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Ok, like every first year Beek-I'm lost in the fog of a million blogs, a hundred supply houses and a billion opinions. As I get ready to harvest, I am planning to strip off my supers, extract the honey and throw the wet frames back in the supers for the fall flow (I am a darn optimist-if only things were that easy). And squeeze in some varroa mite treatment. My thoughts were to get a vaporizer (yes I know all the hazards, have OSHA training, fit tested NIOSH full face and half face, Momma's an EPA Chemical Engineer (assisted by my daughter/bee partner) and will be there to relentlessly reminding me of any short coming in my procedure-34 years of bliss).

Now, I realize in a hive with brood such as mine (hopefully) that at this is not a one day job nor should it be done with honey supers in place. What should I do? I (and my partner/boss/daughter) am planning on doing my first alcohol wash this weekend so I don't have any idea of a mite count in either hive but I, like all first year Beek, expect the worse. We did apivar strips in the spring but they were removed in early June when we put the supers on. It's approaching 60 days, the bees look health and we look like we'll get some honey in a week or two.

As a first year Beek, I am planning on reserving a super or two's worth of honey, have two brood boxes on each with what appeared to ample additional stores and I'm thinking from the local vegetation, we should have a decent fall flow too.

Either way, I am looking at buying a vaporizer, and wanted to know your opinions on which is the best bang for the buck with an eye on long term beekeeping. I see the Varrox unit is nice and simple, seems like it would work. The Partner/Boss/Daughter is planning on doing some splits next spring (assuming) and buy additional 10 hives (her money although I may kick in).
 

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2020 8 hives
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If you used Apivar earlier and just removed them in June they will more than likely have a low mite count. Given that, I am planning on doing a three round 4 to 6 days apart in mid August. I have an American made knock off that I have had for 4 years. I looked on Amazon recently and like you I was overwhelmed by the choices. A friend has a Varrox and it seems to work well. The only problem I have with my cheap knock off is the wire that was used on mine is rather stiff. Granted, it needs to carry a hot load and not burn out. You also need to know of the time factor for each colony. 2 minutes connected to a battery and 2 minutes unconnected. With your 2 colonies that doesn't seem like much time. with 8+ splits that's starting to add up.

Recently I became aware of another option for multiple applications. Johnno offers one here that is electric I believe. Then there is the GasVap sold out of England. Both of them knock your time down 30 seconds a colony. I have missed my window for the GasVap as COVID19 has crimped his shipping time. I have 8 this year and I'll pick the GasVap up soon. This year I moved to monthly application with Spring and Fall being a triple application. With supers taken off for treatments it wasn't bad but now takes up more time.

We all have short comings and there is a steep learning curve in this hobby. You remember your mistakes!

Around here the local max seems to be 9-10 hives per site. So if you do expand out next year you also get to learn about contacting others for out yards. My preference is hay fields. Less spray problems.


I know I didn't answer you directly but I wanted to address your looking to the future.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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If you plan on increasing your hive counts, you can't beat a band heater vaporizor like the ProVap or any of the similar units. I own a ProVap and have used an Easyvap recently. They are both quick and easy to use. I ran the EasyVap off of the 400 watt inverter built into my 4Runner. Both are 120v as opposed to the Varrox which is 12v and requires you to lug around a battery. Johno and Biermann sell units they build at a fraction of the cost of the Provap110.
 

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I am a beginner in my fourth season but here is my experience.

I use the Varrox brand wand and it has been rock solid reliable for three years. It does not use glow plugs like some do. It's not the cheapest wand but you pay for quality. I use an ATV with a small garden trailer to carry my bee stuff to the hives so I have 12 volts easily available. I leave the ATV idling while I treat. Works great for me.

I have 7 colonies now at it's getting to the point where the wand is taking more time than I wish it did. I recently bought a generator to use with my RV so I may get a band heater system and sell the Varrox on Craigslist.

The one from Johno mentioned above is roughly the same cost as a Varrox, so if you have a generator or access to household current in your bee yard, I think that's a no brainer.
 

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I will chime in. I used Varrox for years and they were reliable but slow and I have a number of charred bottom boards and fame bottoms. This January a friend was kind enough to let me borrow a Pro Vap to use on 60 hives. Good unit but the cost was too much. I now own two units from Johno and Biermann and they work great. I recently did 110 hives in 90 minutes which would have taken 3-4 hours. The wand type also pisses of the bees while I can use the band type units without smoke in shorts and tee shirt to make up for the heat of wearing the respirator and face shield. I think you won't regret a unit from Johno or Biermann.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys!
I found the Varrox on FleaBay for $100 new so maybe I'll go that route for now. I'm not sure how far my daughter wants to go as she will be (hopefully) heading off to college in about a year. She wants to go to flight school and become a commercial pilot. I don't think that I'd go past 10 hives on my own as a hobbyist. I'm thinking on my diesel F-250 or the Land Rover, I might be able to extend the leads on the Varrox and terminate in a plug that I could put into my trailer plugs. In NJ, I'm limited to 3 hives on my home lot due to the size but own two contiguous agricultural land of 14-1/2 acres about 5 miles away. I currently lease it to a crazy lady who's been growing organic hay there for her Morgan show horses. I wanted to build out a barn to keep some of my stuff in and am now thinking to keep the hives there (the new ones-I enjoy sitting out in the yard with the current ones watching them come and go, blasting off into the sky in the morning before work.

i was wondering about the Varrox burning the board or setting the hive on fire. In my current hives, one has a screened verro trap screen and one is a solid. Would the Varrox melt the screen? More thoughts...
 

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I was in the same thought mode as you are. I couldn't decide who's model to get, John's or Beirman's. So I emailed both of them and I figured who ever responded first would get my business. This was last Saturday and John responded over that weekend and I have my new vap to use this weekend. Excellent service! Thanks John, Max
 

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Larry-

If you're going that route, I would recommend putting an inline switch in the wiring so you don't have to keep unplugging it to turn it off. I wish mine had a switch but since you're cutting into it anyway...

Good idea with using the trailer harness. I think it draws 150 watts so keep that in mind
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think I am-the F250 is a 2003 standard cab 7.3 diesel with dual batteries and a 260 amp alternator. I think it'll work. Was ordered by the towns' road department as an optional piece on a bigger order and they didn't take delivery. Heavy duty everything 4x4 with what my wife calls the hose out interior-vinyl seats and floors. The dealer sold it to me new for $23K with a $27K sticker, still starts on the first crank with almost 300k miles on it. Wish they still made them.

On the other hand, the Rover won't start if it's raining-typical British vehicle. But you look good parked waiting for a jump...
 
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