Commercial or hobby beekeepers have one common threat to contend with – mites! Varroa or Tracheal mites are external parasites that affect bees in different hives.
They attack bees causing diseases and death in the colony. For that reason, the control of mites takes the center stage in beekeeping.
In treating mites, application of Oxalic acid happens to be the most popular treatment among beekeepers. Oxalic acid is a mild and natural chemical found in vegetables, fruits, seeds and so on.
Oxalic acids help in treating varroa mites in beehives and this can be done using any of the different methods below:
However, the most popular of the three happens to be vaporization, hence this post relates to the apparatus used in vaporization.
Table of Contents:
A vaporizer activates the properties of oxalic acid by heating it to sublimate it. Vaporizers run on electricity – DC and AC power types. Different vaporizers come backed with unique technologies.
For instance, some come with glow plug technology – which happens to be the most popular. The glow plug vaporizers are easy to use and easy to maintain.
On the other hand, some vaporizers come with embedded heating coils and other heating methods in their acid pans.
This coil-embedded vaporizer can be difficult to maintain when broken. Furthermore, if you are a DIY homesteader, then you can create your vaporizer. It requires little hardware supplies to achieve.
Top 5 Oxalic Acid Vaporizers for Sale:
Controlling pest and other harmful things in your beehive is a full-time job. This determines if your hive or bees make it or not, hence its importance. Here we present to you five of the best Oxalic Acid vaporizers on the market.
Do read on to know more…
Varomorus Durable OXALIC Acid 12V Vaporizer VARROA MITE Treatment
The Varomorus electric vaporizer comes off the shelve as the perfect tool for bee colonies treatment. It works exceptionally well in treating with acid sorrel or formic acid. Made with tough aircraft 6061 aluminium, this top vaporizer will work for you for a long time. Above that, it comes with improved 55 inches long cords.
This easy to use vaporizer heats up faster and happen to be the most effective varroa mite treatment. This US-made product can be shipped at a great speed from Florida.
Mite Oxalic Acid Vaporizer v.03.25 – by Scott Bee Farm
From Scott Bee Farm comes this Oxalic Acid Vaporizer comes handy in the vaporization of oxalic acids. It can be used in beehives in killing Varroa and Trachea mites. It’s easy, simple and effective method of controlling mites in beehives.
Every Scot Bee Farm product has the following passed excellently the following tests:
This product comes with CNC machined Oxalic acid pan, Glow plug, Soldered battery clips, 3.66-meter electric wire (protected) and easy to use wooden handle.
You have the choice of picking or ordering it as a Vaporizer or Vaporizer with carrying case or even Vaporizer in Safety KIT with carrying case.
ProVap110 Oxalic Acid Vaporizer by OxaVap – The Leader in OA Vaporizers
If you need a fast sideliner/commercial vaporizer for a good price, do not look away from the ProVap 110. The truth remains that the ProVap 110 lives up to expectation in terms of speed.
Working at the rate of 20 seconds per hive, you breeze through a collection of hives in no time. Once you plug it into your regular inverter, generator or even household main current it starts right up.
It uses 110 volts and consumes only 2.2 watts of electricity. Why not reach out for this long-awaited special vaporizer.
Heavy Duty Oxalic Acid Vaporizer v.15.12 – by Scott Bee Farm
The Heavy-Duty Oxalic Vaporizer v.15.12 originates from Scott Bee Farm. The company, Scott Bee Farm are makers of high quality, reliable, durable, usable, functional and expandable vaporizers.
This product ships within 2 working days and they are vastly available on the market. The v.15.12 works easy, simple and effective in killing both Varroa and Tracheal mites.
This vaporizer comes with a CNC machined Oxalic acid pan, stabilization tray, Glow plug, soldered battery clips, protected 3.66-meter protected electric wire, Aluminum tubing.
The Aluminum tubing shields the wiring which the manufacturers carefully integrate into a wooden easy-to-use handle.
It also comes with one digital timer and a measuring scoop for acid.
