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Like many, I've tried alot of varroa treatments. While I've heard others say how impressed they were with the various treatments, I can't say I'm ever really impressed. I used Apistan about 10 years ago, before I knew the mites were building up resistance to it and it left horrible residues inside the hive. I've recently used Apiguard, and still had hives die from mites (very temperature sensitive), and I've had other hives abscond while it was in there. Last year and this spring I've used MAQS, but it was very rough on the hives (lost 30% of queens, and most hives that I didn't lose the queens on stopped laying for 3 weeks, plus some brood kill, makes for a HORRIBLE spring treatment option). Can't get Hopguard in my state. Next week I'm going to try Apivar for the first time. We'll see how it goes. I've heard good things about it, but at between $5-7 a hive, per treatment, I'm not thrilled about it.

So I've been looking into OA treatment. I'm not interested in dribbling, as reading Randy Oliver's articles he explains how tough that is on the bees kidneys. I'm also not interested in making a pipe and using a blowtorch. Not interested in being that close to vaporizing OA, and if you don't get the temp right the OA will flash into Formic and Carbon Monoxide (defeats the purpose). So looks like I'd have to get one of those pre-made vaporizers (Heilyser's for $100, for example).

I'm weighing the pro's and cons, and wanted to see if anyone had some input for me that might be helpful.

Pros:
1. It's cheap to treat (runs, based on my math, about $0.25 per hive per treatment)
2. I've heard very little, if any residue left in the hive
3. I've heard it isn't stressful on bees (no queen loss, no loss of brood, no shutdown period)
4. You can treat without opening the hive
5. From videos I've seen, treating is easy
6. Difficult to overdose (not so much with MAQS or Thymol)
7. When you run out, you can just go to the hardware store (no need to pre-order, have it shipped in, worry about the bee store being "out of stock" as everyone and their cousin is treating this month)
8. Not temp. sensitive (can treat in spring, summer, fall, winter, day, night)
9. I haven't really heard of many people switching to OA and then deciding it wasn't a good choice

Cons:
1. Heavy upfront cost. ($100 entrance fee just to see if it works, plus the cost of the battery and the wood bleach)
2. Multiple treatments (like 3 or 4), each one week apart, are needed, making more labor and travel costs
3. Only kills foretic mites (none under cappings)
4. Takes 60 seconds to treat, plus 2-10 min to cool down/circulate per hive (treating a yard of 25 hives would take 1.5 to 4.5 hours)
5. (Kinda a big one for me) It's illegal (really don't want to get in trouble by state inspector, EPA, ect)
6. Make sure you keep your respirator close by
7. PR issues (not a big concern, but doesn't look great to neighbors/bystanders when I pour wood bleach into a pan, jam a metal rod into the hive and hook it up to a car battery)

Anything else I'm forgetting? Input?
 

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I use OAV during the late fall broodless period, and - although i haven't done it yet - would use it for a knockdown treatment if ever needed, but I don't think it is a very good regular treatment option option when substantial brood is present. I use apiguard in mid summer, and the combination works for me. So far.

In cases of hive loss during the summer apiguard treatment - I think that other stresses are as much of a factor as the treatment, and I may be better off to go ahead and lose those compromised hives now while replacement options are still available. Strong hives don't seem to suffer much.

Part of my strategy is that I have more hives right now then I intend on going into winter with.
 

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25 cents or less per treatment, yes. You dont have to leave the evaporator in; part your blocking rags in the middle and slid it out as soon as boil of is finished and push the rags together. Cool with a damp rag, load up, plug in the next hive. I think you could easily get it down to 3 minutes per hive. The cost of any of the evaporator is very quickly paid for the saving on patent treatment strips and transportation.

As for making your own I would not generally recommend it as the sizing of the pan and the amount of glow plug heat are important to get up to temperature in reasonable time without boilover or excessive end temperatures.
 

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Looks like you have hit the main points of OAV treatment, now it's just a matter of deciding on your part about whether to pay the entrance fee or not, I for one am glad I did. From this time forward I have opted to do my treatments during August, this is the time frame when my supers are empty and I can either slip a piece of aluminum sheet metal under them to keep the OAV out of the supers or remove them from the hives until after treatments of the brood nest is finished.

