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Alastair

The Oxalic Staple Info Processing Thread

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This thread is a bit different to the other OA thread, and has a different purpose.

 

Some people are getting excellent results with OA staples, and other people are getting lousy results. This thread is to find out the WHY. 

 

For example, the possibility has been raised that good results are got if there is a flow during the treatment period, and bad results are got if there is no flow during the treatment period. But the only way to really know that for sure, would be a high enough number of reports from people to confirm that.

 

So let's say that 50 people reported back, and (hypothetically), all the ones who reported they had a flow during the treatment period got good results with the staples, and (hypothetically), all the ones that had no flow during the treatment period got bad results. That would be pretty compelling anecdotal evidence that flow, or no flow, is a big determinant of success. And is the kind of statistical data that this thread is designed to collect.

 

So i'm interested in people reporting their successes and failures, and reasons why they think that might be. Let's see if we can discover some common denominators.

 

To me, the observation of a one hive hobbyist, is equally valid to someone with many hives. Every individual observation has value so don't be shy. There will also be no attacks on anyone's opinion, this is MY thread and any intimidation of anyone I'll talk to a moderator about it.

 

Only other issue I can see, is that people with negative experiences will have stopped using staples, it's in the past for them and they may have no interest in the subject any more. But I would still encourage you to report any observations you made, it is all needed. If we know what DOESN'T work, that could be eliminated from treatment methods, and save a lot of bees.

 

 

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Citizen science. Beekeepers should never underestimate the contribution they can make to beekeeping.

I am afraid I've never got round to using oxalic acid but I would like to add a further question.

All the early literature I saw on oxalic acid said that it was damaging to the hives to give more than one  treatment per year. I realise this was using the dribble method rather than strips but I wonder if people are having more success\less damage with occasional treatments rather than regular treatments.

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I have some strips I can put on now but I shall wait till after the flow .

I shall use my vapouriser over summer.

I only have 3 hives

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I’m giving some thought to this suggestion of flow / no flow and it’s effect on hive health with OA staples in .

 

At this stage of my learnings , I don’t think I’d add too much weight to flow . I believe a hive will be healthier and therefore moving forward , if it’s on a flow .

Most of the year , my hives are living on stores, or just getting by.  Most of the autumn winter spring period, while staples are in ,  there is a very light flow of something , but not enough to store or build up on .

My hives appear to consume far more than the national average of honey during the time staples are in and I can’t honestly say the hives are worse off for having them in .

I’m one of those who credits staples with great success , and live in an exceptionally poor flow area . 

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I encouraged a beekeeper to use staples in a varoa ridden hive over the honey flow last summer- as he didn't want to use strips while his supers were on. He was delighted with the result.

 

Another Beek influenced by me to use staples in spring found issues with queens superceding.

 

I am glad to see discussion of variations in results. These will contribute to building a better product or better methods of applying the product. Geographic variations of temperature and humidity, ventilation and hive construction,  and seasonal behaviours of bees need to be considered. One location and one operator, is only a start .

 

I  am eagerly awaiting results of  trials of this product by people known personally - if only to find how to be able to use it with more success than I had over this last winter.

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13 hours ago, john berry said:

Citizen science. Beekeepers should never underestimate the contribution they can make to beekeeping.

I am afraid I've never got round to using oxalic acid but I would like to add a further question.

All the early literature I saw on oxalic acid said that it was damaging to the hives to give more than one  treatment per year. I realise this was using the dribble method rather than strips but I wonder if people are having more success\less damage with occasional treatments rather than regular treatments.

I have dribbled twice and no issue. It's vague, but I think feeding bees syrup is a good thing when dribbling. 

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@Gino de Graaf @john berry

I'm curious about dribbling as a treatment - and fail to see how it can result in anything other than the bees ingesting the acid.  There is a paper on here describing the  negative effect of Oa on the gut of a bee and wonder if its a case of 'the lesser evil'

Would either of you be prepared to describe the dribble procedure you used?

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We intend to go back to O/A staples  as we pull the synthetic strips out.

The issue now being that the synthetic has been in the hive for two months and it's super power waning.  It's probably another two plus  months before we contemplate sorting honey out - assuming we get some - and the hives will need some protection.... or they are going to be crawling time bombs.

Some of our best hives were two years ago, the season we had issues with the autumn Bayvarol. The hives got resurrected, and then had shop cloths draped over the top of the brood box prior to supering. They then got wintered down on Apivar. The following spring they opened up looking real nice. We then ran them through the season on Staples and got a good crop.

The late summer was when they started collapsing.

 

This spring we dribbled everything with o/A and syrup ..... but they kept dieing on us .

