Using Oxalic Acid to treat Varroa Mites

The word around the Charlotte, NC area is that vaporizing the hive with oxalic acid is the best and more efficient way to deal with varroa mites. I have a super over my two deeps which I used to winter the bees and still contains honey. And although it’s only February here, my bees (resourceful little creatures that they are) are already bringing in pollen, nectar and making new honey. Here’s the issue: My super is JAMMED full of bees. I’m thinking this hive will probably swarm next month and am getting ready to set out some swarm traps. Did a sugar shake and found more varroa mites than I would like to see so thought it would be good to treat before the hive splits.

My question: Will oxalic acid contaminate the honey? I’ve heard it will not, but the instructions say to not use with honey supers on the hive.

yes so long as there is relatively few brood and no supers on - don’t vape with supers on.

If there is brood you could do as is done in the Autumn a vape every 5-6 days 3 times. this goes across the brood cycle of the Varroa and bees - but as I said this is normally done in Autumn

Never Vape with Supers on - there is some naturally in honey and some foods but not worth the risk

“High Oxalic Acid Foods
Lists of foods high in oxalic acid vary greatly from source to source. The body is known to absorb oxalic acid from only a handful of foods, according to the University of British Columbia, including peanuts, pecans, wheat bran, spinach, rhubarb, beets and beet greens and chocolate. While other foods are considered high in oxalic acid, studies have not shown that the body readily absorbs their oxalate content. These include soy foods, sweet potatoes, black tea, berries and other dark leafy greens, like Swiss chard and collards. In an article published in the journal “Urologic Nursing” in 2007, registered dietitian Laura R. Flagg concluded that the data on oxalate foods actually causing kidney stones is “insufficient” and discouraged the limiting of these foods for patients with stones.”

Clear the super and take it away. Vape three times at 5 day intervals. Replace super. If it was my hive and there was a significant varroa problem I would use mite away quick strips with super in place

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Thanks Valli and Dee. I’m still evaluating whether it makes sense to invest in the equipment to vap the hive. I’m not familiar with Mite Away quick strips but will go look it up. Over the next week will be making a decision which way I want to go. If I use oxalic acid I will remove the super. Appreciate your input.

Hi Dee, these “Mite Away” also come highly recommended in our region for those looking for a practice way to rid their colonies of these nasty pests. Seem to be a great middle of the road natural remedy for varroa mites.

There’s enough to learn n take up our time this first year so that’s the path I’m taking for now !

Hiya Judy, I was just reading this last night and thought you may be interested.

HI Skeggley, I read the article and not sure whether it was helpful or just adds to my confusion about which direction to go. To treat or not to treat… lol… I read the reviews regarding MiteAway and sounds like the fumes are nasty and potential to kill a lot of bees in the process of attacking the varroa can be high. Plus, the temperatures in NC this time of year can be warm during the day and drop below freezing at night. The conclusion I have is that there is no perfect solution. So I’ll follow my heart after exploring the facts. Thanks.

There is some controversy over MAQS with some beekeepers reporting queen losses and a few worker deaths. It’s all a compromise. It never gets that hot here in the UK. I can’t recall the temperature limitations off hand but anybody looking to use this stuff should take note of them. In Judy’s case it might be a case of firefighting for now while she explores the treatment free option (never cut and dried if you have only the one colony). The bees need room when you use MAQS and you should have a super on top and you must use it early enough for the bees to make a new queen if the worst happens.


Wish I had more flex room for other ways or totally non-treatment but really need to get my sea-legs with bee beekeeping. The treatment temps range is 50 to 92 dgs F or 10 to 33 dgs C per directions. This first year will be a lot of new options to think about that were not issues in the 1950 n 1960’s.

I am hoping to attend an auction of older beekeepers hives n equipment soon this Spring. No live bee hives. The older gentleman has lost his entire apiary this winter per friends. Hard way to muster-out n retire. There is local debate he totally refused treatment last fall. Not sure that is truth or hear-say. Either way it is rather sad.

I’ve been looking at different ideas but for now path is limited but treatments for now. Thanks for the note. Heading for the feathers here n now.

What a wise statement.
I really really think people must establish their bees and have a a spare colony or two before venturing into treatment free options. I know bees will never improve if we continually select for varroa but if somebody loses their one and only colony that is a 100% loss.
I work on a four production hive with one support colony basis. That spare colony gives me frames of brood, test frames, drawn brood frames and a queen in an emergency. Having got that far now I aim starting to experiment. I am to get locally adapted bees that look after themselves as well as being kind on their handler. A rolling experiment.
I’m not suggesting anybody follow my method and I’m sure Michael Bush might disagree with the treatment-free caution but i’ve seen too many beginners lose their first and only colony because they fiddled with it.

Thankz n so true ! Wish I’d been a bit younger to climb aboard but what is “iS”! No complaints here.

I’m going to try n keep a log on each hive/colony. I like that you have built to four main hives n one backup. We were lucky “WAY BACK WHEN”. I have the 3 Nuc’s coming … 3 10 frame Langstroth setup ready with plastic foundations. We only had WAX in the 50 n 60’s. So I guess I am already venturing into new territory for me.
Have you shared a pix of your set up here ? I’d be interested seeing your apriary :ok_hand:. I am a photo nut so I post a lot already of what I have. I also have some friends tracking me on Face Book,

Well … Looking up at my weather n clock wall I see my Greenwich clock says its 15:00 there n 07:00 here near Seattle (cloudy with showers now)… Take care n thanks so much for the encouraging note.