Friday, October 30, 2009

The Formic Acid Pad - Mite Away II Pads

I didn't measure with a ruler but the pad is about 6 or 7" square.

They were Mite Away pads of Formic Acid that came pre-soaked they really did smell strong.

Formic Acid creates fumes strong enough to kill Varroa Mites and to penetrate capped cells as the mites feed off baby bees in their cells.
The pads have 250 ml of 65 % formic acid in them. Its the combination of this and the holes in the bag, the front of the hive open and the bees ventilation along with temps of + 10 Celsius that makes it a successful treatment.

The small Mite Away pads have 35 ml of 65% formic in them x 6 or 7 applications 4 to 7 days apart to give the same result as the larger pads. The large pads which I used are left in the hive for a full brood cycle - between 24 to 26 days.

The pads work by fumigating the hive to a point where it doesn't kill the bees but makes the mites let go of the bees. The heaviest concentration of acid fumes are on the floor of the hive where it kills the mites.

Regular garbage is fine for disposal of the pads after treatment. Most of the acid will have evaporated and formic is a natural acid.

When the pads were first taken out of the barrel at the bee supplier's place, we didn't want to be close to it because the smell is quite pungent. Yes, it smells like super strong so don't inhale it. It reminded me a bit of the occasional time I get a little too much pickle juice and then I choke or cough.

The pads sat on the small sticks laid across the top bars of the hive. A rim spacer was in place to create a little space for the pad as well.

It comes with the pre-made holes on one side - the bottom and the holes are to face down. The fumes from the pad will drop down into the hive and then be ventilated by the bees.

My hives are not 2 deep hive bodies. Instead I am running 1 deep and 1 medium.

The pads cannot be held with bare fingers or they will burn your skin. I purchased a pair of special plastic chemical gloves to hold the pads with. Later I found chopsticks more effective to pick up or shift the pad without touching it.
If the weather doesn't cooperate and it's too late to do a Formic Acid treatment, there is Oxyalic Acid which can be put in the hive in the middle of winter. It's done with a drip syringe.
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