It used to be quite simple. Bees were treated with a 3.2 percent oxalic acid solution during the depths of winter – ideally when there is no brood present. Some suggested that the dribbling of the liquid harmed bees but I have seen little evidence of it and no queen issues either. However we are now not supposed to use the stuff unless it’s stronger and it is supplied with sugar and an anti-caking agent from a branded supplier. The UK authorities have long ‘tolerated’ oxalic acid; the reason being, I understand, is that it has not been formerly ‘approved’ which is an expensive process for something so very cheap. Is the new ‘approved’ stuff supposed to be better despite being stronger that the usual UK concentration? I don’t see how it will be any better for the bees or the beekeeper as the new stuff is stronger so could cause more damage to the bees in our care (why?) and oxalic acid residues fall to a low (undetectable) level pretty quickly in any case.
We are supposed to write down any vetinary medicines we put into our hives which makes sense. I have no problem with that and it’s what I do. However if I were to use oxalic acid crystals in winter and not make a note of it, no one would know as it would be undetectable. If I did make a note of it, would I be in trouble? Despite the oxalic crystals being the same as the branded oxalic acid with added sugar and anti-cake?
Maybe I can wait until spring and put in MAQS which HAS killed my bees and queens when used in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. MAQS is approved so it must be OK then!