After decades of use in Europe, and 9 years since approval in Canada I find it hard to believe that this question has not been looked at closely and tested already. There must be a reason that the labels still warn users to not use it with supers on, to avoid contaminating marketable honey.
My guess is that there are some tests that were performed in Europe years ago that raised questions and triggered a warning to be included with the instructions. Something prompted the warning, or it wouldn't be there. I could be way off, might just be liability protection.
To everything there is a season....
I recall reading somewhere??? that the Canadians (whose the US just copied) decided not to allow OAV treatment with honey supers on so that it could be stated that the honey was "untreated."
I'll see if I can again find it...…….
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I read somewhere that the decision to not allow treating with honey supers on was to avoid the delays testing would incur.
The liability issues mentioned above probably weighed it down also.
Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.
A couple of replies reference formic acid entering the cappings.
This is not correct for honey.
Formic vapors go through the brood cappings which are porous.
Formic is not soluable in beeswax so does not pass through the honey cappings which are solid wax.
That is why it is labeled as OK to use with honey supers on.
I've never treated hives with OA with supers on. In the future I could change my mind...or not........that will be my secret.
Treating with OA vaporization will increase oxalic acid in honey. After a full round of OAV treatments, 1 pound of honey may contain as much Oxalic acid as 1 serving of carrot juice, or 1 serving of figs.
Link is a PDF list of oxalic acid content of foods. Note that 1 cup of soymilk contains 5X+ more oxalic acid than 1 pound of honey following a full round of 5 OAV treatments.
Below are some examples of foods which contain more oxalic acid than 1 lb of honey following treatment with OAV:
Product Portion // Oxalic acid content (mg)
Soy beverage 1 cup 336 mg
Soy nuts 1 ounce 392 mg
Soy yogurt 1 cup 113 mg
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) 3 ounces 496 mg
Tofu (firm with calcium) 3 ounces 235
Potato 1 97 mg
Onions 1 small 0 mg Rhubarb ½ cup 541 mg
Radish 10 0 mg Spinach (cooked) ½ cup 755 mg
Rapini (chopped) 1 cup 4 mg Spinach (raw) 1 cup 656 mg
Almond 22 kernels 122 mg
Hot chocolate 1 cup 65 mg
Beans (navy) ½ cup 76 mg
Beets ½ cup 76 mg
Raspberries 1 cup 48 mg
Last edited by username00101; 08-07-2019 at 10:10 AM.
I like the calculation but I will make the claim that you have way overstated the potential contamination in a pound of honey. Thus, here are my calculations. I do love a good math problem!
Assumptions: The hive consists of two 10 frame deep boxes, one 10 frame medium super, cover, bottom board, 20 deep frames and 10 medium frames. You will be vaporizing with the super on and will contaminate your honey.
The two brood boxes have 4 front/back panels that are 16 x 19 inches. Total surface area 152 sq. inches per side, total surface area is 608 sq. inches
The two brood boxes have 4 side panels that are 19 x 9.5 inches. Total surface area 180.5 sq. inches per side, total surface area is 722 sq. inches
The one medium super has 2 front/back panels that are 16 x 6.5 inches. Surface area 104 sq. inches per side, total surface area is 208 sq. inches
The one medium super has 2 side panels that are 19 x 6.5 inches. Surface area 123.5 sq. inches per side, total surface area is 247 sq. inches
There are 20 deep frames with foundation. The foundation/comb is 8.5 inches x 17 inches. The surface area per side is 144.5 inches x 2 sides x 20 units. Total surface area of 20 frames is 5,780 sq. inches.
There are 10 medium frames with foundation. The foundation/comb is 5.5 inches x 17 inches. The surface area per side is 93.5 inches x 2 sides x 10 units. Total surface area of 10 frames is 1,870 sq. inches.
The inner cover and the bottom board are each 16 x 19 and together have a total surface area of 608 sq. inches
Finally, there are 30,000 bees in the hive (some are out foraging), each has about .5 sq. inches of surface area. Total surface area of the bees is 15,000 sq. inches
Total surface area inside the hive is 25,043 sq. inches. If the OA is distributed evenly and you vaporize 3 grams (1 gram per box or 3,000 milligrams total) each square inch of the hive will receive 0.12 milligrams of OA. Since the frames are 93.5 sq. inches per side (187 total sq. inches), each frame will receive 22.40 milligrams of OA. Since each frame has about 5 pounds of honey, each pound will get about 4.48 Mg of OA contamination (if uncapped).
Please note that the surface areas are all close estimates. The inside of the boxes is slightly smaller than stated and I did not use the surface area of the frames themselves, only the facing of the foundation. Empty comb is not a flat face and has much more surface area. The honey will only get exposed to the OA if it is uncapped. Capped honey is protected and will not get contaminated directly.
The bottom line is this, using OAV with the supers on WILL contaminate your honey. So why do it? Make your product pure and uncontaminated. It only takes a few seconds to seal off a super if you are going to vaporize so there is no reason to not do so.
I agree that oxalic acid will "contaminate" honey from its original state, but the end result is no more "dangerous" than half of a potato.
Randy Oliver is submitting OA content in honey data for his use of OA in his shop cloth experiments. I am unclear whether his efforts will result in approval for use with honey supers on for an OAV application or a dribble application, since he seems to be focused on a substrate for long-term exposure.
I believe the solution may be to work through a university's bee lab. Hopefully, we can find a PhD student who can take this on and get it approved as his/her thesis project. Maybe get some university money toward it, a grant or even a kickstarter. We need to get an organization like EAS or ABF to support and fundraise an effort. It will be a huge service to all beekeepers.
Once you start compromising in the quality of the product, where does it end? Would we be having this conversation if it was just a little bit of rat poop or mouse urine? My name and reputation is on every bottle I sell. I will not allow any compromise with the quality.
I'm not disputing that your calculations are less then other edible foods. I'm contesting taking a mite control that is approved for use and deliberately use it in a way contrary to instructions. Why because you don't feel like lifting supers? Lazy? Stick in a removable cloak board.
I have no care in the world if you are keeping this honey for your family but if it could affect the way others sell honey you really need to think of the larger affects
Are you allowed to treat with OAV in Europe with the supers on?
I'm no scientist for sure, but it seems this would be a fairly simple test to perform with the appropriate testing equipment available.
Pull an uncapped frame of honey/nectar and remove the liquid from a certain number of cells or square inches of comb area. Replace the frame and perform an OAV treatment. Immediately pull the frame and remove an equal amount of liquid from adjacent cells.
Test both samples for the amount of OA present with equal volume/weight and compare the two.
What am I missing?
To everything there is a season....
For instance, Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama has a bee lab. So does the University of Georgia at Athens, Georgia and the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. 40 hives at each lab. At each location, you would have a control set with no OAV treatments, a set with a single OAV treatment, a set with 3X/7days OAV treatments, maybe even as set with a OAV treatment once a week for 6 months. You might want to have sets with varying does of OA that is being sublimated. All of that can be sorted among the labs. After the treatment protocol for any particular set, you pull and test a frame honey 24 hours after treatment, then 48 hours, then 10 days, then 30 days, then 90 days, etc. to establish the dissipation rate of the OA over time.
Obviously, all this data is compared with the control set to establish the base line OA naturally occurring in the honey.
That should establish exactly what we will be eating when we consume X grams/ounces of honey that has been treated in a certain manner and consumed within a certain amount of days after that treatment.
Then I suppose we need to establish whether that amount is harmful. If, as username proposes, it is less than the average serving of rhubarb, then I think our inquiry is likely done.