oxalic acid glycerin strips testing

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update.
unfortunately the site i was going to use for large scale testing got used for other things.
so went to use the shed hives, pick a few high mite ones to use. however i made a mistake in making the strips, under estimating how much OAE would get soaked up. the Swedish sponge swelled up so much it wasn't even going to fit between frames. really need to find a very thin sponge.
so i ended up with only enough cardboard strips for a couple of hives. yeah i screwed up.
these where in the 1:1 ratio. i kept them in the hot room which really helped them soak up the mix (by keeping it liquid longer).

as i was busy the lads where going to mite test the hives and apply strips. but they didn't mite test and threw the strips into two hives that have had treatment in them previously. :rolleyes: so nothing new is going to be learnt there.

fingers crossed the boss is still interested next spring, which is the better time to do it.

one small thing, the bamboo pad actually got removed by the bees. i guess it eventually cooled down enough for them to work it.
 
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even tho testing was minimal a few things have been learnt.

does it work? yes, but with caveats.
i found no downsides with the bees, and even with deliberate overdosing there has been no mortality. that hive is just fine.

however i can see where mistakes can be made.
one could well be overheating the mixture. even with a double boiler setup you can very easily get the bottom to hot while to top is not hot enough. doing it with a plain pot would be very problematic. very easy to make the mix break down into formic acid which certainly would cause brood and queen failure.
even with a double boiler, mixing is critical and needs to come up to temp slowly. i'm not sure if pre heating glycerin past the max temp is a good idea.

i did a small test by leaving mix sitting on the bench at home for a few weeks (@~50%RH). the glycerin slowly went liquid. that has been mentioned by others. in the hive it soaks up moisture (cellulose really likes to grab and hold water, which is probably why Swedish sponges work so well even in dry conditions) and that makes the acid come out to the surface. i notice some strips had "grown" white fluff of acid in places where the bees did not get to it (like growing Condy's crystals).
this also brings into question "wet" strips. i wonder if people have been leaving them out (or even the glycerin) in the humid air. as this works by the hive adding water to it, you cannot have water added before hand. so keeping it dry is critical. wet strips increases the spread-ability of the OAE so if its wet the hive can get a very big dose which could cause problems. plus the whole idea is extended release not instant release.
imho if you leave the top off the glycerin container and it soaks up moisture, its really not useable.

the other big question in all this is how did they come up with the "3 staples per brood box" figure. why not 2 or 4? anyone seen any data on that?
my testing was with 4 staples to make sure there was enough width across the hive. i hope people are not selecting a weaker dose to cut costs, which is what seams to be advertised. also be aware stables are not dirt cheap as some like to make out.

the staples last about 4 weeks, so that requires a double treat to get enough brood hatching. thats also noted in randy olivers testing.
also his testing showed they seam to be a little less effective than the 1:1 pads they have been using.

but whats really interesting is the amount of acid in the hive (info not on randy's site just yet).
the 1:1 pads seam to be quite low in acid on the bees. the carboard staples have higher amounts despite having a lot less acid in them. (where is all the OA going from the pads ?) also the ratios, the staples in 1:1 have higher acid on bees than 1:1.5 ratio. with the sponge the 1:2 ratio had more than the 1:1. so is the 1:1 ratio staples more effective in killing mites than the 1:1.5?

heaps of testing to be done. i hope randy will have his spring results out before we get into next spring.
but the big thing is testing it in big scale to see all the other things you cannot see in small scale.

i think the huge advantage with this is treating during honey flows. highly suitable for beeks with early flows.
also mid season treatments (even just a single treat), this allows you to autumn treat later and helps combat mite drift into the hives.
 

Alastair

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Not any particular part Tristan I'll just be seeing what you do different to what I have done and if that can get better results.
 
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Not any particular part Tristan I'll just be seeing what you do different to what I have done and if that can get better results.
trouble is i have very little information on what other people have done.

i'm fairly confidant that it could be rolled out and get ok results, but we need great results.
other people have done a fairly decent job of getting it this far. i think its more of a case of fine tune things. find/make a better substrate that lasts longer. tweak the mix a bit, get the manufacturing dialed in a bit better etc.
getting a better idea of how bees interact with the strips would be handy as thats a major factor.
 
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@tristan What is your opinion of the bamboo fibre?
its not good, at least in that form. its more of an adsorption product. ie the OA stays on the surface instead of soaking in. then the bees wouldn't touch it.
we really need absorption products that soak it up (and swells up). maybe there is another bamboo product out there eg a bamboo version of Swedish sponge. there is a few different ways bamboo products are made so i'm not writing it off completely.

i think the key is cellulose or another fibre that really likes water. but also tough enough that the bees don't remove it quickly.
 

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OA/GL strips have been catching on in the US now that a lot of their other treatments are not reliable. The EPA had at one time allowed their use, and even had instructions on their web site how to use them. But have recently advised beekeepers that they are withdrawing approval.

The EPA provided three reasons why this is unacceptable use of a pesticide. Here is a paraphrase and the full document is linked below:

1. The dosage of 50g per application exceeds the 35g dosage allowable for OA and sugar water.
2. The existing label states: “Only apply...a solution when mixed with sugar-water.” (There is also an option for vaporization.)
3. Mixing of pesticide with a fertilizer is allowable under the regulation but nowhere in the regulation does it allow pesticide to be mixed with glycerin.

