by Tony Hogg
Just a friendly reminder.
We are entering a threeI week or so period when bees locally will get about as broodless as they are going to be through out the year. Most of the varroa mites in your hive are going to be exposed. This is an excellent opportunity to really knock them back before brood rearing picks back up. Since they are mostly exposed a quick treatment can yield excellent results. My favorite treatment for December is an oxalic acid dribble. It is quick to apply, requires a single trip into the bees, generally has very good efficacy, and requires minimal equipment. I use a 3.2% solution, some are using a 2.8% solution. The only extra gear you need is a a large syringe available from the feed store and a small scale for measuring out the OA. Always measure twice and mix once. Attached below is a link to the Vito-pharma website and instructions for using OA.
Anytime working with oxalic follow basic good safety practices i.e rubber gloves, eye protection, and keep some backing soda on hand to neutralize any skin contact.
Other products such as Apiguard gel and Apilife var work well also. The goal is to get the mites down as low as possible early before bees start brooding up. With slower acting products such as apivar, and apostasy, you may not get the mite levels down fast enough.
There is a pretty wide temperature window to work with. Ideally I like to see it in the low to mid 50s. A few are flying but most will still be clustered so they are easy to treat.