Oxalic acid is a very effective treatment for Varroa mite control in honeybee colonies. Beekeepers using this mite control method have two options of application: vaporization and fogging. Vaporization is the most preferred method, as it ensures that the acid has spread to all areas of the hive including inside the uncapped cells.
Beekeepers are treated to a wide array of oxalic acid vaporizers that utilize different technologies. We have thus prepared here a detailed review of the best oxalic acid vaporizers available right now. As a bonus, we include a buying guide at the end that covers treatment schedules and how to go about using an oxalic acid vaporizer. For those who are good with their hands, there is also a DIY section where you learn how to make your own vaporizer. Let’s get started.
Best Oxalic Acid Vaporizers
10. VarroJet Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
The VarroJet Oxalic Acid Vaporizer is a butane powered high capacity vaporizer for large scale beekeepers. It uses a combination of butane gas for heating and 3 AAA batteries for its fan. It delivers a large amount of oxalic acid vapor in a few bursts. In 30 seconds of operation, it can vaporize 2 grams of oxalic acid into your hive.
In operation, a handle brings the oxalic acid cups on a carousel into position in front of the butane torch. An upward movement of the handle connects the cup with the chute. It is heated and releases vapor into the chute. A battery powered fan then pushes the vapor out and into the beehive you are treating. The fan is battery powered. When one carousel cup is empty, just lower it from the chute, and rotate the next cup into place. Once all the cups on the rotating carousel are empty, you may allow up to 3 minutes for cooling and then refill them.
The Varrojet Oxalic Acid Vaporizer is made using heavy duty laser-cut parts. It is largely composed of stainless steel and aluminium as necessary. The vaporizer comes with full instructions for use included.
The single weakness with this vaporizer is the size of the butane can. It is rather small for when you want to go through many beehives in a single day.Check Price on eBay
9. Blythewood Bee Company NoVarroa Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
The Blythewood Bee Company NoVarroa Oxalic Acid Vaporizer is effective to eradicating Varroa mites from beehives. It is made of high quality materials and is solidly constructed. It features a rounded wooden handle, and a round acid pan. The acid pan is deep and wide enough. It takes enough oxalic acid per hive without spilling it out. Aluminium metal is used in the construction of the metallic parts of the vaporizer.
For ease of handling and use, the vaporizer has its electric wires going into the vaporizer through the back of the handle. It has two wires with crocodile clips at the ends. Since you will be using DC power for heating, the polarity does not matter much. The clips of this vaporizer are thus both colored black. The wires are insulated with white colored heavy duty coating.
At the middle of the rod holding the acid pan is an aluminium stopper strip. This prevents you from pushing the vaporizer into the beehive too much. It is a great feature not found on most oxalic acid vaporizers. The stopper rests against the entrance of your beehive to allow the vaporizer to work at optimum insertion into the beehive. It also gives the vaporizer added stability.
A shortcoming of the Blythewood Bee Company NoVarroa Oxalic Acid Vaporizer is its heating element and wire insertion. The element is prone to malfunction and very difficult to replace or repair. The wires too are likely to get uncoated inside the vaporizer rod. They may short circuit, rendering the vaporizer useless.Check Price on Amazon
8. Colorado Cold Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
The Colorado Cold Oxalic Acid Vaporizer is a 12V vaporizer with capacity to hold up to 3 grams of oxalic acid per treatment. It is very reusable and lasts for a long time. The vaporizer has a wooden handle and adequately long leads. The leads are fitted with crocodile clips at their ends for your easy use. This is a simple vaporizer that promises to be with you along your beekeeping journey.
You should buy the Colorado Cold Oxalic Acid Vaporizer with confidence. It has a highly reliable heating element that gives you repeated use with no drop in performance. The heating elements are in a duo arrangement to give you even better reliability. They also ensure even heat distribution. The vaporizer comes ready to use once you take it out of the shipping box. No assembly is required for it.