 

So .... moving forward ..... lotsa alchohol washing needs to be done in January to get a picture of what is going on.

I suspect we will hit the bees again with Apivar and leave others to perfect the autumn Staple regime.

The only bummer is the cost . A big Thankyou to Maru for his cheap cheap deal in the spring ..... but hindsight tells me again that cheap is not always cheerfull !

 

 

 

  

Edited by jamesc
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20 minutes ago, jamesc said:

 We then ran them through the season on Staples and got a good crop.

The late summer was when they started collapsing.

 

Two questions. Had there been a flow through that whole time even the late summer?

 

And why did they collapse, mites, or something else?

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I am using (homemade) staples. Most of my hives and nucleus colonies were treated with them in Autumn and this Spring it is all I have used. I make my staples by cutting 1m length of gib paper tape and folding into thirds. These then get soaked in oxalic/glycerine mix and then hung to dry for about 2 days (have attached a photo).

 

Some observations...

1) Hive populations. 

I definitely see a knock in populations when putting the staples in. This was quite noticeable in the Autumn but overall was not detrimental to the hives making it through the winter (not that we had a winter...).

There are a couple of hives that I have put a second round of staples into this spring. While I can't see a dramatic reduction in population, these have shown a clear delay moving into honey supers compared to hives that have not had this on the same site.

 

2) Staple placement.

For the Autumn treatment round. I did lose some hives but I am quite happy with how they are working overall. In the Autumn round I played around a bit with where I put the staples (middle of the brood versus round the edges). I had seen pictures on here of beekeepers placing them more around the edges - @jamesc and liked the look of not having them right in the middle. I found that the staples needed to be right in amongst the bees to work well. The hives I lost were, in hindsight, more heavily infested with mites that I realised. These were also hives that did not have the staples right in amongst the brood. I will only use staples right through the middle of the broodnest now.

 

3) Number of staples.

I don't see the point of putting staples where there are no bees so put the staples where there is brood. If a hive has came through the winter smaller and had three frames with brood it got 2 staples. Next visit, if the broodnest had expanded beyond this I add extra staples as needed. I have found this to work well.

 

4) Longevity of treatment.

I have only found 1 or 2 hives that have chewed through the staples fast enough for me to think I might need to reapply them. 

 

5) Efficacy of treatment.

I have not done any actual mite counting. I have always relied heavily on what I see in hives. I am very happy with the shape nearly all my hives are in. I have put drone frames into a number of colonies this spring and when I have removed sealed drone comb and broken it up I have not been able to find even a single mite in nearly all cases.

 

6) Honey flow while staples are being applied?

Short answer no. In both Autumn and Spring rounds nearly all hives got fed sugar syrup when the staples were put in.

Drying staples copy.jpg

A couple of other things I thought of after posting this...

Storage of staples.

I only used a small number from the last batch I made for the Autumn round. The rest were stored in a sealed plastic honey bucket over winter. I used these in spring and am happy that they worked fine. Had some oxalic crystals visible on them but didn't seem to matter..

 

I also had one site I visited in early May. In my notes for 3 of the hives on this site I had written "small and mitey". In other words, I had written these off given it was May. They only had staples as a treatment and I was very surprised when I came to these in late August and found 2 of the 3 still alive. These both made it through the winter and are now decent colonies of bees.

Edited by Otto
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That is exceptionally good information Otto.

 

Reading it, I kind of feel like maybe if you had come and used your methods on my own hives, just maybe, things would have worked out OK. 

 

A request. Could you please describe exactly how you made the OA mix. IE, OA / Glycerine ratio, temperature, etc. And how much mix was applied to how many staples.

 

Also, about hanging them to dry. Most people are talking about squeezing excess mix from their staples, why did you go to the extent of hanging them?

Edited by Alastair
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1 hour ago, Alastair said:

 

Two questions. Had there been a flow through that whole time even the late summer?

 

And why did they collapse, mites, or something else?

Humungous flow ....right through the summer and beyond.

What did they collapse from .....  After lab testing etc I am still none the wiser ..... maybe the mite loading was to great for the staples to deal with ....?

Which is why we'll go back to the tried and tested this year.

So ..... I'm doin a bit of thinking ......

How does the o/A kill the mite ?   Does it kill the mites on the bees, or does it waste the ones feeding on the larvae, or as they emerge from the brood ..... or the whole lot ?

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28 minutes ago, jamesc said:

 

So ..... I'm doin a bit of thinking ......

How does the o/A kill the mite ?   Does it kill the mites on the bees, or does it waste the ones feeding on the larvae, or as they emerge from the brood ..... or the whole lot ?

