How to Use Oxalic Acid Bees
Oxalic acid bees can be used in two main ways. The first one is through oxalic acid vaporization wherein a device is inserted into the bee colony to heat it until the pan’s oxalic acid content has burned off. The second way is through oxalic acid dribble in which a mixture of sugar syrup and oxalic acid is squirted on the bees in between frames.
Both oxalic acid vaporization and dribble methods have the same qualities.
- These two ways are effective when it comes to killing varroa mites that are still in phoretic state.
- The methods require the operators to follow some safety precautions to keep themselves protected during the application of oxalic acid.
- Oxalic acid dihydrate can be used as active ingredient and the two methods are using the same quantity per hive for equal material cost.
Now, even if the two methods share some similarities, it is still important to note that they have several differences.
The key difference is in the way the oxalic acid gets delivered to the beehive. Simpler equipment is used for the oxalic acid dribble method but this is said to be a bit harder on bees that may limit the ability of treating again when necessary. Oxalic acid vaporization, the second method, makes use of more complex equipment and needs extra protective gear for protecting the health of the operator. Paradoxically, however, this is less dangerous to the bees so this provides more flexibility for repeating a treatment if needed.
Table of Contents
What is Oxalic Acid Dribble?
Oxalic acid dribble is a method that requires cheap equipment for preparation and dispersal of the mixture of sugar syrup and oxalic acid. There are lower safety risks on the part of the operator compared to the vaporization method so just a simple N-95 or particulate mask, gloves, and eye protection are essential as personal protection equipment. However, it is a bit difficult on the bees since it will be inevitable for them to feed off the sugar syrup then as they do so, they may also eat some of the oxalic acid that is mildly dangerous to them.
For treatment for early winter, it is a must to open the colony during cold weather and break the propolis seals of the boxes at the time of the year once the bees might not have temperatures warm enough for repairing the seals immediately that may possibly expose them to the cold drafts. This will wet the bees amidst cold weather. The oxalic acid dribble method must be done only once on a similar cohort of bees.
However, it is a good thing to try a one-dose, broodless-period treatment program for oxalic acid.
What is Oxalic Acid Vaporization?
The method of oxalic acid vaporization needs a specialized tool such as a Provap device or Varrox wand, a source of power that is often a lawn mower battery, goggles, and breathing protection, which is full-face respirator for ProVap and half-face respirator that has acid gas cartridges for Varrox wand.
Vaporization is much easier on bees compared to a dribble. The truth is that it got a good safety record and this is also considered harmless to queens, brood, and bees. There is no need to break the hive apart to apply. This can also be used in the series of treatments if necessary. Compared to a dribble, a lot of people find vaporization as a better option in the long run.
Should You Use ProVap or Varrox Wand?
In case you are just getting started with a vaporization program, the Varrox wand is your best option unless you got over 30 hives. The primary practical difference between Varrox and ProVap is none other than speed.
It will only take around 5 minutes for each hive if you are using Varrox plus a sealed-in stage of 10 minutes. ProVap, on the other hand, needs the use of a pricier full-face respirator. Aside from battery power, this can run on 110V electricity as well. The two are both excellent tools and these can also give you long years of satisfactory service.
However, there is a single caveat involved here. Vaporization is something that is best used exclusively in wooden hives instead of those made of synthetic materials.
The main barriers to the use of vaporization are none other than the equipment’s upfront costs as well as the need for using a respirator while the treatment is being done. The oxalic acid vaporization, that you can buy in the online store Honigschleudern.eu, is a method found to be very safe for bees aside from being highly effective when it comes to fighting off mites.
But, due to the safety risks on the part of the operator, if you find it hard to commit to wearing your respirator all the time, vaporization might not be the best treatment option for you. While it is essential to be in full control of the Varroa mites, this should never be done in the expense of human health.
Type of Respirator Required for Oxalic Acid Vaporization
So far, you can find a few good brands of respirator that you can find in the market. In the case of Varrox wand, it is best to go for a half-face respirator featuring acid gas cartridges. A full-face respirator with similar cartridges is required for ProVap.
The correct cartridge has a yellow band surrounding the perimeter. There are times when acid gas cartridges are combined with an organic vapor protection and there is nothing wrong with that. However, you wouldn’t want the standalone organic vapor cartridges although these are often available. You can also look for half-face mask. If you have an existing respirator, replacement acid gas cartridges can be purchased to complete the entire set. You also need to remember that unless you have a full-face mask, goggles must be worn for protecting your eyes.
Make sure you read the mask’s user instructions to know how to conduct a proper seal test. It will only take you a few seconds to do this seal check. The seal check must be repeated whenever you wear the mask even if you just removed it for a few seconds.