making oxalic strips

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Waikouaiti
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A lot of beekeepers are not around any more, having gone much the same way as yourself James and for the same reasons. (No money any more). And some that are around prefer Facebook. I know that Glynn is still in business, I bought some queens from him recently I think he is also an AP2.
Otto has staples sussed so pretty sure he will still be up and running, and KingBee is making money by selling staples if not from his bees so I guess still going strong. As to the others you mention I don't know.

Me, I would no longer be in it if I did not also have other income streams. Bees take the most of my time while making the least of my money. Oh well, I do enjoy getting out in the 4WD, glorified hobby I guess :unsure: .
I am a different James but I do miss the original James's posts. Wish I had other income streams!
 
6
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Waikouaiti
Experience
Semi Commercial
###### shouldn't of boasted so soon. Checked my hives up in the wops and found a heap of deads, being the furtherest away they got treated late ( mid March) probably would have got away with it using synthetics but obviously 2 late for staples. Proves that timing and mite load is important with these things, the earlier the better. Means my losses this season are closer 2 25% than 10~20%. Could blame it on the guy who walked away from his hives in the same area but my gut tells me it was my own ppb. Got to be honest about these things aye. Lesson learned, will throw the staples in at harvest this year.
 
8,886
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maungaturoto
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timing is important with all treatments.
the catch is the more variation in the treatment means mites come back sooner as mites drift from hive to hive.

the usage i was looking at was to add to existing, especially during honey flow. so to add another treatment round to keep mites low. also to help combat drift from other hives.
 
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242
252
Katikati
Experience
Commercial
###### shouldn't of boasted so soon. Checked my hives up in the wops and found a heap of deads, being the furtherest away they got treated late ( mid March) probably would have got away with it using synthetics but obviously 2 late for staples. Proves that timing and mite load is important with these things, the earlier the better. Means my losses this season are closer 2 25% than 10~20%. Could blame it on the guy who walked away from his hives in the same area but my gut tells me it was my own ppb. Got to be honest about these things aye. Lesson learned, will throw the staples in at harvest this year.

Maybe the staples not such a good autumn/winter treatment. March onwards is reinvasion time and I make sure that my only synthetic treatment I use is in by end of March or early April.
 
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Dunedin
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In this whole story there are (at least) two key players: oxalic acid and the degree of infestation with mites. OA is in my opinion not a very strong acaricide, partly because it is a contact poison and does not readily evaporate from strips. Both have to be critically considered and a treatment can only be successful if it is understood how to combine observations and knowledge about these two in the best possible way.

The physical state of the OA is considered an important factor by some, but not all. I have too little experience to judge but the "Otto" strips I have used for 5 years always worked well. Never lost a hive to Varroa. In the hands of most of those who contributed to this interesting discussion both crystalline and liquid OA seem to be able to do the trick... but not always. Humidity? Perhaps, hive humidity fluctuates with the RH outside the hive. It is not easy to control, but whether it is proven to be a decisive factor, I am not sure.

It is not my intention to stir up the OA discussion, but would like to draw attention to the other key player: the number and even more, the concentration of phoretic mites (mites per volume if you like) at a certain moment in time and the envisioned growth rate of this number as depending on the amount of infested brood cells. If over a certain period of time the increase in numbers of mites surpasses the decrease by the action of whatever poison (supplemented with natural mite deaths), it is .. "Houston, we have a problem!"

An otherwise healthy but small hive with just a few frames of brood and a few mites dropping on the sticky board still means a relatively high number of mites per colony size. If you would ONLY look at this and extrapolate to a bigger hive, then such a colony maybe less vulnerable with that number of mites dropping at that moment. The incertainty (among many more, no doubt) is that the degree of infestation in the brood is not always known. Especially in the early stages where it really matters and things can get out of hand (i.e. pass the point of no return) pretty quickly.

As a retired biologist and hobbyist beekeeper I can afford and really enjoy spending a good amount of time with my colonies. An qualitative estimate of phoretic mite numbers is made by evaluating mite drop on a sticky board (every 24 hrs around 1st of Feb and 1st of Aug). Combined with colony size and how much brood there is it helps determining when it is time to put the strips in. For an average colony (sic!) the cut off I use is 5 mites dropping in 24 hrs. This is not dogma, please, just describing what I do and so far with reasonable success.

So before treating (which is based on number of mites dropping and colony/brood strength) I concentrate the colonies as much as possible, that way the chance for mites to get some OA on them is enhanced. Also making sure the strips are located where an encounter is favourable. And in case of doubt, I tell myself: better safe than sorry, put them in earlier rather than too late.

BTW: dropped mites are almost never evenly distributed over the sticky board. Some areas (corresponding to the front and back of the hive) are having way more mites than the more central areas. I have always been concerned that this might influence mite counts with alcohol or sugar shakes. But that opens a different can of worms.

Disclaimer: just my experience.
 
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In the hands of most of those who contributed to this interesting discussion both crystalline and liquid OA seem to be able to do the trick... but not always. Humidity? Perhaps, hive humidity fluctuates with the RH outside the hive. It is not easy to control, but whether it is proven to be a decisive factor, I am not sure.
i'm not sure either. would like to test it but thats not that easy.
need a dry location, rig half the hives with humidifiers and do randy olivers acid testing method. thats a major undertaking especially having to build and use a portable makeshift mini lab for field use.

It is not my intention to stir up the OA discussion,
please do

OA is in my opinion not a very strong acaricide,

the problem with slow acting strips, and we see this with apivar, is you can't let mite levels get to high. its not like bayvarol/apistan with something like 95% kill rate in 24 hrs.
but mite levels also depends on how much drift you get from your own hives as well as others nearby. even the synthetics can appear to not work because of that.
however OA may have another trick up its sleeve and i'm waiting on randys test results to be published on that.