I read somewhere the acid affects the mite in several different ways which is why it is supposedly difficult for them to become resistant.. 

one of the ways it affected them was their feet making it difficult to attach to the bee.. I’m sure the other two ways were internal damage to the mite but someone may be able to correct me. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Otto said:

 

 

 

 

A couple of other things I thought of after posting this...

Storage of staples.

I only used a small number from the last batch I made for the Autumn round. The rest were stored in a sealed plastic honey bucket over winter. I used these in spring and am happy that they worked fine. Had some oxalic crystals visible on them but didn't seem to matter..

 

I also had one site I visited in early May. In my notes for 3 of the hives on this site I had written "small and mitey". In other words, I had written these off given it was May. They only had staples as a treatment and I was very surprised when I came to these in late August and found 2 of the 3 still alive. These both made it through the winter and are now decent colonies of bees.

 

Hi @Otto.  

Storage of staples.  Do I understand your comments to mean that you had some left over staples that you hadn't used in the autumn but they had oxalyic on and you didn't use them in hives until the spring?

I had some left over from autumn, and was warned to be careful using them as we dont know how useful (stable) the mix would still be.  I used them in hives close to home so I could monitor them and also only put in enough for the brood size and kept adding as the brood expanded.  My closer to home sites are not so good, lack of pollen and food supply so reliant on my topping up with the artificials, (syrup and polen sub) was slack with those as I was busy selling hives off the better sites (reducing hive numbers), have also reduced staff. (so some jobs were late.)  Some of these sites had some hives with high mite numbers as I had done some random alcohol washes on each site.  These hives were mostly not my better hives.

Overall I am happy that the solution still worked after winter as these hives are doing well.  With the odd one losing a queen or going backwards, but I know why and no better or worse than my other hives treated with this springs fresh solution.

 

I ask what your results are as I was busy and monitored other hives more closely but will write about that sometime over the weekend. 

I over ordered my strips and would like to use them in the autumn, but it will have to be on sites closer to home that I can monitor more often. 

 

Your small and mitey hives.

 

I had some full of Deformed wing virus I put DWV on the lid.  

After 1 month of treatment they had improved so much the buyer took them.  He and his staff carefully inspected each hive and he only took the best, rejected a number for different reasons.  His comments you don't have mite damage in your hives.  I told him you realize you have taken 2 hives off this site that a month ago were full of DWV. He was only taking hives with a box of bees and at least 4 frames of brood early sept. It was a fair number he bought.

 

Yesterday I supered  up another that had DWV on its lid from the early spring it was 2 full boxes of bees and brood and had probably at least 3 frames of brood out to keep to a 2 high and was back on its honey site after doing pollination.  I am very happy with what these strips do to a hive with DWV, I do believe through quick general observations that the sick bees are got rid of very quickly once the staples go in, but this is  my surmising and I realize from others comments on the forum that there may also be a loss of what most of us would call ok bees,  Oh and not a varroa in site when I split the double brood box,  happy bees. 

 

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Fieldbee do i understand right (from your previous posts), that you do not change out the strips at 4 weeks and replace with new?

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35 minutes ago, Alastair said:

Fieldbee do i understand right (from your previous posts), that you do not change out the strips at 4 weeks and replace with new?

Yes correct @Alastair,  of the few that got over nibbled an extra one was put in its place.  but we also have this year gone to a two high brood box.  we approached striping those a couple of different ways.

1.  the ones that were very strong close to two boxes of bees - first strips in mid - end of august, still single brood box, when it was time to pull excluder as bottom box full of brood, due to large number of bees in 2nd box 2-3 stapples put in the top box (about to become a brood box) with the pulling of the excluder.

2.  Weaker hives building up single brood box now full of bees but needing a super (some of those strips not in till early- mid october) put super on then back 10-14 days and put strips in top box according to brood numbers, and added another strip if felt needed on next round all depended on number of brood frames.  By this time some had a decent early flow limiting the space for brood laying in the 2nd brood box.

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1 hour ago, Alastair said:

That is exceptionally good information Otto.

 

Reading it, I kind of feel like maybe if you had come and used your methods on my own hives, just maybe, things would have worked out OK. 

 

A request. Could you please describe exactly how you made the OA mix. IE, OA / Glycerine ratio, temperature, etc. And how much mix was applied to how many staples.

 

Also, about hanging them to dry. Most people are talking about squeezing excess mix from their staples, why did you go to the extent of hanging them?

 

@Alastair

I started with the summary that was put together by @cBank which is available in the downloads on this site. This is an outstanding resource to start with.

