A few weeks ago I bought a couple of aquarium thermometers. On the 9th December I put the sensor of one of them in a hive close to home, thrusting it an inch or so down between the top bars of the brood box where the cluster seemed densest.  The temperature display is on a small screen which I tucked away in a mini-nuc box on top of the hive to protect it from the weather.

I checked the temperature at 5pm on a cold, almost freezing, evening and it was 79.7 degrees Fahrenheit so there was probably some brood below.  That suggested that I shouldn’t apply oxalic then as many of the mites would be protected within cells.

After a cold spell, the temperature reduced and was down to 56.7 on the 20th December in the morning but later in the day was up to the 70s again suggesting that, although there may have been a brief break, they were brood rearing again and it was therefore time to apply oxalic.  I have a screen and tray under another hive nearby and it was averaging a drop of 2 mites a day.

I made up some oxalic solution using the recipe on Dave Cushman’s website: 1 part by weight of oxalic acid crystals; 10 parts by weight of water and 10 parts by weight of sugar, making 420 grammes in total.

Since then I have been gradually doing a round of my scattered hives, dosing them with about 5cc per seam.  The weather has been warmer than ideal so the bees weren’t clustered and I had to guess how many seams to inject.  I got a couple of stings from one of the hives, my first for months, but there was no reaction.  I always try to get a sting or two during the winter to keep my immunity up.

I checked the tray of the nearby hive on the 23rd December just before applying the oxalic and there had been no mites since I last looked 2 days earlier. Yesterday, Christmas Eve, roughly 24 hours after the application, there were 9 mites.  Today there were 46!  I swept them into my handkerchief to bring home and examine under a microscope.

I still have a few hives to treat so I must get on with it as soon as this wet and windy weather permits.


About chrissladesbeeblog

I have been keeping bees since 1978 and currently have about a dozen hives. I am a member of the BBKA where for many years I represented Dorset at the Annual Delegates' Meeting. I am the co-author (with Dave MacFawn of of S. Carolina) of "Getting the Best from Your Bees" and am working on a book of my own poems : "Bee People".
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8 Responses to IT’S OXALIC TIME

  1. Today, 27th December, 2 days after I last counted, there were about 97 additional mites on the board. I can’t be too exact as they were blowing in the wind but the number’s not far out. I was going to do another hive this afternoon but decided not to as the oxalic solution had been in my car overnight and so wasn’t much above freezing. Maybe tomorrow.

  2. Two more days and there were another 121 mites on the tray!

  3. Two more days and there’s an additional 181 mites, bringing the total so far up to 454!

  4. I hadn’t thought of putting the figures on a graph. There were another 48 today, bringing the total up to 502 so far. What I have in mind is to continue to count every couple of days until the daily drop is similar to what it was before treatment and then do a second treatment using my home-made vapouriser, just to see what happens.

  5. Another 42 on the 4th January bringing the total now to 542.

  6. On 7th January the total was 8 after 3 days; 2 more on 8th January, a drop similar to what it was before I dosed them so I dosed them again using my home made vapouriser and the next day the count had doubled to 4. Back to 2 again the next day, the 10th January and then 3 on 13th January, making 1 a day.

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