My friends Ed and Mary from E&M Gold beekeepers stopped by a few weeks ago to treat the beehives with oxalic acid or wood bleach.  In this bee update,  Ed visits the barn and talks about the the invasive Varroa mite and how and why he uses oxalic acid to treat the hives.  Here’s the video and some additional photos from this update. 

Varroa Mites are an invasive insect species that came to the US and Europe from Asia. They attack US and other Western honeybee colonies by attaching themselves to the body of the bees and weaken them by sucking away the bee’s hemolymph….or “bee blood”.   Varroa mites spread viruses to the bees which could result in the loss of the entire colony if not properly treated in the late fall to early spring.   Many believe that Varroa mites are the single largest contributor to the declining bee population in the US and to so-called “colony collapse disorder”.  They have a symbiotic relationship with some honey bees in Asia (estimated at 10%), and therefore do not harm this species. 

Ed and Mary show us how to treat Varroa mites using oxalic acid, or Wood Bleach, which was recently approved by the EPA in American and has been used effectively in Europe for the last 10 years. 

A small quantity of Oxalic Acid or Wood Bleach is sublimated (turned from a solid state into vapor) into the hive with a battery charge.  This kills the Varroa mites without affecting the bees.  

The Varroa mites fall from the body of the bees into the Freeman bottom board which is filled with vegetable oil.

 

The Varroa mites are the small red insects that look like ticks. The larger insects on the bottom right and left are Hive Beetles.

A lot of activity in Hive #1 in late January, which was treated for Varroa mites and is doing well.