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Formic acid

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Black Comb 

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I keep seeing this mentioned on here but I've never really investigated.

Anyone care to enlighten me as to the pros and cons and the best time to treat?
 

Black Comb 

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Thanks.
Information on this seems sparse - not much on it in the books.

I know a couple of beeks who use it and say it gets bigger drops than thymol.
 

Poly Hive 

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I was taught it in Germany in the early 90's.

Anyway. Such a claim is arguable. Bigger drop with formic over thymol as they are not comparing the same colony so it is subjective.

I am not saying not to use it, I am saying as it is not in common usage there must be a good reason for it. That reason I do not know.

PH
 
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I have used it and in the sense of killing a lot of mites it certainly works. The problem seem to be that it is perhaps more temperature sensitive than other treatments.

My method was to squirt 20ml of 60% solution onto a bit of cardboard resting on the top bars of the brood frames. I would then repeat it twice more at about 5 day intervals. However, you will also see 30ml recommended and repeated every 2 or 3 days.

If you cut the cardboard to exactly fit the hive you can apply the second and third doses without the bees escaping.
 

oliver90owner 

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I think the reason it is not in common usage is that formic is a strong acid. It requires inhibitors to be added when used for vehicle cleaning, for instance (or it repidly removes zinc coatings on nuts, bolts and anything else). So it really requires protective clothing and a sensible/careful operator experienced with aggressive chemicals.

I am not sure whether it should have an 'irritant' chemical warning label or a 'corrosive' one at the concentration used. Pure acid will have a 'corrosive' label and, as such , certainly cannot be transported by all and sundry - eg not by post. I am thinking 70%, the usual concentration used, will be the same.

It is a volatile liquid and can, if not controlled carefully, either be ineffective or may cause abscondment. From that point of view it needs greater attention to temperature and dose than thymol.

It works just fine. But I would not make a recommendation to all and sundry, especially those with no chemical experience, only a couple of hives, or a nervous disposition.

Bigger drop can mean greater efficacy, so a larger proportion of the mites removed, so the size of the colony is immaterial and it gets to the mites in cells so, arguably, there are fewer damaged bees emerging when treating with formic tha thymol preparations.

It can be a cheaper method too, after the applicators have been purchased.

Regards, RAB
 

Poly Hive 

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There are times Oliver when possibly, arguably you are a wee bit too open....

I was fudging. *grins*

Being serious it is pretty nasty stuff and can cause damage. To you dear beekeeper.

PH
 

Hivemaker. 

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I have used formic in the past in nassenhieder evaporators and the blast method using butchers pads,works well enough if you get it right,can tend to kill or cause some older queens to be killed by using the blast method. The acid i used comes in 25lt containers,food grade acid, at 85%,which is normally diluted down for use.
Looking forward to trying the new mitaway quick strips if they ever get the red tape sorted,one seven day treatment,biodegradable strips,and they also claim it kills the mites in the sealed cells,which i have not found to be entirely true with any of the other methods of delivery.
 

oliver90owner 

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and can cause damage. To you dear beekeeper

Formic acid was used by thousands of housewives back a few decades.

It was marketed under the tradename of Kilrock-K, I believe, possibly among others. Used for descaling kettles, as it attacks limescale easily but not too aggressive on a decent copper kettle or what have you.

So it cannot be that bad to use can it? No comment on what the bees might think of it. The mites certainl don't like it.......

It is still available from Amazon among others. Not sure of the concentration these days, but perhaps many people are not as able, as housewives of decades ago..

Regards, RAB
 

Hivemaker. 

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Formic acid was used by thousands of housewives back a few decades.

It was marketed under the tradename of Kilrock-K,


And still is..
 

oliver90owner 

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Formic acid 85%

£18.50 plus delivery for 5l. Cheaper by the 25l drum and more expensive for smaller quantity.

Regards, RAB
 

Poly Hive 

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I know I will regret this but...........

Wilderness? Expound please? I think, and am most likely wrong that you disapprove of treating for varroa?

So if scientifically tested methods, ie, Lactic, Formic and oxalic acids, carefully used, are highly beneficial to our charges?

Your problem with this is what?

PH
 

beebreeder 

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This video gives new beeks an idea of the safety regs for the use of Mitaway2 formics acid, it is american but the product is the same [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuKM7ajVgjc&feature=related[/ame]
kev
As HM says the new miteaway quickstrips should be great if we ever get them
 

PaleoPerson 

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I use a lot of Formic Acid with my other hobby (palaeontology) and you have to be very careful with this stuff as the above video shows.

Also, now I do not fully know the chemistry here, but had it explained by a chemist many years ago. It is an organic acid that is a weak acid in its concentrated form and a strong acid in its dilute form. Something to do with the available hydrogen atoms that are used when you add water. I have seen the results. Leave it anywhere near concrete and it WILL strip out all of the lime from it. I may not do it on day one, and you may think that you have flushed enough water on it (adding hydrogen molecules) to get rid of it, but it will work over time.

All safety precautions should be observed at all times.
 

oliver90owner 

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Formic acid dissolution of crushed concrete (to find the aggregate:cement ratio) after the sample had been heated to 600 degrees C (to destroy cement hydrates) was a common method 40 years ago. Probably still used these days, for all I know. Obviously worked better with non-calcareous aggregates, but was an adaptable, and fairly good results could be achieved if samples, typically representative of the aggregate used, could be compared for calcium content, in particular.

Regards, RAB
 

wilderness 

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I know I will regret this but...........

Wilderness? Expound please? I think, and am most likely wrong that you disapprove of treating for varroa?

So if scientifically tested methods, ie, Lactic, Formic and oxalic acids, carefully used, are highly beneficial to our charges?

Your problem with this is what?

PH
Hi PH, no regrets necessary. I don't disapprove of treating for varroa but ..

reading the safety warnings (to humans) in the posts about Formic and Oxalic acid got me wondering about the bees safety. Science tells us they kill varroa and usually the bees survive but at what cost to them? We may well be reducing their long term immunity to other pathogens etc. by using this stuff. I've seen posts mentioning that queens are having problems after an oxalic treat and being supersceded or replaced by the beekeeper in their second year.

I might take issue with your use of the words "beneficial to our charges" though! Perhaps "detrimental to varroa" would have been better :boxing_smiley:
 

Hivemaker. 

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Wonder what concentration of formic acid ants spit out,high concentration making it weaker,or low concentration making it stronger.
 

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