BTW: dropped mites are almost never evenly distributed over the sticky board. Some areas (corresponding to the front and back of the hive) are having way more mites than the more central areas
thats interesting as i noticed the oa strips don't get worked as much if they are to the front/back or sides.
 
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Done any more experimentation Tristan?
not a lot. kinda a pain that i don't do much in the field these days.
however we have 20 hives with staples in, put in mid spring. they are still alive. some interesting quirks like strips being eaten where they fold over the frame and the strips fall down onto the base. the lads mention they have not been eaten much, which is a lot different to the last seasons staples. not sure if thats due to cardboard change or just bees being bees.

the rest are still in storage. i was hoping they would be put out before xmas, a good mid season treatment when flows are on, but looks like it will be later. just hope boss doesn't get cold feet as per usual.

i have one staple sitting out of the packet and thats gone snow white, even with low humidity (dehumidifier).

i've got other projects on the go so i'm not sure if i will get out to do any testing.
 

Alastair

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i've got other projects on the go so i'm not sure if i will get out to do any testing.

Good info Tristan.

Re the testing, it's interesting, but if they are still alive come April and they got a good honey crop, that tells you most of what you need to know.
 
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Good info Tristan.

Re the testing, it's interesting, but if they are still alive come April and they got a good honey crop, that tells you most of what you need to know.
sort of. it doesn't tell me if they killed the mites.
but considering we have plenty of rain while they have been in, and hives havn't crashed is a good sign so far.
i would like to mite test the hives and compare to others, and get some proof thats its actually working.
 

Alastair

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sort of. it doesn't tell me if they killed the mites.

Surely it does? If the last non oxalic treatment they had was last autumn, and come this autumn they are still alive and prospering, then surely the oxalic strips must have killed the mites?
 
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Surely it does? If the last non oxalic treatment they had was last autumn, and come this autumn they are still alive and prospering, then surely the oxalic strips must have killed the mites?
they had other treatment early spring. it was more of a test to see if it would negatively effect them. but would be useful if it kept mites down.
judging treatment effectiveness by if the hive dies or not is the idiot way of doing it, its not hard to go mite check. no need to go killing hives.
tho even just straight checking mite levels doesn't really tell you its effectiveness. it will tell you if it worked but not how well it worked. for that you need hives with high mite numbers, and i've found thats really hard to. most hives here will collapse well before they have really high mite loads suitable for testing.
 
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@DaveBee
@DaveBee Hi, is it still considered good practice not to use oxalic acid strips during the honeyflow season? I have come across conflicting information on this topic.
@Alastair
@Alastair It's a grey area in NZ law because many OA strips are being applied illegally anyway. Well a grey area is probably the wrong term, it isn't grey, let's just say a blind eye is turned.

A lot of folks just go ahead and have them in the hive during a flow, oxalic acid occurs in small amounts in honey anyway. Not sure about the glycerin.

i'll put an answer here because it ties in with this thread.

dave you might be getting mixed with OA vapor which works a lot better in winter when a hive is brood less.

the latest legality i'm not sure of, @Dennis Crowley might have an answer to that.
originally OA had a pass and by mem it was ok for use with in honey flows. they gave most organic acids a free pass, with exception of thymol and its obvious smell/taste getting into honey.

the one really good thing with OA is the ability to use with honey flows.
glycerin is an interesting one, but then again its also food grade. its no known to cause problems. i think OA/glycerin now has its own exemption anyway.

the only illegal and grey area stuff is people making the strips and selling them. or doing the "80%" strips (we do 80% of the work but you do the last 20% therefore you made it not us). the exemption is for own use, not for making and selling.

btw Vita is now commercially making staples and is applying around the world to sell them. i expect to see them on the shelf sometime in the future.
 
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Done any more experimentation Tristan?
minor update, the hives with OAE in spring are still alive and looking good. even with the spots of rain.
only annoying thing is many staples are being pulled apart where they go over the frame, resulting in them falling to the bottom and no longer being usable. that 4 week limit rears its head again.
 

Alastair

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For that issue I use a sewing machine and run a single bead of thread down the center of each strip, the bees can chew the cardboard but the thread will stop them falling down. The sewing is not a major it's fairly quick.

Posted this video a few years ago but here it is again, best memory serves I could do 5 or 6 hundred strips an hour

 
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For that issue I use a sewing machine and run a single bead of thread down the center of each strip, the bees can chew the cardboard but the thread will stop them falling down. The sewing is not a major it's fairly quick.

Posted this video a few years ago but here it is again, best memory serves I could do 5 or 6 hundred strips an hour
interesting.
its still a lot of extra work load, especially in the volumes i want to do (20,000 or so). also the unpacking and repacking.
then there is the issue of them pulling the strip apart anyway, tho these new ones seam a bit more durable.
i think it might be better to just expect it to only work as a half treatment. as a mid season on the honey flow treatment it should work ok.
 
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i think the key here is draining them while they are kept warm. it will interesting to see how they are when the packs are opened up at room temp in a few months time.
info to add:
the guys have been putting them out and they have been dry as a bone. use them with bare hands and no reaction from baking soda when spray on hands.
downside, wrapping them is not good for longish storage. they do start slowly soaking up moisture even in a dehumidified room. looking at vacuum packing for the next lot.

currently looking at other things to test or change. as these turned out so dry it makes me wonder if they didn't soak up enough. so might do some testing on how long to soak them for. also if having weight on them to stop them floating is good or not.
 


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