Oxalic acid: more varroa management

By | February 4, 2013

This weekend, I managed to get more organised – it’s my responsibility to the colony. While there is a very positive low varroa count, and the population of bees look healthy, I felt a need to not do half measures in my management.

I got a treatment of oxalic acid delivered, and thankfully there was another warmish, clear dry day this weekend, so I could apply the treatment.

Oxalic acid is a varroa control treatment used over winter, while there is no brood. While the bees are clustered tightly together, its an opportune time to dribble an oxalic acid and sugar / water mixture over the seams of bees. You only dribble around 50 ml over the bees, but it’s strong stuff.

Oxalic acid kills varroa mites that are living on the backs of bees, but not mites within brood – brood living mites are killed by the autumnal thymol treatment, and constitute 85% of the mite infestation. Oxalic acid will kill open brood, so you have to be careful when you apply it. At this time of year, there shouldn’t be any brood, as the queen wont be laying during the colder months. Its an effective ¬†way to knock out as many remaining mites in the colony, so that when spring arrives, the healthy colony can thrive, grow in numbers and start collecting nectar.

You’ve got to be quick when you open the hive over winter. Just like any other time you open the hive, you have to know why you are opening the hive, what your objectives are, and have everything ready to go. This is particularly important over winter, to ensure the hive is kept warm, and as undisturbed as possible.

I learnt from the previous week, and got in and out of the hive to apply the treatment within about 3 minutes – with no scouts coming out to buzz in my ear.
Mission accomplished.

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