The South Carolina Master Beekeeping program began in 1996 and is designed to provide interested students with the basic knowledge and skills needed to become successful beekeepers and to be able to share their enthusiasm and knowledge with the public. A successful beekeeper is one who can keep Read More ...
Article by Lawrence Welle
Pee Dee Beekeepers
South Carolina Beekeepers now have a new weapon in their arsenal in their war against Varroa mites! Oxalic Acid was approved by the EPA for use in beehives as a mitecide on March 10, 2015 and South Carolina quickly followed by approving its use May 26, 2015. What does that mean? It means SC beekeepers can now use what much of the rest of world was successfully using for greater than 20 years to combat mites!
What is Oxalic Acid and why is it good to have in our arsenal against mites? In short Oxalic Acid (OA) is a naturally occurring organic compound that is found in many leafy vegetables such as collards, spinach and rhubarb. It is what gives these items their bitter taste. It just also happens to devastate mites!
It is found that vaporizing a swarm, package, broodless colony or split with OA that OA will kill greater than 96% of phoretic mites (those are the mites that are on the bees, not in the brood). That’s an awesome number! Not only does it kill that super high percentage of mites, the vapor does NO harm to brood, bees or the queen and it does NOT contaminate the comb! The temperature range that one needs to apply OA in a vaporized form is just 37f; there is no upper limit as with formic acid. This is just about perfect for the SC beekeeper.
Now is the time to think about treating. Soon (if not already) the mites will begin to outbreed the bees. Without some form of treatment, you could easily lose your hive to mites. During late August, we recommend a 3 week regimen of OAV (Oxalic Acid Vaporization) treatments, once every five days as OAV will not kill mites in the brood. Within that treatment period, you will vaporize most of the phoretic mites and those that emerge with the bees and enter their phoretic period. We also recommend a one-time OAV treatment between Thanksgiving and Christmas during the broodless period (where all the mites are phoretic) so that your hives go into winter basically mite free. The two biggest killers of bees during winter are mites (and the diseases/viruses they bring with them) and starvation. Now we can control BOTH of these!
OvaVap.com specializes in the vaporization of OA. Vaporizers are the easiest method for applying OA by hobbyist and sideliners because there is no need to open the hive to treat! We presently carry two vaporizers. One is the Varrox. It is the one mentioned on Randy Oliver’s website as “one of the highest ranked.” It is truly the one “you’ll pass down to your son.” It is manufactured in Switzerland, has a world-wide patent and we import it here in the US. If you have 10 or more hives or just want the very best, the Varrox is for you. Our next vaporizer is the Varrocleaner. It is a high quality vaporizer for the hobbyist that has several hives. It is manufactured in Serbia.
Both units do an outstanding job of vaporizing mites. In production and testing is another vaporizer that is glow plug heated. It too is well suited for both hobbyists and sideliners alike. We hope to have it available for viewing and purchase at the conference at the OxaVap booth. Visit out booth at the conference to learn more about this great new form of mite treatment.
The only good mite is a Vaporized One!
Lawrence (Larry) Welle
1085 Virginia Pine Court
Manning, SC 29102
Presently: Owner of OxaVap LLC
US Distributor of the Varrox and Varrocleaner Oxalic Acid Vaporizers