A fully charged 12V battery connected to this vaporizer fully vaporizes oxalic acid in less than 3 minutes. The vaporizer is built in a minimalist design to take up little space but can still comfortably reach the middle of your hive. The electrical connections of this vaporizer are all soldered together. The aluminium bowl used to hold acid in the is CNC machined for high accuracy.
This oxalic acid vaporizer is a great design and is well worth considering. It is symmetrically built to prevent tilting. The vaporizer comes with a scoop to make your work easier. Additionally Colorado Cold claims to test every product leaving their factories so you are sure of quality.Check Price on eBay
7. OxaVap ProVap110 Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
The OxaVap ProVap110 Oxalic Acid Vaporizer uses AC power in the 110-120V grids. It is suitable for use by beekeepers with their apiaries near home or with an inverter. The device vaporizes oxalic acid quickly and ejects the vapor through a round outlet that you plug into a hole drilled in the sides of your beehive. The back of the beehive is the most appropriate place to use the vaporizer. If you so wish, you can also use the vaporizer at the front of your hives.
Beekeepers using this vaporizer should not be afraid of drilling a hole in their beehive. Bees quickly seal the ¼ inch required opening with propolis. If you prefer to close the hole after oxalic acid vapor treatment, you can use a golf tee or other suitable seal that can be removed easily.
To use the OxaVap ProVap110 Oxalic Acid Vaporizer, connect it to a power source and allow it to reach 2300 C. Add an appropriate amount of oxalic acid to the white Teflon lids while holding the vaporizer upside down. Next, invert the vaporizer and push the white Teflon lid onto the bowl. Place the vaporizer stem into your beehive hole or entrance and then turn the whole vaporizer device right side up. Tap the lid lightly to drop all the acid into the bowl.
This vaporizer allows you to go through your beehives quickly, in a sequence and treat them all for Varroa mites. It does not require you to allow the temperature of the vaporizer to get low before a next treatment. The vaporizer takes approximately 2 minutes to reach optimum vaporization temperature of 2300 C. It even has readouts that allow you to monitor the temperature during use.Check Price on Amazon
6. Scott Bee Farm Mite Oxalic Acid Vaporizer v.03.25
The Scott Bee Farm Oxalic Acid Vaporizer v.03.25 is effective in the vaporization of oxalic acid in your beehive to control Varroa mites. It is easy to use and has a simple build. The vaporizer is made in the USA using high quality materials that make it very durable. It is reliable, and does not lower its efficiency even with repeated use. Furthermore, the acid pan is CNC machined to exact dimensions.
The Scott Bee Farm Oxalic Acid Vaporizer v.03.25 utilizes a glow plug as its heating part. It comes with soldered battery clips and an insulated electrical wire that is 12 feet long. The vaporizer features a long wooden handle that gives an excellent grip. The handle has flat surfaces with a rectangular cross-section. The acid pan is wide and deep enough to take enough oxalic acid per beehive. It works fine even for hives with more than one brood box.
A clearance of ½ inch is required at the beehive entrance for the vaporizer to work effectively. The vaporizer is designed for use with a wide range of batteries including motorcycle batteries. It features heavy wiring that can carry both small and large currents without suffering any damage. With proper maintenance and care, this oxalic acid vaporizer is a great investment for beekeepers.
While the vaporizer is well constructed, it does not have an On/Off switch. This requires you to disconnect one of the clips on the battery to turn it off. Additionally, be sure to leave the vaporizer in the hive for at least 10 minutes after switching it off.Check Price on Amazon
5. Blythewood Bee Company Varrox Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
The Blythewood Bee Company Varrox Oxalic Acid Vaporizer by is an outstanding vaporizer loaded with great features. It has a stainless steel acid pan that works with both liquid and crystalline oxalic acid. It has a high efficiency rate, is water resistant, and it has a short cooling period. Additionally, it comes with wings that prevent the vaporizer from tipping over once inserted into the beehive.
