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Varroa mites are perhaps the most common pest devastating honey bee colonies within the US and beyond. The mite is a close relative to ticks common in livestock. This can explain why it is treated using similar products. Oxalic acid is particularly one of the products that have been tested and proven to work when it comes to the treatment of varroosis. It is an acaricide that is usually applied through three different techniques of treatment: spraying, trickling, and evaporation. It is generally effective in combating the varroa mites and is also tolerable to the honey bees. Oxalic Acid Pure Powder is a special formulation meant for the treatment of varroa mites. It helps in the elimination of other parasites found in the inter-frame space as well.
About the Oxalic Acid Pure Powder
This product is delivered in a 100g package containing pure oxalic acid powder. The product has been repackaged into 5 packages of 20 grams each. It is formulated to help clean and disinfect the wooden and plastic hives. Its main ingredient is oxalic acid which is highly effective in fighting the varroa mites.
Oxalic acid (OA) is so popular among beekeepers when it comes to the control of varroa mites. The efficacy level of the ingredient is set at more than 90 percent. It is applied as a solution through trickling or spraying over the bees. It also takes crystal forms that can be applied through evaporation. Oxalic acid is highly preferred since it guarantees high levels of efficacy, and at the same time has minimal risk to the honey bees and honey consumers.
Oxalic acid is sourced from natural plants and minerals that include sorrels, beetroots, parsley, and many others. It has a long history and has been in use in industrial settings. It is mainly used as a cleaning and bleaching agent. Over the recent past, scientists were able to discover its efficacy in countering parasitic mites, and hence the reason it became widely used by beekeepers.
- Oxalic acid is effective in eliminating varroa mites.
- The solution also helps disinfect the beehive. It eliminates parasites, pathogens, and mold.
- It helps ensure a healthy bee colony as you prepare for winter. This will increase the survival rate of the bee colony all through winter.
- It helps keep the mite levels at its minimum which is essential for the encrusted brood. This will ensure minimal harm to the emerging cluster of young bees.
- Applying oxalic acid is easy with the right equipment . It can be applied through evaporation, trickling, or spraying. This is one of the easiest treatment options to use.
- Oxalic acid is derived from naturally occurring products such as vegetables, grains, nuts, and many others. It is thus safe to use for both bees and honey consumers.
Proper timing is recommended when it comes to varroa mite treatment using oxalic acid. Fall and summer treatments ensure the winter bees stay healthy and live longer. This will guarantee greater survival rates post winter.
Treatment is needed during summer months in order to keep the mites are its minimal. This will help keep the nurse bees healthy and ensure a healthy cluster of bees, free from the disease are raised for winter. During fall the young winter bees are kept healthy through mite prevention measures. This makes the bees stronger and less susceptible to winter problems. As for the still brood that is yet to emerge, treatment will help keep the mites at minimum, so as to minimize the harm inflicted on these young bees when they emerge.
Varroa mites are the most vulnerable during the brood pause period, a time when all mites are in their phoretic stage. This mainly occurs during early winter and the use of a strong treatment such as oxalic acid can help wipe out the mites during this time. A single treatment has the potential of bringing the mite numbers to zero during this time.
The colder months also coincides with brood pause, meaning, this is the time when the bees move the least. This presents a huge opportunity to the beekeeper; it will not be possible to introduce mites from other colonies. This makes it so much easier to deal with the mites already existing within the bee colony.
The oxalic acid solution needs to be prepared before application. 1 liter of warm water is mixed with 20g of the oxalic acid powder. Apply about 5 to 10ml of the solution to each of the inter-frame space. This should be applied in a frequency of 3 times within intervals of a week during spring and fall. Application should begin when temperature levels are higher than 15 degrees Celsius. Ensure also to remove honey supers prior to treatment.
You can also make a solution comprising 0.5 cups of water, 7g of oxalic acid, and 100g sugar. You can then apply the resulting solution at the rate of 5ml for entire hive.
The third recipe involves mixing pre-cooked sugar syrup with a 20% concentration with 3.7% concentration of oxalic acid. The same proportion of 5ml shall be sufficient for entire hive.
Oxalic acid should never be used with supers on the beehive. This is to ensure the beehive products such as honey, royal jelly, pollen, and others are safe and free from contamination. It would be wise to give at least a 2 weeks break after treatment before the suppers are added. Remember also to use require amounts. Too much of oxalic acid can harm the honey bees.
You should also remember to treat all beehives at the same time. This will ensure the mites do not re-infest the beehives. It will also guarantee better results if you use oxalic acid on broodless colonies.
Caution with Oxalic Acid
You need protective clothing while undertaking oxalic acid treatment of varroosis. Mask, socks, shoes, glasses, long sleeves, and heavy pants are required. You should wear heavy suits and avoid ventilated suits during oxalic acid treatment. The gloves should be waterproof and the gas mask thick enough to keep off the toxic oxalic acid fumes. You might even use respirators with filters while handling oxalic acid. All safety equipment should be removed and cleaned thoroughly after treatment is completed. The beekeeper should also take a bath immediately. This will help ensure you do not carry along residues of the product.
The product should be prevented from coming into contact with the eyes or skin. Oxalic acid will cause blisters and burns when it comes into contact with eyes or skin. If ingested, it will cause injury to the throat, intestines, mouth, and stomach. It also causes kidney stones when ingested which can ultimately lead to kidney failure. The beekeeper should also avoid breathing in the fumes generated by oxalic acid during application.
Any spilled oxalic acid should be cleaned up immediately. It should also be used in open spaces. Enclosed spaces should be avoided while using oxalic acid.
Pros and Cons
- Oxalic acid is safe to use for bees and honey consumers.
- Easy to use.
- Economical choice for beekeepers.
- It is effective in treatment of parasitic mites.
- Ideal for small and huge beekeeping operations.
- Also helps eliminate mold, pathogens and other parasites in the honey bee colony.
- Restores wooden and poly beehives to their natural color.
- Single treatment is all that is required.
- It does not target the mites in encrusted brood cells.
The oxalic acid solution can remain useful for some time if stored properly. Since this product is available in powder form, it is wise to prepare just enough solution for application. However, if you have some left after treatment. This should be stored in the fridge or anywhere with cold conditions.
Ensure storage containers are well labeled to avoid ingestion by humans. This substance can be extremely toxic to humans. Ensure it is also stored away from children whether it is in solution or powder form. Preferred temperature levels for storage of oxalic acid solutions is 4 degrees Celsius. These should not be kept in storage for too long but used up soonest possible. Solutions that are stored for too long tend to lose its color and deteriorate in quality.
A Final Word
Oxalic acid treatment is highly effective in varroosis treatment. It discriminately targets the mites and will never harm the honey bees. Oxalic acid does not seep into honey easily, since the wax capping keep the honey safe. It is also important to note that there may be some traces of oxalic acid in honey that occur naturally. This should not be assumed to be residues from oxalic acid treatment. It is however safe to ensure all honey supers boxes are removed after treatment for a period of 14 days. If you leave the beehive super boxes inside the hive during the treatment, then it is recommended that honey is not harvested for at least 14 days from the day of treatment.Check Price