HomeBeekeepingOxalic acid greatest practices: safely deal with for varroa

Oxalic acid greatest practices: safely deal with for varroa

We should always not ignore oxalic acid greatest practices, irrespective of how secure we really feel. Every time I learn an article on oxalic acid therapy, the writer insists on itemizing meals that comprise oxalic acid. Apparently, this could put us relaxed. In spite of everything, if rhubarb, pecans, spinach, candy potatoes, swiss chard, and honey comprise oxalic acid, how poisonous can or not it’s?

Really, it may be loads poisonous. The Environmental Safety Company (EPA) doesn’t affix a cranium and crossbones to the Oxalic Acid Dihydrate web page as a result of they assume it’s cute. No, they put it there to present you a heads-up.

The dose makes the poison

The previous saying, “the dose makes the poison” is completely apt on this case. It merely means the dimensions of the dose determines whether or not it’s toxic to an organism. For instance, the opioid painkiller Fentanyl is utilized in drugs to regulate extreme ache. However on the road stage, it will possibly simply be lethal.

The powder you utilize to regulate varroa mites is 97.0 % oxalic acid dihydrate. Your common rhubarb leaf is 0.5 % oxalic acid. In different phrases, the powder is roughly 194 instances as potent. It’s form of silly to faux your OA powder is sort of a meals additive.

Simply because a compound exists in meals, doesn’t imply it’s secure at excessive ranges. The candy almonds you eat by the handful comprise cyanide, however that doesn’t imply cyanide must be handled like a condiment.

The federal government is right here to assist

I’m not making an attempt to scare you, neither is the EPA. The warnings, the instructions, and the security necessities are revealed to remind you of potential risks to your self, your bees, and harmless bystanders like youngsters and pets. As beekeepers, we’re fortunate to have oxalic acid in our arsenal in opposition to varroa mites, however we should always use it with care.

We taxpayers pay for companies just like the EPA and the FDA to observe chemical compounds that have an effect on the environment and the well being of people and animals. You’ve paid for his or her recommendation so you might as effectively heed their warnings.

You possibly can wade by way of weblog posts and YouTubes till you’re dizzy, however all the things it’s good to find out about oxalic acid is in a single concise doc, referred to as a label. That doc is on-line and simply out there at any time of the day or night time. If you happen to really feel confused or unsure, simply look it up. With regards to chemical compounds and medicines within the states, “the label is the legislation.”

And but, no one reads the label

I do know that not many individuals learn the label, particularly bloggers. I learn two weblog posts revealed in August 2022 that say particularly that the EPA doesn’t enable honey supers to be in place whereas utilizing oxalic acid therapies.

But, if you happen to learn the label proper now, it says, “Oxalic acid can be utilized when honey supers are on the hive.” What does that imply? It means bloggers should not doing their homework, no less than since April 30, 2021, the date of the supplemental label.

Basic instructions for treating varroa mites

Learn the overall instructions fastidiously earlier than beginning to use oxalic acid. I’ll spotlight some directions right here, however the EPA lists extra.

Oxalic acid have to be used within the hive solely, however not in enclosed overwintering amenities.
Use solely when mite therapy thresholds are met. The thresholds will differ by state.
Use when little or no brood is current. OA won’t kill mites beneath wax cappings, however might injury bee brood.
On the time of utility, the person have to be in possession of each the Oxalic Acid Dihydrate container label and the EPA supplemental label.

Strategies of making use of oxalic acid

The EPA at present acknowledges two strategies for making use of oxalic acid. The primary is the Answer Methodology and the second is the Vaporizer Methodology. The Answer Methodology is additional damaged down into the trickle (or dribble) technique and the spray technique.

Please observe that the so-called store towel technique isn’t authorized at the moment, and asking me in an electronic mail received’t change that. Sorry, nevertheless it’s less than me. For now, let’s have a look at the authorized strategies individually. Every has its makes use of.

