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Removing supers for oxalic acid treatment

I’m just throwing this out there because I entertained the thought. My bees are always up in the super licking, cleaning and repairing the dang thing out if there is not a flow going on. So if one did give an oxalic treatment with the supers on wouldn’t the bees just clean the cells out?

I’m not understanding the big fear of oxalic acid and removal of supers during a dearth and oxalic treatment. I adhere to the suggestions but now I want to question the suggestions as to how that can affect anything if the bees keep cleaning? How long are ya’ll keeping the supers off before placing them back on the hives after treatment.

Anyone test this out? They are running all over the inside of the hive which has been treated. I always love the data ya’ll come up with. :smiley:

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Good question, but not quite the right question! :heart_eyes: The reason for taking the super off is not just to protect the honey/wax/etc. The reason is that you are making a vapor. In order to give the right dose of OAV, you need to have the correct number of boxes on the hive.

If you have 2 brood boxes and you give a 2 gram dose, the treatment level will only be correct if there is no super. If there is a super on top (say just one deep), then the bees are only getting 2/3 of the correct dose, as the vapor concentration in the hive will be lower than intended. Treatment may therefore not work and your bees will suffer.

Once you take the towels out of the entrance, or whatever you are using to block it, you can put the supers back on right away. By that time (normally around 15 minutes), the OAV will have recondensed as minute crystals inside the hive, and there will not be any vapor left to escape. Easy peasy! :wink:

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An interesting question and thou we don’t have varroa here yet undoubted it will happen so I am interested in the subject.
If the dosage was right for say a double brood hive would it vary between an 8 and a 10 frame hive or is it not that critical? I also wonder if the mites in a super removed for the treatment are going to reinfect the hive as soon as it is put back onto the hive? Sort of like us taking a half of a course of antibiotics and inviting the infection to flare up again.

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Great question. Not that critical, but I use a 10 frame dose in my 8 frame hives. However I think an extra deep would add a lot more dead space and dilute the dose too much.

You are perfectly correct, there may be a few mites on bees in the super. Another reason not to use OAV when you have a super on the hive. However, this is not a one time treatment and this is also a numbers game. The vast majority of mites are in the brood box. One OAV treatment will not even get all of those, which is why most people do at least 3 rounds at 5 to 6 day intervals. Just like antibiotics, sometimes you need a longer course. I have done as many as 6 rounds to get the mite count down to an acceptable level. You will never get them all, like SHB, but it is a great idea to maximize the number that you do get with each treatment.


If there is brood I apply 4 treatments at 5 days apart.


OK I get that it’s about the bees and dosage but what I was really getting at is does the oxalic acid really harm capped honey within the brood chamber? When discussing the oxalic acid treatments with the locals they seem to get a little afraid of the stuff getting into supers. I’m just thinking along the lines of the actual OA because the new commercial treatment equipment is more powerful and thorough. I’m considering making the purchase because the wand tends to tip and the acid boils out a bit even if clamp it. It leaves me doubts as to a “best method” vs the “affordable adequate” method. OK let me rephrase the concept of my question. Lets say, the proper dose for 3 brood boxes with an empty flow super and an oxalic treatment is given. What are the consequences?


Well, you could be labeled as an EPA “scoff-law”, as you are using OA in an unapproved manner. :rofl: However, if you don’t tell anyone what you have done, I think the consequences would be minimal to none.

The concern is that OA is toxic to humans in high doses. A lethal toxic dose is between 15 and 30 grams. However, the amount you use to treat a hive wouldn’t get anywhere close to toxic levels in the honey, especially if you are not making comb honey. With traditional spin-extracted honey, the cappings would be removed, and with Flow honey, they would stay on the frame. I think contamination of the honey would be minimal. In any case you would have to eat at least 15 boxes of deep frames (wood and cappings included :rofl:) to get anywhere near a toxic dose - not very likely.

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Thanks! I was wondering what all the fuss was about since there is so much OA in food. Plus there have been moments when keeping on the schedule for treatments has been compromised. I have adhered but I was curious.Well additionally there would be no honey in the super at the time so in my “what if” scenario there would be no real repercussions.


I’m just throwing this observation to the wind about treating the bees OAV. I have both the original wand method and recently purchased the pro vap 110.

The wand uses a battery for juice and during sublimation spills over the sides of the dish made for the OA and doesn’t complete the process but for a portion of the measured OA. If the battery is weakened the vapor isn’t as steady. This takes 6 minutes per treatment with my battery and wand. Now it’s still killed the varroa off my bees.

The commercial version ProVap 110 plugs into an electrical outlet (extension cord) and the measured amount does not bubble over the sides of the dish using he entire measured amount recommended for the treatment per brood box. It takes about 1 minute and shoots the vapor more abundantly through out the hive. It does not leave spilled residue on any surface.

Both methods are effective but the more expensive ProVap 110 was easier, faster and more effective distributing the vapor.

Additionally, as I sprayed non stick spray on the white board prior to the treatment chased some hive beetles on to the oil and killed them (the bastages). The cooking spray does not inhibit the viewing of a mite drop.