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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have nine hives in my yard and I have been reading about all the different methods for treating varroa. Now's the time when varroa are nearing their peak. Looking at all the angles and costs, I selected oxalic acid and vaporization as my method of choice. In the long run, I think it is the cheapest way to go with less side effects. Oxalic acid is very cheap and the only real short term cost is getting a vaporizer. I plan on having more hives in the coming year and buying strips gets costly with some side effects.

I thought about making a vaporizer, but really didn't want to fool around experimenting and coming up with something that might not do a very good job after spending time fabricating. I shopped around and got a Varrox vaporizer and am very happy with it. It's the heavy duty one. I am sold on it.

I did three treatments...five days apart...and just finished up this week. I did put blank white boards under my 3 screened larger hives to see if I had any real mite fall after the third treatment and things look really good. From what I have read, oxalic acid also kills the trachea mites, too.

I have some single hive bodies with the small entrance reducers on them. The Varrox worked fine by lifting up the hive body with a hive tool and placing the Varrox handle in the small entrance and lowering the hive body back down again.

After doing the first treatment and seeing how slow I was...I gave it some thought. I went to Walmart and bought four of the cheapie digital timers for about $4.50 apiece, (kitchen section). Using several timers at once...improved my efficiency greatly. One timer is kept set at around 3 minutes for the burnoff time, and the other three timers are set for around 10 minutes. Using these several timers, you can just bump along hive to hive, with the 10 minute timers alarming when they are done...as you move along down the line. The secret to being efficient time-wise is to keep the vaporizer smoking with little lag time between hives. You can be two or three hives ahead of the last 10 minute timer counting down if you are fast enough.

I have seen no effect with the bees in the hive after a treatment is done. It's business as usual 10 minutes after I have pulled away from the hive. I plan to do one treatment in late November when there is no brood in the hive.

Opinions, questions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Did you buy the heavy duty one advertised on this forum ?

casper
Hi Casper...Yes I did. I think the difference in price is worth it. The business end is heavier, too.

It's funny...At the bee club meeting they were talking about all the problems with varroa and the treatments. But...vaporizing is like a non-entity subject and not approached. I just sat there and smiled. It's like a secret. I have no problems with varroa. Earlier on, I was planning to buy drone frames as well as chemical strips. I say...do your own research and make up your own mind. That's what I did.
 

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I bought the same vaporizer and was also very happy with the quality of the construction. I will share that I noticed the largest mite kill on the sticky boards 48hrs after treatment was administered. Before vaporizing treatments my mite counts were in the 70-80 range two weeks later they are all under 20.
 

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Hey Redbug:

Just ordered me one of the heavy duty vaporizers, the $165 one plus shipping. Now, I am awaiting on it plus my acid I have ordered from Amazon. Have 12 volt battery, guess I'll be ready to go. Need to get a face mask, next time I'm in town, cuz runs a medical supply store, he will surely have them.

I'm like you, do a lot of studying, research, etc. Personally, I think this is the way to go. I don't like to keep chemically treated bees, but this is the best I've heard of. Have you seen some of the videos on here ? Wow, I can't wait. I'll have all my stuff loaded on my lil trailer I pull behind my 3 or 4 wheeler, and I am on high alert.

Thanks for getting back to me. Take care and all the best,
casper_zip
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I use a wheelbarrow. I put the battery, and all my junk in it and wheel it around. I watch the wind direction and stay upwind when I am doing treatments. My hives have screened bottoms and I close them off when I do it.

I am also going to start treatments on a friend's hives at my hunt club this week. I think he will eventually get a vaporizer, too.

Here's a good one to watch to get a feel...I don't think he keeps them closed off for 10 minutes or so,
I am not sure, and I think it may take a little longer for the unit to vaporize into the hive than he says.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQp9pdAOjdo&list=UU2JGH5ZBtWQJuTYCyfI3M3Q
 

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Dave, you mentioned once every 5 days x 3. Have you seen variations on this schedule?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dave, you mentioned once every 5 days x 3. Have you seen variations on this schedule?
Hi GreySquirrel...I have seen treatment recommendations that vary anywhere from 5 to 10 days between treatments. With a total of three treatments being done.

I did mine 5 days apart. Here's my reasoning...and remember I am new at this...

Total treatment time of 15 days. The vapors do not treat any covered over larvae, (pupa). It treats only open cells and adults. A larvae will be in the pupa stage for about 13 days. So, in 15 days time about all the bees in the hive...except the ones out foraging and not in the hive...will get treated.

I guess you can stretch it out to 7 or 10 days between treatments. But, I would just as soon get on with it. Opinions please...
 

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I did mine 5 days apart. Here's my reasoning

Total treatment time of 15 days. The vapors do not treat any covered over larvae, (pupa). It treats only open cells and adults. A larvae will be in the pupa stage for about 13 days. So, in 15 days time about all the bees in the hive...except the ones out foraging and not in the hive...will get treated.

I guess you can stretch it out to 7 or 10 days between treatments. But, I would just as soon get on with it. Opinions please...
You're spot on!......... you'll get the last of the mites when you do your final treatment right around Thanksgiving when the hive is basically broodless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes...The treatment around Thanksgiving time is on my list. If the weather is good, I may have a drumstick in one hand and a vaporizer in the other...

I wonder what the findings are on how the acid interacts with wax moths and hive beetles? I know they are insects and so are bees. I don't have a problem with either right now...the hives are in the sun most of the day. But, it would be interesting to know if any studies have been done...
 