As far as it being illegal I can nether deny nor confirm this, there is a lot of opinions one way and the other on this subject and this thread could very well light another bon fire debate however this one thing I can assure you and that is OAV saved my hives and I am happy to use it :).
 

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Some may argue that it kills beneficial microbes in the hive. That is most likely true, but they must quickly rebound as evidenced by the renewed vigor of an infested hive after use.
You should test for mites in August as the mite population explodes during this time. Me, I see mites in drone brood, I treat.........
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In cases of hive loss during the summer apiguard treatment - I think that other stresses are as much of a factor as the treatment, and I may be better off to go ahead and lose those compromised hives now while replacement options are still available. Strong hives don't seem to suffer much.
I can't say I've seen the same. I've seen strong, and weak hives collapse after apiguard treatment. I don't know that apiguard is the single, or even if it is a contributing factor. Just an observation. I'd also say it didn't do much to knock down the mite counts (or as much as I had hoped). If I treat in August, I've noticed I might have mite issues in October. Not really what I'm looking for. I like apiguard better than MAQS, but I don't think it's the answer for me.

I think you could easily get it down to 3 minutes per hive.
Still, for a 25 hive apiary, you are looking at an hour and a half minimum. Those yards that have 50 hives, three hours. Then keep in mind you have to repeat next week, for three consecutive weeks, to really be effective. In a 25 hive yard that's a total of around 4.5 hours to treat, and in a 50 hive yard that's a total of 9 hours to treat, per yard. I'm not saying that's horrible. But the MAQS, Apiguard, and Apivar all go on in one application, and can be installed in seconds (literally).

As for making your own I would not generally recommend it as the sizing of the pan and the amount of glow plug heat are important to get up to temperature in reasonable time without boilover or excessive end temperatures.
I wouldn't consider making my own. For the work put into testing it out, $100 is worth it to me.

You should test for mites in August as the mite population explodes during this time. Me, I see mites in drone brood, I treat.........
Treatments aren't the only piece to my varroa puzzle. Testing (which my sugar shakes aren't a great indicator, but it helps) and using varroa resistant stock are also part of it, but you've got to treat at some point. Just making sure you do it at the right time (not too late, and not when the hive doesn't need it).
 

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I havent done more than 8 hives at once and only single treatment required. Most people with more hives would likely have more than a few evaporators. If you wore a respirator and worked with a fairly warm evaporator (the actual burn off time is only a bit over a minute) the time could be cut way down; the three minutes would be a careful no rush rate. My son uses pieces of the foam water pipe insulation to pop in for closing off. It is cheap and quick and easier than fussing with rags if you have full length bottom opening.

I have seen posts where people have worked out a system that can make the application to multiple hives a lot quicker than we are kicking around here. I have not been motivated to save time because I waste a fair bit of it playing with the bees anyway. One plus with OA is that it keeps virtually forever without having to refrigerate etc.
 

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Still, for a 25 hive apiary, you are looking at an hour and a half minimum. Those yards that have 50 hives, three hours.
i use 2 vaporizers when treating my yards. I spend less than 2 minutes per hive. I don't block the entrance or bother with sealing the hive. I put one in a hive, load the other one, by that time the first is done and I pull it out, dip it partially in water, load it, pull the other one and so on. I use a battery pack with clips to hook it up to the power so I'm not wasting time. My yards are all around 25 hives and I'm in and out in about 45 minutes total if all I'm doing is treating. I like not having to lift or fight the bees. I do almost all of my vaporization with just a veil. I've never bothered with a mask, just know which way the wind is blowing. A little whiff will make you cough a little but it's over quickly. BTW- I've been getting a very good mite kill with 3-4 treatments.
 

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I just started this year's treatments. I treat about a dozen here at home and half dozen or so at an outyard. It takes a little over an hour here and 45 minutes there. Cost for the Oxalic is more like 10¢ per. I do it 4x. Bees are noticeably zippier afterward. Can hardly find a mite going into winter. I'm sold.
 

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I occasionally hit a hive with OA if they have a mite load and are suffering from it. You can vaporize with honey supers on (I don't). If it has to be done I do it about this time of year if honey supers are off and do 2 more treatments 1 week apart. It does kill mites and I have noticed that if a hive was 'treated' the following spring there is almost no sign of nosema. Start with your necessities: Safety equipment - A respirator with an organic acid filter (forgot which color code it has).

