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Indirect effects of oxalic acid administered by trickling method on honey bee brood

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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 44 (4) pp. 172 - 174
DOI 10.3896/IBRA.
Date December 2005
Article Title Indirect effects of oxalic acid administered by trickling method on honey bee brood
Author(s) F Hatjina, L Haristos
Abstract The effects of oxalic acid administered by the trickling method on brood development of honey bee colonies were evaluated (a) by observing the development of marked cells of young (< 3 days old) and old (> 3 days old) larvae, and (b) by measuring the area of open brood for several weeks post application. Oxalic acid, dissolved in a 50% sugar solution, with an end concentration of 3% w/v oxalic acid, was applied twice by the trickling method during summer to 10 colonies. A high percentage of young (12.6% and 9.5%) and old honey bee larvae (10.6% and 5.6%) were removed from their cells after the first and second oxalic acid applications, respectively. The surface of the open brood area was also reduced by 17.5% after the two oxalic acid applications and stayed low for about two months. For the same period of time the open brood area in 10 control colonies increased by 34.5%. The two oxalic acid applications removed 60 ± 12% of varroa mites adhering to adult honey bees, while the natural fall of mites measured in control colonies (for a period of 40 days) was 32 ± 4%. Combining the detrimental effect on brood development with the low relative effectiveness on varroa removal, oxalic acid application by the trickling method when open brood is present is not as safe as has been regarded in the past. Consideration needs to be given to the use of different sugar and oxalic acid concentrations in the treatment solution in order to minimize its adverse effects on open honey bee brood.
Keywords oxalic acid, varroa, Varroa destructor, trickling, open brood, larvae, detrimental effects, efficiency, control methods