To use the vaporizer, load the acid cup with the desired amount of oxalic acid and then insert it into your hive. The amount of acid you use varies depending on the number of boxes per hive that you are treating. Once inserted into the hive, connect the vaporizer to your 12V battery and give it 2 ½ minutes to heat up and vaporize the oxalic acid. You should then disconnect the vaporizer and wait for 10 minutes before removing it or unsealing the hive.
Once outside the hive, dip the vaporizer in water for a minute or two to cool it down. It is then ready for use in the next hive in your queue. You may continue sealing the just treated hive for another 10 minutes to lock in the vapors. Pieces of foam cut and shaped to seal your hive entrances are very great for use with this vaporizer.
The Blythewood Bee Company Varrox Oxalic Acid Vaporizer measures 14 x 3.3 x 0.5 inches in dimensions. It weighs 2 pounds without oxalic acid added in the pan/cup. Blythewood Bee Company has a long history in beekeeping and a wide range of quality beekeeping equipment.Check Price on Amazon
4. Blue Ridge Bee Company Oxalic Acid Vaporizer Kit
The Blue Ridge Bee Company Oxalic Acid Vaporizer is an entire kit containing the vaporizer, its consumables and safety gear. The vaporizer itself is a 12V DC vaporizer. It features a glow plug on one side of the acid pan. The pan itself is at the end of a sufficiently long metal rod. Well insulated leads deliver electrical power to the glow plug. The leads have well labeled and color coded crocodile clips attached at their ends.
A rather long wooden handle is at one end of the vaporizer. It gives you more than adequate protection from contact with any hot parts of the vaporizer. The pan of this vaporizer is made of aluminium. That it comes with some safety equipment makes this a great vaporizer for beekeepers who do not have this personal protective equipment.
The Oxalic acid vaporizer consumables included in this kit by Blue Ridge Bee Company are oxalic acid crystals. The crystals are adequate for up to 50 treatments. Also included, though not a consumable is an oxalic acid scoop that measures out ¼ teaspoon easily.
The safety gear in the kit are nitrile gloves to protect your hands, safety goggles and a vapor mask. The nitrile gloves are black in color, the mast largely white in color and the goggles are mostly transparent all round. They give you excellent, necessary protection from contact with oxalic acid and its vapors.Check Price on eBay
3. Scott Bee Farm Heavy Duty Oxalic Acid Vaporizer v.15.12
The Scott Bee Farm Heavy Duty Oxalic Acid Vaporizer v.15.12 is an advanced version of version v.03.25. It comes with all the features of the original model including a glow plug, aluminum acid pan and a wooden handle.
The wires carrying electrical power to the glow plug run along the aluminium rod. In addition to the standard features of a vaporizer, this one comes with a digital timer and an acid scoop. It makes it easy for beekeepers to add acid to the pan of the vaporizer. The digital timer is a great bonus for beekeepers too. The performance, quality and fabrication of the vaporizer are all top-notch.
The Scott Bee Farm Heavy Duty Oxalic Acid Vaporizer v.15.12 shows a lot of good craftsmanship. The electrical parts are well built and parts are soldered together. It achieves a good vaporization temperature in a short time. The vaporizer works with any well charged battery including motorcycle and lawn mower batteries.
This vaporizer measures 18 x 2.5 x 0.5 inches in dimension and weighs 1.25 pounds. It does not have a thermostat on it, so do not exceed the 2 minutes required for it to heat up. Turning off the vaporizer requires you to disconnect one clip from your battery since it does not have an On/Off switch.Check Price on Amazon
2. Varomorus Durable Oxalic Acid 12V Vaporizer
The Varomorus 12V Oxalic Acid Vaporizer is an easy to use and fast heating electric vaporizer. It has a wooden handle for easy handling and to make sure you do not get burnt. It has an improved design from previous vaporizers. The vaporizer comes with sufficiently long cables extending to 55 inches (145 cm) with crocodile clips at the ends. It weighs 14.4 ounces and averages 25 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches in dimensions.
