Like many beekeepers, we practice 'Integrated Pest Management' which means we use various methods throughout the year, not just medicines for our bees, to control the number of harmful parasitic mites in the hive.
At this time of year when the Queen is not laying... we use Oxalic Acid to kill the mites, which when there is no brood, (baby bees) in the hive... the Varroa mites have no where to hide, meaning they can be eliminated more successfully! Oxalic acid can be vaporised into the hives, taking all the necessary precautions... or it can be 'dribbled' directly onto the bees.
This year we had 'planned' on using our new vaporiser which plugs into a battery to heat up...
Sadly, our battery died before we could complete all 6 hives... so the remainder were treated with Oxalic syrup solution... unfortunately messier and more intrusive for the bees... (to say they didn't like it is a bit of an understatement!)
But, it means the children can see the efficacy of the two methods by comparing how many Varroa mites drop onto the bottom boards for us to see.... We will tell you the results of our 'very informal' research!!