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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Deciding on treatments this year. I've read of formic killing queens. I don't really want to invest in a OA vaporizer for two measly hives, but maybe I should just bite the bullet?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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How much would it cost to replace one or both of your hives next year, and the year after? A varrox wand is inexpensive in comparison. You can get a band heater style vaporizer from JohnO or Biermann for about the same price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
For 2 colonies I would go with the cheaper oxy vaporizer, between $75 and $100.
How much would it cost to replace one or both of your hives next year, and the year after? A varrox wand is inexpensive in comparison. You can get a band heater style vaporizer from JohnO or Biermann for about the same price.
I suppose after buying other treatments it does just make sense to invest in an OA wand. You guys have talked me into it!
 

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I suppose after buying other treatments it does just make sense to invest in an OA wand. You guys have talked me into it!
Just remember that OA wand isn't a magic wand. It works wonders when there is little brood in the hive, but isn't nearly as effective when capped brood is present. And no matter what you use, do mite counts before and after, and generally always.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What do you recommend when there's capped brood?
Also, I always see that everyone recommends doing mite counts. I'm still not sure what the point is if I'm treating anyway. Like last year I treated with Api Life Var or Api something or other. After a month or so of treating it would be basically too late to treat again anyway, so I'd have to assume it either worked or it was too late to do it again. I treated before supers were on and after supers were off. I couldn't really treat again with those chemicals if mite counts were high anyway (well, maybe in the spring I could potentially do another several week treatment but then I'd have to basically write off any honey at that point).
 

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Mite counts are important, but not necessarily they way you think. My mite counts are drop dead counts. How many mites fell in the three days after I hit them with the OAV. When the number drops to near zero, that round is done. This is, to me, the most effective way of determining when OAV has done it's job. You can argue with me, but you can't argue with the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mite counts are important, but not necessarily they way you think. My mite counts are drop dead counts. How many mites fell in the three days after I hit them with the OAV. When the number drops to near zero, that round is done. This is, to me, the most effective way of determining when OAV has done it's job. You can argue with me, but you can't argue with the results.
Makes sense with OAV. With chemicals that require several week treatments I really see no value of testing for mites other than knowing whether they're really working or not. If they're not working what are you going to do, put on another month of treatment? In my area that could negate most honey crop for spring or I'd be taking off the treatment in late fall/ early winter when opening the hive probably isn't a great idea.

I see the value of OAV now and I'm sold.
 

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I don’t have a problem with formic and queen loss treated my 50 hives a month ago didn’t loose a queen. Just make sure your hives ventilated. Oxalic is a pain hauling a battery and fogging the hive and you have to do it several times and when they are broodless. Formic pro pop two strips down. Lots of commercial outfits use it and there is a reason why.
 

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I use Formic in the spring and Oav in the fall. One of the biggest benefits I see with formic is that it doesn’t require multiple visits and it can be used with honey supers. If you do oav make sure to get a full face respirator. I would suggest you give the varroa treatment guide from The Honey Bee Health Coalition a read. It goes over all the treatment options.

https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org...de_Varroa_Interactive_7thEdition_June2018.pdf
 

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It all depends on the temp and what your trying to achive. Do u want to use organic treatments (oav, formic or thymol) or sythetic (apivar. I personaly wouldnt worry about buying a wand for oav. If you live somewhere the temp is below 83 degrees in August for weeks at a time formic is a great option. Apigaurd works good if you have temps below 90 for several weeks. Apivar is what ive been using as soon as I can pull supers cuz its usually between 80 and 90 here in August atleast a few days a week. Apivar works great if you use as directed on the label you just have to have supers off and less than 2 boxs on at the time you are wanting to use it and not put supers back on after that so if you had a fall flow you wanted to harvest honey from (which I dont ) then apivar wouldnt be an option amd would need to use something like formic that can be used with supers. If you are in a bee club some will let you borrow a wand to use over the winter when bloodless. If not then maybe invest in one by winter to use but you wont need it till then.
 

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A study in the new (March 2020) Beekeeper's Quarterly, British mag, that removing capped brood for 24hours at 75-78 F makes female mites infertile with no effect on brood. I'm going to try it this summer on 1 hive & take mite counts before & after. Let you know what happens. Might be another way to get the bastards!
 

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Just finished a maqs treatment on our 14 hives. We do a single strip at a time to lessen pressure on queens.
Guess I'm cheap, but my daughter and I use the dribble method when we do oa.
With 2 hives, its not worth the expense of a wand.
 

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OA treatments are typically used during bloodless periods b/c OA doesn’t penetrate into the capped brood where most of the mites are during a colonies population build-up phase of development. However, there are OA regimens stretched out over several weeks to manage for this.

Treating, or not, should be based upon some parameter and that should start with presence of high mite count levels requiring treatment. Don’t treat if your not at or above threshold.

What you treat with also should be selected based on such parameters as presence of brood or not, temperatures, honey flows, how long treatment needs to remain in the hive, etc.

As Headofmeadow suggests, read the Honey Bee Health Coalitions Varroa Management Guidelines
 

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There is no magic bullet. There are several treatments and applications that work in different circumstances, some of those circumstances overlap and you have to decide which to use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you all for your replies. Seems even with the upfront costs of a vaporizer, OA is the cheapest way to go in the long run. I don't like the idea of putting temperature-sensitive chemicals in the hive that could potentially kill the queen if the temp gets above 90 (or whatever). I mean, it's not commonly that hot here, but it could certainly get that hot with a heat wave lasting several days.

The next problem with OA is finding a respirator now. I went with JW's advice and contacted JohnO for the vape (on backorder for a couple of weeks), but even if/when I get it, it doesn't look like I'll be finding a respirator any time soon.

I know for only 2 hives it's overkill, but I do intend on expanding. Plus I can easily run an extension cord to where they are, so I don't need to invest in the battery/inverter setup.

I guess for now I'll just buy some formic and hope for the best.
 

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Jimbo3;

Regarding the respirator issue. For sure they would be nearly impossible to find now without paying 3 or 4 times the price. My wife is sewing up cloth masks at the moment but they really are not close fitting enough for working right into OA dust.

With only two hives though there are workarounds to no respirator. With either the tray type or the band heater you could load up cold, insert into the hive and power up from the other end of the extension cord allowing you to be far away from the action. Same as blasting! A couple of trial runs in the open would easily give you the timing of how long to leave the power on to boil off a charge. I have done that many times and feel that is a perfectly safe practice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Jimbo3;

Regarding the respirator issue. For sure they would be nearly impossible to find now without paying 3 or 4 times the price. My wife is sewing up cloth masks at the moment but they really are not close fitting enough for working right into OA dust.

With only two hives though there are workarounds to no respirator. With either the tray type or the band heater you could load up cold, insert into the hive and power up from the other end of the extension cord allowing you to be far away from the action. Same as blasting! A couple of trial runs in the open would easily give you the timing of how long to leave the power on to boil off a charge. I have done that many times and feel that is a perfectly safe practice.
Thanks! I just may have to do it that way!
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Frank, that is a really good idea! Once the charge has boiled off, all he has to do is unplug it and wait a few minutes before dropping the next charge in.
 
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