Quality craftsmanship is seen in the vaporizer. The metal used in its construction is durable aircraft quality 6061 aluminum. This powerful oxalic acid vaporizer is very suitable for Varroa mite control treatment. It is easily powered by a car battery and does not break down easily. The size of the heating element is 65 x 55 x 12 mm. The vaporizer has a heater working space of 40 x 30 x 10 mm.
The Varomorus 12V Oxalic Acid Vaporizer reaches a temperature of up to 2500 C which is more than adequate to effectively vaporize oxalic acid. It achieves this temperature within a heating time of around 2 – 3 minutes upon application of electric current. When using this vaporizer, make sure your battery is well charged to get the best results.
This vaporizer works very well in turning oxalic acid into vapor. It is an affordable rugged vaporizer for beekeepers who have one or few hives to treat. The head of the vaporizer may be a little wider than your average hive entrance. To get around this, you can remove the entrance reducer, or use other openings at the bottom of your beehive.Check Price on Amazon
1. VMVAPORIZER MINI Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
At only 3 pounds in weight, the VMVAPORIZER MINI Oxalic Acid Vaporizer is light and an easy to use beekeeping equipment. It runs on propane gas so there are no wires or hoses needed. It also does not need a generator or air compressor. The vaporizer does not require heating time or any allowance for it to cool. It enables beekeepers to steadily move from one hive to the next, treating each hive with an accurate dose of oxalic acid vapor.
This vaporizer is very useful and practical for beekeepers with many beehives to treat. You can easily go through 800 beehives in a day if you must. There is no waiting time between loads, so work is continuous.
The vaporizer comes with a propane tank complete with a propane torch. The torch attaches to the vaporizer with a clamp and ignites easily. Start the propane at full last. After 30-40 seconds, the vaporizer is hot enough and you can reduce the propane to about ¼ open where you hear it whistling. Add a few drops of oxalic acid to the pipe at the top of the vaporizer and wait to hear it boiling. Turn the lever at the rear of the vaporizer once you hear the oxalic acid boiling.
Turning the fan of the VMVAPORIZER sends out a generous amount of oxalic acid vapor from the front of the vaporizer. In a few seconds, you can deliver a full treatment of oxalic acid. This badass vaporizer is fast and effective. Make sure to keep the vaporizer horizontal. Do not tilt it backwards as the oxalic acid will go into the fan.Check Price on eBay
Instructions on Using an Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
Beekeepers using oxalic acid vaporizers need to follow a very specific instructions. If they do not, the treatment may not be effective. In some cases, inaccuracies may end up hurting the honeybee colony instead of helping it! Have a reliable timer with you when carrying out oxalic acid vapor treatments in beehives. To effectively treat your hive using an oxalic acid vaporizer:
- Fill the pan of the oxalic acid vaporizer with adequate oxalic acid dehydrate. The rate to use ¼ teaspoon of acid per brood box. One or two crystals may be used when the liquid oxalic acid solution is not available.
- Place the vaporizer through the hive entrance under the bees. Make sure the pan with oxalic acid is fully inside the hive. Some bit of the support rod on your vaporizer should be in the hive. Allow a distance of 2 inches from the pan to any wax or bees.
- Seal the hive entrance using some damp strips of cloth, foam or other suitable material.
- Attach the battery clips of the vaporizer to your battery for 2-3 minutes. If you are using an external heat source vaporizer, apply heat to the oxalic acid and vaporize it for 2-3 minutes.
- Disconnect the battery clips, or remove the heat source, and leave the vaporizer in the hive for 2 more minutes.
- Remove the vaporizer from the hive and cool it in water. Do not remove the material you used to seal the hive for another 10 minutes.
