Can the Robinson Vaporiser control your Varroa Mites – Part 1

We starting selling a new product a couple of weeks back, “The Robinson Vaporiser”, which is a Oxalic Acid Vaporiser. We have conducted the following test to see if it works as designed. Here is our observations and how you use the vaporiser.

What do you need to treat your hive

  • Old cotton Cloths
  • The Robinson Vaporiser
  • Oxalic acid crystals
  • Measuring tool for acid 1 gram per hive box, we used a 1/2 teaspoon measure.
  • A 12 volt battery
  • A watch or timer
  • Goggles
  • Masks.
  • Acid proof gloves.

Using an Oxalic Acid Vaporiser, Here is how we do it:-

Here are the steps we use to complete the treatment

  1. Place the Oxalic acid into the Robinson Vaporiser, 1 gram per full box of brood box or 2 grams for double brood boxes (We have two full sized Brood boxes, so that’s 2 grams in total).
  2. Slowly place the Robinson Vaporiser in the centre of the hive through the front entrance. Close up entrance with a Cotton cloth.
  3. Block off all ventilation, if you are using a Kiwimana Meshboard insert the inspection tray to seal the hive.
  4. Connect the Robinson Vaporiser to the 12 volt battery for 2 minutes.
  5. Disconnect the battery, and wait a further two minutes. This allows the fumes to be spread around the hive and for the vaporiser to cool down.
  6. Removed the cloth and open up the ventilation, slowly remove the Robinson Vaporiser from the hive.
  7. Check that the Oxalic acid has completely burned, adjust your burn time if it hasn’t.
  8. Repeat this each week for three weeks, this ensures mites under the capped cells are also killed.

Beekeeper Protection

It cannot be stressed too strongly that oxalic acid is an aggressive substance and needs to be treated with respect. Acid resistant gloves and goggles should be worn, along with gunboots that have the tops covered by gaiters so that any falling liquid cannot fall into the boot. A respirator that has specialised organic acid filtering will be required in cases where the acid is sprayed or vaporised. Oxalic acid is also poisonous to humans by ingestion.

Our Test

Test Subject: Whenuapai 1
Week: One
Mites count before first treatment 20.5 per day (natural mite fall), based on a two day count.

Susie, Jim and Joyce came over to watch the procedure. It was great spending time with all you guys. I hope it wasn’t too confusing for everyone.

The bees didn’t seem to bothered at all by the vapour. We checked the inspection tray around 40 minutes later and we had around 10 dead mites. I suspect this will increase as the day continues.

We will need to repeat the treatment next week.

Unfortunately we suspect snow got a bee sting on her paw during the treatment, she was howling in pain. But she is all OK now readers, and is walking again on that paw. But she was pretty sad for a couple of hours.

If you want to order your oxalic vaporizer now, Please check out the product page for “The Robinson Vaporiser”.

In other news…Our first swarm of the Season

Later on in the day we got a call about a swarm in Greenbay, so we threw our swarm kit and an old hive in the kiwimana mobile and headed out.

The swarm was in a feijoa tree and was only around a metre above the ground. So it was an easy retrieve, which is makes life much easier. The owners of the house were a lovely couple, and happy to see the bees taken to a new home.

The colony wasn’t as straight forward as expected, as when we dropped he swarm into the hive. Half of the bees landed on the ground next to the hive.

The half that fell onto the ground all moved under the baseboard (with the queen as we later discovered). Keen eyed Margaret spotted her under the hive, so we needed to rethink our strategy. So we took the hive box off the base board, placed this over the bees on the swarm sheet with one end raised (to make an entrance). Then we brushed the bees from under the baseboard into the hive.

Once we had the roof back on the box, the bees moved up from the ground into the dark recesses of the new hive. After about half an hour, all the bees were in the hive and we were on our way home. We had a pie stop on the way, we were starving as we hadn’t had lunch yet :)…

Welcome to kiwimana, Greenbay one 🙂

2 thoughts on “Can the Robinson Vaporiser control your Varroa Mites – Part 1

  1. Avatar photo
    Katherine says:

    there is a bit of talk on the nzbees website that oxalic acid kills brood. I see the Fatbeeman doesn’t seem to be too concerned. I want to start using oxalic acid but want to know whether it kills brood or not.

    • Avatar photo
      Gary Fawcett says:

      Hi Katherine,

      Thanks for your comment.

      How are you applying the Oxalic Acid, if you are adding it to Sugar Syrup. I have heard this does cause issues with brood. As the bees are ingesting the Oxalic Acid.

      I haven’t seen any issues with vaporising the acid, as the smoke doesn’t penetrate the wax caps. This is why you need to repeat the treatment for three to four times, to kill emerging varroa mites.


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