Oxalic acid in answer

Based on the label, oxalic acid can solely be utilized as an answer when it’s combined with sugar water. Moreover, the label recommends that the syrup be heat to guarantee the powder dissolves utterly.

Anybody utilizing the Answer Methodology should put on:

A protracted-sleeved shirt and lengthy pants
Chemical-resistant gloves (see the label for particulars)
Goggles or different protecting eyewear
A NIOSH-approved particulate-filtering facepiece respirator with any N, R, or P filter (the letters discuss with the quantity of oil resistance, which doesn’t apply right here)

The trickle technique (aka dribble technique)

Dissolve 35 grams of OA dihydrate in 1 liter of 1:1 sugar water
Smoke the bees down into the brood field
Trickle 5 ml of the answer into every seam of bees (a seam is the area between two adjoining frames)
Use a most of fifty ml of answer per colony, whatever the quantity or dimension of brood chambers (or 5 ml in every of 10 seams)

The spray technique for packaged bees

Spray a broodless package deal of bees with 1:1 sugar answer two hours earlier than therapy (to fill honey stomachs)
Dissolve 35 grams of OA dihydrate in 1 liter of 1:1 sugar water
Spray 3 ml of OA answer for each 1000 bees (a two-pound package deal comprises about 7000 bees)
Retailer sprayed package deal in a cool, darkish room for 72 hours earlier than putting in the package deal right into a hive

Vaporizer utility of oxalic acid

Anybody utilizing the Vaporizer Methodology should put on:

A protracted-sleeved shirt and lengthy pants
Chemical-resistant gloves (see the label for particulars)
A NIOSH-approved elastomeric half-mask respirator with acid gasoline cartridges and mixture N, R, or P filters

As soon as your security gear and vaporizer are prepared, simply observe the directions on the EPA label:

Use solely on colonies which have a restricted decrease hive entrance
Seal all higher entrances and cracks with tape (with the intention to preserve the vapor from seeping out)
Smoke the bees utilizing the decrease hive entrance (so bees go up into the hive)
Use 1.0 grams of oxalic acid dihydrate energy for every brood field
Add the measured powder into your vaporizer and observe the producer’s instructions (all vaporizers are barely completely different, however all of them include instructions)

Software isn’t tough as soon as your gear is prepared

Many of the horror tales I’ve heard about utilizing oxalic acid have been the results of not following instructions. Tales of choking on fumes, splashing scorching acid, or burning down hives should not onerous to seek out, and a few are fairly scary. You possibly can keep away from all that by simply studying the label and following these easy directions.

So far as gear goes, everybody has a favourite vaporizer they like to make use of. A few of the well-liked ones are pretty cheap on Amazon.

Making use of oxalic when a number of brood is current takes some planning. Since OA doesn’t kill mites beneath wax cappings, repeated purposes are wanted to kill the mites as the brand new bees emerge. For extra data, see “Utilizing oxalic acid vaporization when brood is current.”

Further Restrictions

Based on the EPA label, “This product have to be used strictly in accordance with this label’s precautionary statements and use instructions, in addition to with all relevant State and Federal legal guidelines and laws.” [emphasis added]


Varroa mite resistance administration

The EPA label factors out that resistance can come up at any time to any therapy. Due to that, oxalic acid greatest practices embrace a suggestion associated to resistance administration.

The EPA recommends rotating using mite therapies fairly than utilizing the identical one time after time. Particularly, the label reads, “When attainable, rotate using miticides to scale back choice stress as in comparison with repeatedly utilizing the identical product, mode of motion, or chemical class. If a number of purposes are required, use a special mode of motion every time earlier than returning to a beforehand used one.”

Plenty of of us insist that mites can’t presumably grow to be immune to oxalic acid. Properly, perhaps. However simply because it hasn’t occurred but, doesn’t imply it received’t. I put odds on the mites.

Rusty Burlew
Honey Bee Suite

Notice: the publish comprises an Affiliate Hyperlink.

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