Oxalic acid is a highly injurious substance to humans. Avoid contact with the acid or swallowing it. Protective glasses, gloves and a mask are the minimum safety equipment you should be worn at all times when working with oxalic acid. Take caution not to touch the metallic parts of your vaporizer when it is in use, and wait a while before touching it after you’ve turned it off as it may be still hot for some time after use. Additionally, do not switch on the vaporizer without close supervision.
Oxalic Acid Vapor Treatment Schedule
Oxalic acid vaporization in beehives is an effective Varroa mite control method. Indeed, it kills mites that are crawling around the hive, on bees and in uncapped cells. Vaporization utilizes portable gear that you position inside the beehive. The acid vapor spreads out into the entire beehive. You must wear safety gear at all times when using oxalic acid.
Treating your beehives with oxalic acid vapor requires accurate timing. You should remove honey super boxes from the hive before starting treatment. The best time to use oxalic acid is therefore when the honey flow period is over. Usually, honey flow is between the months of April and July. Brood build up happens between September and November. It is best that brood build up happens with low mite population in the beehive.
If you notice significant mite numbers in beehives before winter, you are allowed to treat for Varroa mites. Honeybee colonies wintering with large populations of Varroa mites are likely to fail during or before spring. Treat the hive while the colony is still strong so it can easily absorb any losses of bees that may result from the use of oxalic acid and the mite infestation. Treatment with oxalic acid can be repeated 1-2 weeks after a first treatment – if the mites are still present. Do not carry out more than 2 treatments per year.
There are three main time periods when you can treat beehives with oxalic acid vapors. The first is in August if you must. The second, and best time, is in late November extending to early December. In this time, the hive is largely broodless and therefore your oxalic acid vapor treatment has maximum effect. A third and NOT highly recommended time to treat your hive with oxalic acid – or any other Varroa mite control method – is in February or March before honey flow season begins. Proper timing of your Varroa mite control greatly improves colony performance and survival.
Regular inspection of beehives is an important beekeeping practice. Beekeepers should not wait until Varroa mite infestations are obvious. Waiting too long before treatment application greatly compromises colony health. Furthermore, it is advisable to rotate your Varroa mite control methods. You can have oxalic acid vaporization as one method and another 1-2 methods. Rotation ensures that Varroa mites do not develop resistance to any of the control methods used.
Making your Own – Oxalic Acid Vaporizer DIY
The commercial oxalic acid vaporizers as discussed above are efficient and very effective in the job they are designed to do. In some cases however, hands-on beekeepers want something more. In their pursuit of the thrill of achievement, these beekeepers go for a DIY oxalic acid vaporizer. They build the vaporizer from scratch, using bits and parts either bought from DIY stores or cannibalized from other vaporizers. Additionally, if you have a vaporizer or two that are not working, you could take them apart and build one that is working. It saves you from incurring the costs of buying a new oxalic acid vaporizer.
There are several designs of DIY oxalic acid vaporizers. Each beekeeper building their own often comes up with their unique designs and modifications. The most popular general designs of homemade oxalic acid vaporizers are the external heat source vaporizer and the electric energy source vaporizer . The external heat source oxalic acid vaporizer is great for when you do not want to lug heavy batteries to your hives. The electric energy source one gives you better vaporization, control and does away with flames around your beehives.
1. Homemade External Heat Source Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
Building your own external heat source oxalic acid vaporizer is a very rewarding experience. It allows you to avoid the risk of igniting wax in the hive or damaging wood used in your beehive. The common materials you need are: a smoker torch for heat, hand drill scissors, ½ inch plumbing air chamber, brass tube, silicone tape, conical neoprene stopper and the oxalic acid you will be vaporizing.
In this DIY oxalic acid vaporizer, the plumbing air chamber acts as a vaporization chamber while the brass tube is the vapor delivery tube.
- Using your drill, make a hole in the neoprene stopper. The hole should be big enough to take your brass tube.
- Insert the brass tube through the stopper.
- Using the silicone tape, seal the joint between silicone stopper and brass tube to prevent any vapor leaks.
- Fit the stopper into the air chamber.