Blythewood Bee Company Varrox Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
The brainchild of Blythewood Bee Company, Varrox Oxalic Acid Vaporize stands tall as an outstanding product at a budget-friendly price.
It features a stainless-steel pan, high efficacy rate, water-resistant for short cooling period and side wings. Why the side wings you may ask.
Well, the side wings serve as a guide that keeps the vaporizer from overturning while in the hive.
This vaporizer operates on any 12-volt battery and will finish a hive in just 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
What Features to look for when buying an acid vaporizer
As mentioned earlier different vaporizers exist on the market. However, sifting through the various kinds of vaporizers becomes a challenge when you do not know what to look for.
This section highlights the important features in the vaporizer that influences buyer’s decision.
A good vaporizer should be operational for longer but this can only be possible if it’s made of durable materials.
Some vaporizers come in durable aircraft aluminium which happens to be tough enough to stand physical pressure. Go for a good vaporizer with durable materials.
The heating element in the vaporizer supplies the heat that helps in changing the Oxalic Acid crystals to gas. The size of the heating element determines how many hives you can work on at a time. For heavy-duty work or commercial beekeepers getting a vaporizer with large heating, element dimension is ideal.
The length of the cord makes it easy for the vaporizer to reach hives far away from the power source. The longer the cord the better.
Length of the vaporizer:
The longer the vaporizer the easier it reaches inside the hive without opening it.
The working temperature of a vaporizer makes it works faster. Vaporizers with a longer temperature range should be chosen since all the crystals must be vaporized.
Vaporizers should work fast to be able to cover more hive at a time. The faster the heating time the better the vaporizer which saves the user more time.
The vaporizer of your choice should work for different beekeepers. The vaporizer should have expandability feature i.e. being able to connect more vaporizers to treat many hives at a time.
How to Use an Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
The vaporizer heats Oxalic acid to about 100 degrees Centigrade. At that temperature, it burns off the water contents and leaves behind water-free or anhydrous crystals.
However, as the temperature increases to around 157 degrees Centigrade the crystals sublime transforming to its gaseous state. At the gaseous state, the Oxalic Acid becomes highly effective in treating mites.
After application, the acid gets released into the beehive and spreads all over the inside of the hive. After cooling, the acid remains attached to the inside of hive surfaces.
The mites come in contact with the hive surfaces as they navigate the hive. Also, the mites on the bees’ backs rub against the acid-coated hive surfaces as bees crisscross the hive.
The movement and rubbing against the hive surfaces cause the mites to contact the oxalic acid. The acid, in turn, kills the mites on contact. The mites die more within the first two days of application. Using the Oxalic Acid Vaporizer happen is a simple process and a much quicker way of fumigating hives.
Also, this method keeps the bees from being disturbed since the treatment takes place without opening the hive.
Here are some important points to note before you start vaporizing:
- You can only apply the acid to outdoor colonies with a lower hive entrance.
- Since the vaporization method draws you closer to the bees, then you need to be cautious.
- The bees might become aggressive during the process, so approach the hive from the front.
- Finally, do not forget to put on all your protective gears – suit with veil, gloves, sting-proof footwear, respirator etc.
Simple Steps: How to Use an Oxalic Acid Vaporizer
Follow these simple steps when using a vaporizer to get the best result:
Seal the hive up
To avoid the escape of the Oxalic Acid Vapor, take the first step of sealing all cracks and all upper hive entrances. You use masking tape or any other good tape to seal up the hive.
Smoke Up the Bees
Yes, smoke the bees up from the bottom board to keep them at bay.
Prepare the vaporizer
Add exactly 1 gram of Oxalic Acid Dihydrate powder into the vaporizer pan. Depending on the manufacturer of the vaporizer, follow the instruction in the manual to operate it properly.
Insert the vaporizer
Slot in the vaporizer rod to deliver the acid through the bottom entrance.
Light up the vaporizer
Put on the vaporizer so that it heats up all the Oxalic Acid. Allow it to heat up until the entire crystals become vapor (sublime). Keep the vaporizer rod in the passage to deliver the acid into the hive. Keep it running until you are sure the entire hive has been vaporized.