You can also vaporize with a pipe and a torch for cheap if you just want to try it out. I drilled a hole in a quilt box and put a piece of plexi over it, works great and you can see the bees fanning the vapor around the hive (heated pipe method). I don't bother buttoning up the hive when I do it either. My 'wood bleach' is 100% OA.

My honest opinion is to get your respirator, make or buy your vaporizer, try to get 100% OA, and knock yourself out. You just saved lots of $$$
And always, common sense. Buy your respirator first :) :thumbsup:
 

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My honest opinion is to get your respirator, make or buy your vaporizer, try to get 100% OA, and knock yourself out. You just saved lots of $$$ And always, common sense. Buy your respirator first :) :thumbsup:
I could not agree with you more, a respirator with an N95 rating works just fine.......... you can find them at Walmart, Ebay & Amazon
 

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Cost for the Oxalic is more like 10¢ per. I do it 4x. Bees are noticeably zippier afterward. Can hardly find a mite going into winter. I'm sold.
10 cents per treatment, zippier bees and barely no mites........ no harm to brood, bees or the queen.......can't beat that!
 

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"... as reading Randy Oliver's articles he explains how tough that is on the bees kidneys....
Just curious, it is tough on bees kidneys? I am thinking Randy's articles (which I have not read) may be referring to human kidneys and that OA is tough on them. FYI, regarding honey bees, according to http://www.cyberbee.net/biology/ch3/ "Malpighian tubules are small strands of tubes attached near the end of ventriculus and functions as the kidney, it removes the nitrigen waste (in the form of uric acid, not as urea as in humans) from the hemolymph and the uric acid forms crystals and is mixed with other solid wastes."
 

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I used to treat with formic acid on a fume board. Results were always good until I lost a queen...maybe from the formic. So I bought the Varrox vaporizer last year. Very easy, quick and really knocked the mites back. Only treated once in November of last year and haven't treated since. Will sample in a week or two and treat if necessary. I think its the way to go. Specialkayme...you are only a few miles from me...you are welcome to try my Varrox when the time comes.
 

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ordered my vaporizor this week, I intend to try it on some packages that I installed this spring that I suspect need it badly.....I know I need to test :(..... I also have some summer started nucs that have a proven track record of treatment so I'm thinking that apivar may work for them but will see.I will test them..... The advise given to me is that " healthy (mite free) bees will overwinter MORE succesfully than any-o-package bees ....even if it costs me $20 or more to treat bees that survive to spring its cheap when compared to $100 packages or nucs....

==McBee7==
 

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I am a new beekeeper this year, and have seven hives, After lots of reading I bought the vaporizer and the oxalic acid. One question I have not seen answered, unlike many other treatment options the OAV dissipates quickly. How does one ensure they get most of the field bees? Do they not have mites riding around on them waiting to come back and infest the colony all over again? Do you do the treatment later in the evening or very early in the morning to maximize the effect?
thanks
 

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An N95 respirator is for particulates only. Read the MSDS for the product and decide which respirator to use. The ones I have read recommend organic vapor cartridges with a dust/mist filter. Oxalic acid has a low permissible exposure limit which indicates high hazards.
 

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I have started experiementing on one of my hives with this I use a homemade copper job and a torch which works great for one hive, the problem with them is not the acid getting too hot and converting as that can't happen in an open vessellit will just boil off at its boiling point, the problem would be if you plan to treat multiple hives in a yard it takes some time for them to cool enough to open up and reload with chemical. If I ever decide to start treating all hives with it, I would purchase an elec open pan model.....then again I could build probably 10 of the copper ones for the price of the commercialy sold elec ones, and even more if I just used a length of copper pipe with a curve and one end smashed flat.
 

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If I have to treat this year, OA sounds worth the effort.
 

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If I ever decide to start treating all hives with it, I would purchase an elec open pan model.....then again I could build probably 10 of the copper ones for the price of the commercialy sold elec ones, and even more if I just used a length of copper pipe with a curve and one end smashed flat.
I talked to a German guy who swears by one of those aromatherapy vaporizers, the ones that use a small candle. He puts an empty super on the hive, measures out the dose of OA into the vaporizers pan, places it on the top bars. Lights the candle and puts it into the vaporizer. Closes the hive and comes back in 10 minutes or more. You can't get cheaper than that.
Yes, I am being serious.:)
 
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