 

The summary has pictures of staples hanging for drying and I had read enough comments to suggest that wet staples were going to be problematic. That is why I went with hanging them out to dry. Hanging them over frames seemed logical to me as that would mean they dry into the right shape for use in hives.

 

Mixing and making staples:

I have attached a wee slide show of how I make mine. I started with 40% oxalic acid/60% glycerine (weight by weight) as this was recommended. I tend to leave the staples to soak up the mix for around 24 hours and generally leave them undercover outside. I was a little concerned with one of my early spring batches where the mix obviously cooled very quickly and it was a cold night. I wasn't sure that these had soaked up quite as much of the mix but the staples still worked fine. I then hang them out to dry, again outside and undercover so they don't get rained on.

 

Calculations for ingredients:

The summary suggested that a 43cm long staple (which is what most people are using) holds around 20g of oxalic/glycerine mix. I didn't want to use staples this long as I have a lot of 3/4 depth brood boxes in circulation. I've attached a table with my calculations. I fold 1m length of gib paper tape into thirds resulting in a length of approximately 33cm. One roll of gib tape is just over 150m long - so makes around 150 staples. As luck would have it this requires bang on 1kg of oxalic acid and 1.5 kg of glycerine, I like round numbers😃I make my staples up one roll of gib tape at a time.

 

image.png.a84f114af358bc211304087f3ed8c0dd.png

 

Otto's Staples.pdf

1 hour ago, fieldbee said:

 

Hi @Otto.  

Storage of staples.  Do I understand your comments to mean that you had some left over staples that you hadn't used in the autumn but they had oxalyic on and you didn't use them in hives until the spring?

 

Yes, staples made in autumn that were left over and used in Spring. To me there was no discernible difference between these and freshly made ones in how well they worked.

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Well done Alistair.

This thread has dragged the topic out of the sandpit and into Grown Men territory.

(sorry ladies.... but u know what I mean)

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I hope the information helps. While I am very encouraged by my experiences so far I am aware that I am really a novice user so please don't take what I say as gospel! I am simply sharing my experiences to date.

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7 hours ago, Otto said:

Most of my hives and nucleus colonies were treated with them in Autumn and this Spring it is all I have used. I make my staples by cutting 1m length of gib paper tape and folding into thirds. These then get soaked in oxalic/glycerine mix and then hung to dry for about 2 days (have attached a photo).

 

No stitching at all @Otto?

do you find the mixture alone sticks them together adequately? Do they curl when they are in the hive and maybe the outer layer looses mixture?

It would be wonderful to loose the need to stitch..its such a mind boggling boring job.

 

I wonder if running them thru a mangle would speed up the making and drying process....or if the drying is an important factor in their success?

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41 minutes ago, Mummzie said:

 

No stitching at all @Otto?

do you find the mixture alone sticks them together adequately? Do they curl when they are in the hive and maybe the outer layer looses mixture?

It would be wonderful to loose the need to stitch..its such a mind boggling boring job.

 

I wonder if running them thru a mangle would speed up the making and drying process....or if the drying is an important factor in their success?

No stitching. I thought it the easiest place to start but was fully prepared to bail and start stitching if needed. I would have to get my 15 year old son to show me how to use the sewing machine though...

So far I'm quite happy and yes, I find the mixture holds them together well. They are folded at the ends rather than being three separate pieces of paper tape. It would be interesting for someone using the stitched ones to try it this way and compare.

I find they stay together pretty well although I do try not to pull hives apart too much in the first 3-4 weeks after putting them in. Once most of the mixture is gone from them and they've been part chewed up the layers do come apart quite easily. I figure at that point they're not doing much anymore anyway.

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When I tried Varroa Death Strips last year, they just had a row of 3 staples down each side, looked like it was done with just a normal office type paper stapler. Not quite the finess of a nicely sewing machined job, but seemed to work. Would certainly be a heckuva lot quicker.

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Also just realised I haven't mentioned anything with regards to actually putting the strips in the hives. I shake as close to all the bees off the frames as I can when putting the staples in place. This includes the frames beside the ones with the staples. I hate squashing bees and creating situations inside the hive that result in dead bees. I shake off the bees, put the staple in place and then push the frames together before the bees have started moving back up onto the frames.

I also have no evidence from my application of staples for it causing some superseding of queens (which from reading comments is somethings others do find).

Edited by Otto
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I had very good results with them. The autumn treatments stayed in the hives all winter. As I went about spring treating I only replaced strips that were 50% or more removed  by the bees. I used soaked strips I had left over from autumn, these had a fine coating of oxalis crystals over them but were dry. I am in the same boat as @M4tt with honey flow for hives. Nothing major until clover comes on. I saw no decernable difference in survival between hives over wintered as single or doubles.

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