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Vaporizing Varroa Mites??? With a Oxalic Acid Vaporizer!!!

Well it was a nice spring morning, a little crispy but after last night’s thunder and lightning in Auckland – we were both happily surprised that the day was starting out so well.

…off we went…got in to the kiwimana mobile nick-named “The Beehive” …’cause it’s white and usually full of bees :) …then headed south ….to the Franklin Bee Club…

The Club had a good turn out.

First topic of today’s presentation was a demonstration using an oxalic acid vaporizer. This device vaporizes Oxalic Acid crystals into a vapour that removes the varroa mites from a hive.

Graham shows how to measure Acid

Mark, one of the clubs’ members, has made an ingenious device to help reduce the varroa mites in your beehive and Graham and Gregg did a presentation of Marks handy work.

Firstly you place 1 grams of Oxalic acid crystals in the vaporizer. The vaporizer is then connected to a 12 volt car battery for 2 minutes, which heats up the metal base – the crystals are heated which creates smoke which then drifts up in to the hive.

The process requires you to block up the ventilation in the hive, the fumes kill any varroa mites on the Bees. The process can be done any-time of the year, and even when you have honey supers on the hive.

The fumes won’t effect the mites inside the brood, so the process needs to be done every week for three weeks to cover a full, egg to Bee, growth cycle.

All in all, an interesting and promising method to control the mites. Apparently very safe and doesn’t kill any bees – we are waiting with interest on the monitoring results over the coming weeks (we’ll keep you posted on the results). It is recommend that you wear a mask as the fumes can be dangerous.

This tool can be a great addition to an integrated pest management strategy!

You can check out the Fat Bee Mans video about the oxalic acid vaporizer here where he clearly demonstrates the same process:-

The Fat Bee Man Video about the vaporizer

We are looking at selling these vaporisers in our beekeeping shop.

***Update Dec 2012***
We are now selling the vaporisers in our online store click below to see the product page:-

Also discussed today, was the news that the Club are looking into setting up a Honey extraction facility. This will allow the club to extract its own honey and also allow members to be able to extract their honey in a licensed food premises. NZ Food standards require this in order to be able to sell honey.

This sounds like a great step forward for the Club, perhaps something the Auckland Bee Club could look at doing?

It was great to meet new members and bee-beginners who came along to chat with club members, ask questions – then joined us with the hive inspections all hands on and so enthusiastically ! – great to see you really get involved and experience what Beekeeping is all about.

Great to meet all you guys! Hope to see you next month : )

Graham also showed us his new demonstration hive he built, which is a beautiful piece of carpentry. Built with a glass window so great for demonstration purposes – designed for showing off the busy Bees to school children.

Gary enjoys designing new kiwimana products which we sell through our on-line shop. He is passionate about saving the Bees and encouraging urban beekeeping. Gary loves to write about issues that affect the Bees and our environment. He is also into tramping/walking in the beautiful New Zealand bush.
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7 thoughts on “Vaporizing Varroa Mites??? With a Oxalic Acid Vaporizer!!!

  1. “The process can be done any-time of the year, and even when you have honey supers on the hive.”

    Are you sure this is the case? From the British Beekeeping Association’s advice leaflet on oxalic acid: “The oxalic acid should only be applied once per year because the bees themselves could be harmed by continuous application or by using too much Oxalic Acid”… “It does dissolve in honey and indiscriminate use could produce unacceptable levels in honey stores. So it should not be used on stores of honey that may later be extracted.” I’ve been taught that it should only be done once a year.

    1. Hi Emily,

      Thanks for the feedback, yes that was mentioned in the presentation we went too. But I must agree I don’t think I would use it with honey supers on board (just in case).

      It is better to do this with little or no brood, we have heard this is different than dribbling they acid of the bees. As the acid is not absorbed by the bees. So the article you mentioned may not apply here Emily.

      Have a read of David Cushmans article here,, which explains the process very well.


      1. I see, as you say perhaps the vaporising technique has a different effect as it is not dropping the acid directly onto the bees’ bodies.

        Someone who is thinking of getting into top-bar hive beekeeping was wondering how he would apply oxalic acid the other day, perhaps this method would be a good solution.

        1. Yep as long as you can close up the top bar hive. It would be a great method to treat them.

          We hope to get our hands on one of the devices in a couple of weeks and will report back on how it’s going.

          Been raining here, so not much beekeeping happening in New Zealand.

          See ya…Gary

      2. Hope the rain stops soon for you guys! We’re having an unusually sunny time in the UK.

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