Using the external heat source DIY oxalic acid vaporizer
- Fill the air chamber of the vaporizer with your desired amount of oxalic acid.
- Seal the hive entrance. You may use a wet rag in combination with your entrance reducer to achieve this.
- Push the brass tube through the rag you used to seal the hive entrance.
- If you have a screened bottom board, seal it. The notch on your inner cover should also be sealed up.
- Using your smoker torch, heat the air chamber for 2.5 – 3 minutes.
- Focus on heating the tip and then moving slowly towards the stopper. Do not heat the brass tube.
- Remove the vaporizer assembly – taking care not to get burns – and allow it some time to cool.
Take precaution not to inhale any of the oxalic acid vapors. A respirator mask is highly recommended. You may use gloves and other personal protective equipment to prevent bee stings and burns. Remember to not use oxalic acid vaporizers with honey supers still present in the hive. Remove honey supers for some time until the oxalic acid completely clears out. This DIY oxalic acid vaporizer saves you from the cost of expensive commercial electrical vaporizers. It does not need you to have 12V batteries that can be heavy to move around.
2. Homemade Electric Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
The homemade electric acid vaporizer requires a source of electrical energy. Usually, the common 12V battery is all you need. The primary reason you want to build this oxalic acid vaporizer if to save on the cost of buying the commercial vaporizer. There are 2 popular designs of the DIY electric oxalic acid vaporizer: one uses a coffee cup heater while the other uses a glow-plug.
The basic construction of an electric oxalic acid vaporizer is a receptacle for the oxalic acid, placed at the end of a long rod, with electricity used to heat the receptacle. Using various combinations of heaters and receptacles, beekeepers have successfully made their own electric vaporizers at home. You do not need to be a pro, just be creative enough and have the right tools. The parts and bits used to make your homemade oxalic acid vaporizer can be bought from hardware stores, home centers and other sellers who stock DIY supplies and accessories.
- Coffee cup heater DIY oxalic acid vaporizer: This one uses the heater you plug into a motorcar’s cigarette lighter. A ¾ inch end cap of a copper pipe is great for holding your oxalic acid. Form the heater coil around the pipe cap. When you plug in the heater, it heats the pipe cap and vaporizes the oxalic acid in it.
- Aluminium Tray DIY oxalic acid vaporizer: Uses a diesel glow-plug and an aluminium tray to hold the oxalic acid. The tray is held at the end of a long rod. You can use a chisel handle for your handle. The glow plug is powered by a 12V battery. It heats up and in return heats your aluminium tray. The oxalic acid in the tray then gets hot and turns into vapor.
Coffee Cup Heater DIY Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
These two homemade electric DIY vaporizers should guide you adequately on how to make one of yours. You may use the same assembly materials and methods. If you cannot find the exact same materials, feel free to use replacements as long as they serve the same purpose. It is advisable to avoid using metals that act as heat-sinks in your oxalic acid vaporizer.
Materials for the Electric DIY Vaporizer
Depending on what type of vaporizer you want to put together, you will need some of the following materials: metal rod, chisel handle, glow plug, car battery, alligator clips, adapter cable, aluminium tray, car/travel coffee cup heater, pipe cap, soldering iron and solder, these materials are for making the two electric DIY vaporizers outlined above.
When building your own vaporizer, consider the electric DIY oxalic acid vaporizers. They remove the need to have fire around your apiary and do not give off smoke. Additionally, these electric vaporizers give clean oxalic acid vapor and are faster that external heat source vaporizers. They achieve all this while being more efficient.
A Final Word
Oxalic acid vaporizers can be an effective tool in the treatment of Varroa mites. The best oxalic acid vaporizers discussed above are top in their performance and durability. They deliver a good dose of oxalic acid vapor that helps rids your hive of Varroa mites. Be sure to follow proper usage instructions for best results.
Have you ever used anyone of these oxalic acid vaporizers before? Leave a comment below and let us know what your experience was like.