people agree that three or four treatments five to seven days apart will get the job done. Mites reinfest hives so you have to do follow up treatments throughout the fall. I do a single application and count dead mites. If there are less than 20 on all the hives, I won't do a second application. But if numbers are higher, they get it every couple of days until the drop numbers come down. I consider the apiary as a single unit so even if 1 out of 20+ is high, they all get treated. My supers came off two weeks ago and I am starting my first round of OAV this weekend.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  18. #17
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    May 2019
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    I am always interested in the discussions regarding Oxalic Acid treatment and wonder how individuals using this chemical protect themselves from the dangers associated with the use of it. I was about to purchase a vaporizer and then read the warning labels regarding OA and decided I would prefer to protect my health over that of the bees. I am currently looking for other treatments that may be less damaging to my health. The use of OA does require a respirator, protective clothing and gloves. That sort of tells you that you're dealing with a serious chemical that may damage your health if you don't properly protect yourself. I hope you all protect yourself, and read the labels before using.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    It true that breathing OA crystals can cause respiratory distress, but that is why one must wear an approved respirator. As far as other concerns after reading the warning label, just for grins, read the warning labels on the products you use daily in your laundry room. Or the in the garage. Ever read the warning label on a can of spray paint? Yet we are familiar with these chemicals and use our own judgment as to the exposure risk we are willing to take. The risk of using OAV is minimal as long one exercises reasonable caution and wears the proper PPE.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    David, there is no defined treatment schedule per se. Most people agree that three or four treatments five to seven days apart will get the job done. Mites reinfest hives so you have to do follow up treatments throughout the fall. I do a single application and count dead mites. If there are less than 20 on all the hives, I won't do a second application. But if numbers are higher, they get it every couple of days until the drop numbers come down. I consider the apiary as a single unit so even if 1 out of 20+ is high, they all get treated. My supers came off two weeks ago and I am starting my first round of OAV this weekend.
    There are some people who feel the seven day spacing between treatments was part and parcel of getting swift passage of approval. I think not many sideliners or commercial operators are spacing treatments more than 5 days apart. They seem to agree on the idea of repeating till the numbers come down, not for any prescribed number like 3, 4, 5, etc. If you are in an area with high surrounding bee numbers and are getting a lot of in drift of mite carrying visitors, keep a watch on resurgence and be prepared.
    Frank

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Oxalic acid vaporizer

    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    OA only decomposes to Formic and Co2 in the lab (both of which are colorless). If you’re seeing white crystals, that’d be OA. JD is also correct about the Varrox. It’s the only steel/stainless wand vaporizer on the market and is water dunkable to cool it down between vaporizations.
    I started off with the Varrox which worked well but with larger numbers of hives takes a long time. I purchased 2 ProVaps from Larry and use them during Winter on an as needed basis as well as will be rotating OAV with thermal treatment. Both the Varrox and the ProVap are excellent products as is Larry's patient customer support!

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