Using oxalic staples - 2 years on

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Otto

Gold
57
132
Dunedin
Experience
Semi Commercial
It has been a while since I have posted anything here and when I log in a message immediately appears saying "Eek! you have not yet posted to the forum..." So to correct this oversight I thought I would write a few comments about my experiences with oxalic staples. If you have questions fire away. I will answer them if I can. Otherwise hopefully someone else will. I know there are people with more experience on this topic than me...


It has now been a little over 2 years since I’ve used anything other than oxalic staples in my beehives. For those who are interested I have summarised how I use them and a few of my experiences to date below. I gave some information on how I make and use staples in this thread on the old forum (The Oxalic Staple Info Processing Thread).

Making the staples
This hasn’t changed for me. I still make them by cutting gib paper tape into 1m length and folding them to 3 layer thickness for use. I have found these to work well and cannot really see myself changing how I do this. I soak them in a 40% oxalic, 60% glycerine solution then hang them out to dry for a day or 2.

Placement/number of strips
When I started using these one of the things I was less sure about was how many staples to use and where to place them (there seemed to be a bit of variation in what people were doing/trying).

1) How many staples?
My first use of them was as a late season treatment (in 2019). I decided at the time that I would go with a rule of if there is brood in a seam of bees then that seam get one leg of a staple. This is pretty much what I have stuck to ever since and it has worked well for me.

2) Where to put staples?
Advice was also variable on where to put staples on the frames (middle versus edge of brood nest). I experimented with both and very quickly learned that to work well it needed to be the middle. By that I mean the middle of where the brood is on the frame.

Timing of treatments
I started with the standard early season and late season treatments. For many hives this seems to work fairly well but there were also a number which started running into mite issues by about mid-summer and I did lose hives to varroa because of this. This season I trialled adding an extra oxalic round in early December in a few of my apiaries. This has worked well. I think the ideal regime for me is to treat early spring, again in early summer and a third time in early autumn and this is what I will be aiming to do as a standard next season.

I have found the crucial thing is to never let mite levels get too high. Hives where mite levels have become problematic tend to take around a season to properly recover (i.e. even if mite levels are reined in they still struggle to thrive for a prolonged period of time). Pretty sure this is down to residual viruses etc in comb.

Some notes on how I run my hives…
I am not very consistent with how my beehives are set up. I run a bunch of 3-4 frame nucs (both 3/4 depth and full depth), I have hives on a single brood box and a bunch of double brood box hives that have either 2 3/4 box brood nests, a FD and 3/4 box brood nest or (occasionally) 2 FD boxes. Nearly all my hives (not so much the nucs) have 1 or (sometimes) 2 frames of drone comb in them for much of the season. Despite this I am happy with the varroa control I am getting from oxalic staples.
 
8,390
4,812
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
but there were also a number which started running into mite issues by about mid-summer
imho this indicates one of the main problems of most alterative treatments, that they have high variability in treatment. what can compound it is if it doesn't treat enough brood cycles.

one of the big problems if doing cheap one shot treatments, regardless of what chem used, is varroa hatching out after its finished and they rapidly build back up.
this is where you really need to extend your treatment so you can get that population right down.
 
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Otto

Gold
57
132
Dunedin
Experience
Semi Commercial
imho this indicates one of the main problems of most alterative treatments, that they have high variability in treatment. what can compound it is if it doesn't treat enough brood cycles.

one of the big problems if doing cheap one shot treatments, regardless of what chem used, is varroa hatching out after its finished and they rapidly build back up.
this is where you really need to extend your treatment so you can get that population right down.
I am not so sure this is down to alternative treatment issues (and I don't really see oxalic staples as an 'alternative' treatment anymore). I think staples give a pretty reliable and reproducible treatment. I think that in many cases the hives that run into early mite issues have recently been or are under some extra invasion pressure.
 
8,390
4,812
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
I am not so sure this is down to alternative treatment issues (and I don't really see oxalic staples as an 'alternative' treatment anymore). I think staples give a pretty reliable and reproducible treatment. I think that in many cases the hives that run into early mite issues have recently been or are under some extra invasion pressure.
there is always that issue. however in my experience you do not loose hives from mites that early from reinvasion unless its massive.
reinvasion cannot be discounted, but miss timed treatments and treatments that don't run long enough (of all types) are a common cause of mites flourishing so early.
 
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kaihoka

Gold
222
189
whanganui inlet
Experience
Hobbyist
I am not so sure this is down to alternative treatment issues (and I don't really see oxalic staples as an 'alternative' treatment anymore). I think staples give a pretty reliable and reproducible treatment. I think that in many cases the hives that run into early mite issues have recently been or are under some extra invasion pressure.
I used bayvarrol this autumn for the first time in 2 seasons.
I had run out of phils strips and no source for more .
I put strips in autumn , spring and used vaporizer in mid summer .
I had no varroa looses .
But I had only 3 or 4 hives and constant vigilance was required .
I kinda like the wet and forget approach that synthetics give .
 
1,298
1,759
North Canterbury
Experience
Commercial
It has now been a little over 2 years since I’ve used anything other than oxalic staples in my beehives. For those who are interested I have summarised how I use them and a few of my experiences to date below
Great summary Otto.
Yes it would appear in light of the apparent varroa disaster there may be a few more needing something like ox staples even as an in between synthetics treatment.
I’m not surprised that there are now many large outfits using staples reliably only relying on synthetics on problem sites as the need arises.
As you say the key is to keep the crawlers suppressed and for me that means 3 staple treatments.. aug/sept, Jan (harvest) and april/may Harvest or thereabouts.. for me this season has been very late with solid autumn dew flows and big brood, treating ox staples at these times for me means mites are very low and the last treatment remains in until the spring opening.
 

kaihoka

Gold
222
189
whanganui inlet
Experience
Hobbyist
I recon this is where people trip up, no real idea of any mite issues with the colony..
pop in the treatment based on the calendar month, rip them out at end of treatment date on the packet..
nek minute ...
I try and delay my autumn treatment till the migrant beeks have left.
Which can be too late so I use the vapouriser a lot in feb.
I would continue using strips if I could get my head around making my own .
 
34
51
Bay of plenty
Experience
Commercial
Been an interesting season for me. All hives got an eairly summer ox/gly treatment and when we pulled honey in Feb the vast majority of hives sampled had single figure mite wash counts. 2 yards got 2 hits of ox a month apart and had counts consistently less than 5.

Apivar went in in Feb and is coming out now. We are seeing many more high mite counts now than we did in feb ???????
 
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706
554
Christchurch
Experience
Semi Commercial
Good write up @Otto and it’s cool to see that others are still working with OA/GL successfully. I am still only using staples and they suit my little operation. They are a quite high maintenance solution to varroa though, and I wouldn’t recommend them to the set and forget brigade.

I still make my own staples too. @kaihoka , if you have a sewing machine it is quite simple. My version is sewing four layers of gib tape for 75mt rolls with two rows of thread, then cut to length and cut down the middle. That gets me about 300 staples or so. Enough to last a hobbyist a few years I expect.
 
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34
51
Bay of plenty
Experience
Commercial
In most cases the apivar has managed to keep ahead of the mites as they have effectively multiplied as the hives have shrunk to wintering populations but only just.

We have come across just a couple of hives that have moved away from the strips and become completely destroyed by PMS, if the strips weren't working they would all be like that.

I am certain that reinvasion has been quite bad this year.
 
5,443
5,731
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
Yeah .... I was looking for it yesterday to refresh the memory on the recipe .....I ended up mixing 10kg of O/A with 10lt of glycerine ....
 


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