It’s after Thanksgiving weekend and you went out to check the mite count in your hive. Unfortunately the count is still high and now you're not quite sure what to do. What treatments would be available? How effective would it be?
The only effective treatment now is the Oxalic Acid Vaporizer. This is a very effective treatment for late fall. The reason is that during this time you will have almost no capped brood, which is the ideal time to use oxalic acid. The treatment is only effective on the bees and is unable to penetrate through the cappings. It’s safe for the bees and is entirely natural. Oxalic acid is an organic compound that can be found in many vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and other plants. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for Varroa Mite and approved to be used in Canada for many years.
If you’re interested in this treatment, here's how to prepare. You will need: oxalic acid dihydrate; oxalic acid vaporizer to fumigate the hive with; car battery for hooking up the vaporizer. We always recommend that you wear protective gear regardless of your experience. The fumes from the vaporizer can be very harmful for you. Make sure you have a respirator, gloves, and goggles for the process.
Once you’re all set, here are the steps. Before anything make sure that you plug as many holes as possible, leaving only the entrance where the vaporizer is going to go through. You can plug the holes withe cloth or dead grass. You can also put a sticky board down to catch the varroa that will fall off from the bees. Take your vaporizer and place 2 scoops of oxalic acid onto the vaporizer. From there, place the vaporizer from the entrance directly under the cluster. Once the vaporizer is in, make sure to place a cloth overtop of the entrance to ensure most of the vapor stays inside the hive. Attach the cables to the battery and let it heat for no more than 2 minutes. You will know the treatment is working by the sound coming from the hive and you may be able to see some wisp escaping from the hive. Once the 2 minutes are up, remove the clamps from the battery and remove the vaporizer from the hive. Make sure to unplug all the holes. For more details you can view our video here.
You can do another treatment later in November if your mite count is still over 0.5%. Refer to our blog, How To Treat Your Hive In The Fall For Varroa Mite, on how to calculate your mite levels. Make sure you have a clear strategy in mind as we don’t want to overuse oxalic acid. Over time the Varroa Mite has developed resistance to various other treatments. If we overuse the oxalic treatment, there’s a high chance that it will develop immunity to this treatment as well.
We hope this helps to inform you of what available options you have for treating your varroa mite. With the mites growing in recent years, we as beekeepers need to stay vigilant to prevent its spread and keep the numbers under control.
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