Time To Treat For Mites!

Fall Varroa Mite Treatment Time!!


You have mites, 100% you do, well your bees do anyway. No matter what you think, your colonies have mites. Many folks simply “look” for mites on the bees and think, “I don’t see any, I must be ok”, but that’s not an effective way to determine.

Let me leave it at this, many professionals say there are now four (4) inhabitants of a honey bee colony,

  1. The Queen

  2. The Workers

  3. The Drones

  4. The Varroa Mites

It’s that simple, you have mites, and it’s time to treat or your bees will die over the winter. Even hands-off approaches to beekeeping requires mite treatments.

As a responsible beekeeper, you must treat for mites


Skip ahead if you know this or don’t care. Varroa Mites were accidentally introduced in the United States in the late 80’s from Japan. Before that, they were not a problem in the states and thus no one thought about them.

Varroa went unchecked and quickly spread to Canada, the States and Mexico, wiping out entire colonies. Over the years the treatment changed as the mites began to resist treatment methods, this meant that new ideas and methods needed to be employed every few years. Thus, what worked well a few years ago, may not work anymore.

Coming from a farming background, I like to employ “crop rotation” methods where I change up what I hit them with.

In the spring I use oxalic acid. Late summer I use ApiGuard, and in the fall I use Apivar strips. I have found this to be an effective measure to keep numbers down. Notice I don’t say “eliminated”.


I like to employ two methods of fall treatments back-to-back

  1. Apivar Strips

  2. Oxalic Acid Vapor

Apivar Strips

Apivar is actually a mild pesticide applied on time-released strips. I like this method as it gets the entire mite lifecycle and has extremely high efficiency rate. They are kind of expensive, and must be used upon opening the package, so keep that in mind.

Application is simple

  1. open package and insert a toothpick through the end hole

  2. at your hive, remove supers and get to bottom most brood box.

  3. find where the brood concentration is, typically the center frames

  4. place two strips, diagonally across from each other, about three frames apart into the hive

  5. repeat for each brood box containing brood

  6. close hive up

Oxalic Acid Vapor

This method is relatively new but is highly effective in killing phoretic mites, or mites that are on the body of a bee. It DOES NOT kill mites that are still in the cells, but will wipe out up to 90% - 99% of hatched mites.

Oxalic acid is dangerous to breath, so special care is needed to use this method. Nothing fancy, just something to be aware of.


  1. Oxalic Acid

  2. Oxalic Acid Vaporizor

  3. Car or Motorcycle 12v battery

  4. Old rag/Foam strips to block entrance

  5. Goggles

  6. Respirator

My Oxalic treatment kit

My Oxalic treatment kit


Prepare all items for use.

  1. Set all your equipment out for easy reach

  2. Ensure that the vaporizer cables are untangled and that the clips are not attached to the battery.

  3. Put on goggles and mask.

  4. Put on beekeeping safety gear you would normally wear during a typical inspection.

  5. If your hive has a migratory cover, crack the top a tiny bit. Placing a pencil, chopstick, 3 quarters, etc. underneath is sufficient to allow venting.


Put Oxalic acid into the vaporizer pan.

  1. Put 1 gram per brood box of oxalic acid into the pan of the vaporizor

  2. Set the vaporizer near the entrance of the hive

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Insert the vaporizer into the hive and block entrance.

  1. Carefully slide the vaporizer into the hive, pan forward.

  2. Using the hive tool, block the entrance with foam or rags into entrance completely blocking entrance.

  3. The blocking should cover the front of the entrance ensuring no bees or vapors escape.


Start a timer and hook up the vaporizer to the battery

  1. Using a timer or watch, make note of the time.

  2. Connect the vaporizer to the battery using the clips

    1. BLACK to Negative (-) post

    2. RED to Positive (+) post

  3. Leave connected for three (3) minutes.


After three (3) minutes, disconnect the battery.

  1. Disconnect the vaporizer from the battery by removing the clips.

  2. Leave the vaporizer inserted in the hive with entrance blocked by the foam.

  3. Wait for an additional 8 - 15 minutes

Jason Kardong