Varroa mites can cause a great deal of destruction to a beehive. They act as parasites that latch on to different bees, especially the brood. If left alone, the entire colony can die out. Oxalic acid is one of the ways that beekeepers can take care of those mites without harming the bees. Small amounts of this acid are found in many human foods such as spinach, peanuts, and chocolate, but to varroa mites, it is deadly. If you're a beekeeper who is dealing with this problem, just keep these tips in your mind so you can handle it safely and without trouble.
It's important that you take the right precautions so that you can avoid chemical burns and breathing in the acid as you work with it. You might want to put on the same gear you don whenever you deal with your bees, but in particular be certain to have gloves that do not leave any skin exposed.
Once you're wearing gloves and the proper attire, ensure that you have a respirator mask before you start vaporizing. Inhaling oxalic acid can cause some irritation to the lungs, so put on a mask and watch what way the wind is blowing; stand in the opposite direction so that the vapor isn't going your way.
Vaporize in the Autumn
While you can vaporize the area at any time, doing it at the right time can help minimize damage to the bees and maximize the effectiveness of the oxalic acid vapor. It's important to consider the life cycle of the bee when thinking of a good time to use the vaporizer. For instance, here are lower brood numbers in the late autumn, so that could be a fine time to do the process, as mite numbers may also be down. With less mites to take care of, you can have a better chance of eliminating the entire population at once.
Avoid Touching Surfaces with Vaporizer Wand
Because the vaporizer wand must heat up to create a vapor, it can become rather hot. This is generally not a problem as long as you take care not to touch any flammable surfaces as you move the wand around and vaporize, particularly the beeswax. Move the wand slowly and don't leave the vaporizer sitting too long in any one place.
Keep your mind on these pointers so you can vaporize the mites with oxalic acid and save your bee colony. Check out sites like varroacannon.com and talk to other beekeepers in the area for more ideas that will help the process go well.