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I wonder what the findings are on how the acid interacts with wax moths and hive beetles? I know they are insects and so are bees. I don't have a problem with either right now...the hives are in the sun most of the day. But, it would be interesting to know if any studies have been done...
Don't know of any studies, but from personal experience, OA does NOT kill SHB. Not sure about wax moths as I've never treated a hive with OA that had a wax moth infestation.
 

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Dave, you mentioned once every 5 days x 3. Have you seen variations on this schedule?
I do mine 7 days apart, as Saturday morning to Saturday morning is 7 days. :)

Agree, the last treatment should be around Thanksgiving. As they are broodless, and go thru the winter with no (or very little) mites.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Robbin...Just thinking outside the box...If you work M-F, then each Saturday (when you are off), is when you do a treatment. That makes sense and I understand the seven day thing.

I recently retired and it's easier to fit the 5 day treatment in.

So...5 days for retirees and 7 days for the guys that still mine salt...
 

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Hi Robbin...Just thinking outside the box...If you work M-F, then each Saturday (when you are off), is when you do a treatment. That makes sense and I understand the seven day thing.

I recently retired and it's easier to fit the 5 day treatment in.

So...5 days for retirees and 7 days for the guys that still mine salt...

Yep, If I had a choice I would probably go with 5 days as the post treatment drops really falls on the 4th day. That said, treating seven days apart certainly works. I do treat more times in the fall.
One 3 step treatment in the dearth when I pull my supers the another 4 or 5 step treatment in late fall. Not sure the extra treatments are needed, but it's fall, nice and cool in the morning and little else to do to the hives after pulling all the supers. So why not treat an extra time or two just to be sure going into winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's very interesting Robbin. I never thought about giving an extra treatment or two. I guess if it does not hurt the bees...and the literature says it will not, then you would be OK to do so. I see you have 14 hives and in the second year. So you have been treating since the first year. This is my first year so I am learning.

How many hives did you lose, (if any), this past winter and how did you come to the realization of OAV for treatment?
 

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I just did my second treatment this weekend, I and doing the weekend thing as well, every Sunday morning . I am treating at day break before the foragers are out. They are a little cranky but I think I get a good coverage that way. I have two questions,
How are you sealing the entrances, I am using a towel and it doesn't work well. I am considering building a tin plate on the vaporizer than when its slid in will cover the opening. After removing the vaporizer I would just set a block of wood covering the entrance. I have a dato cut in the entrances exactly the right size for the vaporizer to enter.

I like your idea of a final treatment but I need some help to adjust my dates, I am in Canada so Thanksgiving is the first week of October, this is a little too early. But there will probably be snow and for sure cool temps before American thanksgiving. As a first year beekeeper I have no idea when the broodless period happens. What temps cause it? I have read you do not want to be opening the hives below 50 f or you risk cooling them so I can not just keep looking to see.
 

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That's very interesting Robbin. I never thought about giving an extra treatment or two. I guess if it does not hurt the bees...and the literature says it will not, then you would be OK to do so. I see you have 14 hives and in the second year. So you have been treating since the first year. This is my first year so I am learning.

How many hives did you lose, (if any), this past winter and how did you come to the realization of OAV for treatment?
I had no winter losses. The first year I lost a NUC to SHB, before I knew what one was. I lost another NUC to robbing.
This year I lost a very strong hive. They swarmed, appearantly failed to raise a queen and in a very weakened state got robbed out. I mean down to the comb being chewed.
I saw the robbing late in the afternoon walking my dogs, had my son go back first think in the morning and put in an entrace reducer. Went back in this weekend but it was a done deal.
I had a small nuc that was queen right, not a good queen but they had one. So I combined what was left and reduced the hive to a single deep. Left the reducer on and started feeding as we are in a full dearth here and they didn't have a drop of stores to survive on. We'll see if they can make it and strengthen the hive enough to make it before winter.

Hated to lose a strong hive like that. They can really bust your chops if you fail to stop them from swarming. Not sure why but we lose about 40% of virgins on their mating flight. I have every bee eating creature know to man on my farm....
 

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You should not have to open the hive to put the vaporizer in. It is not crucial that every last bit of brood has emerged so I would not be going into the hive just to confirm that. I would say at an outside air temperature slightly above 40 degrees F. they bees will have a bit higher temperature inside, so should not be in a tight cluster. They need a bit of time to regroup afterwards. On a day that an occasional bee is still coming and going at the entrance, would be about right.
 

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I just did my second treatment this weekend, I and doing the weekend thing as well, every Sunday morning . I am treating at day break before the foragers are out. They are a little cranky but I think I get a good coverage that way. I have two questions,
How are you sealing the entrances,
I am using SBB on all my hives and put the vaporizer under the screen so the bees don't get cooked. I simply slide the drawer closed with the vaporizer on it and drop a rag over the entrance to seal the hive. It works really well.

After the vaporizer has cooked off the OA (4 minutes), I remove it but keep the drawer in to keep the hive sealed for an additional 6 minutes. I dunk the vaporizer in a small bucket of water (below the glow plug) to cool it and move it to my next hive and do the same thing. I treated 11 hives in about 2 hours using a single vaporizer. Next year, I will probably buy another one to reduce the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Eric and the gang...You got me to wondering about vaporizing time.

If I set my vaporizer in the hive, hook it to the battery, and set my timer for 3 minutes for burn off, how long should I set my other timer after the 3 minutes expires? 10 minutes...8 minutes?
The vaporizer starts smoking soon after it is plugged in. 3 minutes plus 10 minutes is 13 minutes total time. Do you set the other timer for around 8 minutes...which comes to a total time of 11 minutes?

I guess the real question is: Do you include the burn off time in with the total time? How do you figure the times? I hope I am not making a mountain out of a mole hill...
 
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