Oxalic acid is a naturally occurring acid within the hive. We can use this acid from common wood bleach, sold at most hardware stores, to create a last varroa mite treatment for the fall before we seal the hives for winter. Keeping our bees varroa free greatly increases their chances of winter survival. When the bees are clustered in their hive in late fall, find a day where the temperatures reach 50ºF or greater. Here in Central New Jersey, we perform our Oxalic Acid Dribble treatment around Thanksgiving.
600mL warm water
35g wood bleach
600g white table sugar (roughly 3 cups)
Mix the warm water and wood bleach until the bleach crystals are dissolved. Next add the table sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Test the temperature to ensure it will not scald the bees.
To apply to the bees, dribble with a syringe at the rate of 5mL per seam. A seam is the gap or space between the frames within the hive. Do not exceed more than 50mL per colony. Again, ensure the temperature outdoors is around 50ºF.
Nighttime temperatures are beginning to get pretty chilly around here. I’ve switched over to sugar cakes for my hives because liquid feed will run the risk of getting too cold soon, causes moisture and humidity within the hive during chilly months (which is a big no no), and they last a while! The bees love these sugar patties for winter time feeding.
20 cups granulated sugar
5 cups water
1 tsp HoneyBHealthy supplement
1 tsp distilled while vinegar or apple cider vinegar
bread loaf moulds*
Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Stir constantly until a simmer is reached. Insert candy thermometer. Continue to heat and stir in regular intervals until the candy thermometer reads 234°F. This will take a while so be patient, observant and continue to stir regularly. Once desired temperature is reached pour the sugar solution into the moulds. The sugar will continue to boil and breathe as it cools and hardens.
Sugar cakes can be made in large batches, wrapped in parchment paper and stored in the refrigerator or in a cool dry place until use.
*Sugar cakes are to be placed directly on the brood frames. I use a shim/spacer/rim spacer directly above my brood box to allow space for the sugar cake. Note the size in height of the spacer/shim you are using in your hive. Mine is about 2" tall. Ensure that the amount of sugar solution you pour into each mould will not be taller than the hive spacer and will still fit within the hive. My sugar cakes are just short of 2" tall within the moulds. I then place the inner cover above my spacer.
Throughout the summer months the flies can be ruthless on the farm. I'm sharing my homemade flyspray recipe because we all need this for our horses! It's easy to make, all natural and it really works.
4 cups apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons MTG*
2 Tablespoons of dishsoap, unscented
20 drops lavender essential oil
20 drops rosemary essential oil
20 drops peppermint essential oil
Mix everything and pour into an unused weed sprayer or clean spray bottle. Shake before use and spray away on your horses! For best use, spray on once in the morning and again in the late afternoon. Also best applied after a sweaty workout.
*MTG is an equine grooming product called Mane•Tail•Groom. It's available at most agricultural and feed stores and also on Amazon.com