What Time of Day to Treat with An Oxalic Acid Vaporizer?
After considering how to use the Oxalic Acid vaporizer, the next step should be to answer the question When? We can simply answer the question by saying that you have to pick a time that activities and movement of the bees are low. Try not to disturb or inconvenient the bees while you are at it.
Be timely with your treatment, the best time remains at evenings. Bees are less active during evenings, hence that makes it the most suitable time. Also, during this period, activities at the entrance remain at the lowest ebb because all the bees will be in the hives then.
Where to Buy an Oxalic Acid for Bees
Oxalic Acid Dihydrate can be bought in any paint department or store as “wood bleach.” Buying the acid today has become very easy owning to the number of options available. We have put together some options of getting an oxalic acid below:
You can make purchase online if you know where to look or simple Google your request. Just put in the particular one you are looking and hit search, you will have different options available.
Do not be surprised to see ‘Amazon’ – it’s the biggest online market place to buy different products. After concluding the purchase online, the product will be delivered to your doorstep.
Manufacturers’ or Beekeepers’ Club Sites:
You can also checkout any manufacturer’s websites and beekeeper’s club website for this information. On these sites, you will discover various agents or retailers near you from whom you can make you purchase.
Hardware or chemical supply stores:
Go to any of these stores and request for ‘Wood Blech.’ With a call or two, you’ll be hooked.
Does Oxalic Acids Affect Honey?
Oxalic acid is a natural acid can be found in plants, in hives and even in honey in their minutest quantity. Oxalic Acid is not soluble in lipids; hence the acid cannot easily pass from the honeycomb into the honey.
The honeycomb wax keeps the honey safe from contamination with the acid. In addition, the acid dissolves quickly from the hive to tolerable concentration.
Furthermore, remove honey super boxes for 14 days after treatment with oxalic acid to keep it safe. Note that if you apply the treatment while your supers are in the boxes, then you cannot harvest the honey until after 14 days. Why you may ask, well, this keeps the oxalic acid level dissipates from the hive to normal after two weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I Heard The Use Of Oxalic Acid Is Legal In The US, How True Is This?
A: Oxalic Acid as of today stands approved to be used to treat honey bees in the US. The Environmental Protection Agency has approved it.
Q: Is It Advisable To Treat Mites Using Oxalic Acid During Honey Flow?
A: Well, as at today, approval has not been given to the treatment of mites during honey flow. Before treating, remove the honey supers and treat the hive then leave it for at least two weeks for the acid to wear off.
Q: On A Scale Of 1 To 10, How Would You Rate The Effectiveness Of Oxalic Acid In Treating Mites?
A: Well, the effectiveness of the acid has put by experts to around 9.5 or out of 10.
Q: How Many Times Should My Hive Be Treated To Get Rid Of Mites?
A: Treating your hive should happen only once during fall/winter. Do not overexpose your bees to the acid because it can lead to death and other issues. Ensure you check your hive before treating it and if the hive is weak do not treat.
Now, if you are not sure of your hive’s strength do contact a local beekeeper or bee inspector.
Q: I Just Bought Oxalic Acid To Use On My Hive, The Question Is, How Do I Store It To Keep It From Expiring?
A: Keep your dried, unmixed Oxalic Acid in a cool dry place, this will keep it fresh for longer. However, if in mixed solution, keep the Oxalic Acid at room temperature for at least a week, but if you want it to last longer say a few months, keep it in a refrigerator.
Q: How Do I Know When My Stored Oxalic Acid Solution Is Going Bad?
A: It’s quite easy to know when your solution is going bad. If the solution begins to turn tan/brown, then you should discard it immediately.
Also, if it starts giving an off offensive odor, then it has become useless. Bad Oxalic Acid can be harmful to bees, so avoid using them in your hive.
Dear beekeeper newbie, we hope you have learnt enough to get you started with your bee colony. As you have read, do not give anything to chance; attack the mites before they attack your bees.
Be proactive, create a schedule that will help you with the vaporizing your hive from time to time. However, do recall that over-application of Oxalic acid can cause the mite to develop immunity for the acid.
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