Additional Concerns:
The current labeling of OA applications are acute exposure (one time short period), the pads are extended duration resulting in chronic exposure. In other words- it could hurt the bees.

The addition of inert ingredients must be cleared by the EPA first. This requires submital and registration for a new product.

EPA concern is that many cellulose pads contain fire retardant that may be harmful to bees!


I would agree that prolonged exposure may be harmful to bees, however I would have thought that would be for the beekeeper to worry about, not the EPA.
 
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OA/GL strips have been catching on in the US now that a lot of their other treatments are not reliable. The EPA had at one time allowed their use, and even had instructions on their web site how to use them. But have recently advised beekeepers that they are withdrawing approval.

The EPA provided three reasons why this is unacceptable use of a pesticide. Here is a paraphrase and the full document is linked below:

1. The dosage of 50g per application exceeds the 35g dosage allowable for OA and sugar water.
2. The existing label states: “Only apply...a solution when mixed with sugar-water.” (There is also an option for vaporization.)
3. Mixing of pesticide with a fertilizer is allowable under the regulation but nowhere in the regulation does it allow pesticide to be mixed with glycerin.

Additional Concerns:
The current labeling of OA applications are acute exposure (one time short period), the pads are extended duration resulting in chronic exposure. In other words- it could hurt the bees.

The addition of inert ingredients must be cleared by the EPA first. This requires submital and registration for a new product.

EPA concern is that many cellulose pads contain fire retardant that may be harmful to bees!


I would agree that prolonged exposure may be harmful to bees, however I would have thought that would be for the beekeeper to worry about, not the EPA.
usa and their bureaucrats!
also thats a reminder that it could be worse here and we should thank those here who had the foresight to get things sorted early on.

i think the main reason EPA is against it is simply lack of information, lack of testing and studies.
 
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just a little thing we should change is using the term "dry", eg "dry" the OA strips. because really we are draining the excess. that may sounds like splitting hairs a bit but whats also happening when we "dry" the strips is they are soaking up moisture and getting wetter (glycerine soaks up moisture at all humidity levels).
so we really want to drain them rather than try to dry them.

clear as mud?
 
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however i have just put a Swedish sponge in one of the home hives (double brood).
i made up some 1:1 mix,
small update on this.

ive just scrapped the pads out of the hive. they where intact but almost mush.
so its been in now about 12 weeks.
sorry no jar test but the hive is good, lots of brood and still running a frame of drone brood.
 
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small update on this.

ive just scrapped the pads out of the hive. they where intact but almost mush.
so its been in now about 12 weeks.
sorry no jar test but the hive is good, lots of brood and still running a frame of drone brood.
sorry i forgot to mention that the pad had 210g of mix in it. clearly the total amount of oxalic acid is not an issue but rather the speed at which its applied is. also remember my earlier test had 8 stables per brood box and the only effect was queen moved away and laid in areas where there was no strips. once the acid "cooled" down hive went back to normal.

i suspect most of the issues arise from "wet" mix which spreads to fast, causing high dosage in short time, causing effects on bees/brood, causing hive failure.
now to make it even more confusing i suspect some are making wet strips work(ish) because i noticed the bees tend to avoid (but not all) the "hot" wet strips which reduces some of the initial spread.
 
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@Alastair you might just be right.

checked the home hive and its gone from nice and strong to a handful of bees. its crashed leaving brood to go cold.
two of the test hives at work have also crashed. one has about 4 frames of bees the other dead. however i had written that off to other things. i will have to check the others.

so looks like more investigation is needed.
 

Alastair

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You are not alone, happens to all beekeepers who tried it whose hives i have looked at.

Yet on the internet I see people having success.

What has occurred to me is that the hives I see are around here (Auckland). The hives of people with obvious success are elsewhere.

Could it be that dry climates it works, warm high humidity climates it kills the bees?
 
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Could it be that dry climates it works, warm high humidity climates it kills the bees?
the acid level does go up after rain, and we have had no shortage of that.
glycerin soaks ups moisture which i assume turns the acid to liquid and it comes out. but not seeing any instant effect, its more like bees life span is shorter and they loose numbers quicker.

i will have a look at the work ones, i still have one with staples in.
 
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Alastair

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I wonder whether it has to do with brood breaks @Alastair ? The most successful proponent I know of is @Otto (Dunedin) and I'll be trying his method when I come to give them a go. He posted his instructions file on the forum some time ago

I have done as per Otto exactly. Same result.

Otto is in Dunedin, whole different climate.
 

Alastair

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What I can say is this. When I was an AP2 I was not allowed to mention that on social media. But I retired from that a few months ago.

During that time I saw many hives of many beekeepers, and quite a few using staples. All this around Auckland. I did not see one beekeeper using staples that did not have the same issues as me, other than one guy it was working quite well for but he had a very definite timetable when they went in and when they came out, and only used them once a year.

What I would see in an apiary if the staples had been in any length of time would be a few good hives, the majority in decline and some dead or close to it.

When I rang to arrange a visit, if they told me the hives had staples in I would already know what I was going to see before I got there.
 


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