How to Build an Oxalic Acid Evaporator


Oxalic acid is used by beekeepers for the control of varroa mites. Varroa mites are a parasite that sucks the blood from the bees causing a loss of productivity and ultimately the death of the bee, according to the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. An oxalic acid evaporator delivers a vapor of oxalic acid to destroy the varroa mites. Commercial oxalic acid evaporators are available from apiary supply outlets but the device can be built from parts available at most hardware stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Copper pipe
  • Copper fittings
  • Propane torch
  • Teflon tape
  • Oxalic acid

Choose a design of oxalic acid evaporator. There are several designs available on the Internet. All are rather simple to construct of parts available from home outlet or hardware stores. The evaporator generally is made of two portions, a pipe that delivers the vapor to the interior of the hive and a magazine where the oxalic acid is held.

Construct the distributor of copper pipe and fitting. The center piece of the piece is a 3/4-inch copper pipe about 3 inches long. Attach a fitting and threaded male connector to one end. This end will be turned into a predrilled hole in the hive. On the other end, fit an elbow with a female threaded opening. The magazine will be turned into this opening.

Construct the magazine of copper pipe and fittings. The magazine is made up of just two pieces. A single piece of 3/4-inch copper pipe, about 3 inches long, is threaded at one end. This threaded connection should fit tightly with the threaded female end of the elbow of the distributor. The other end of the pipe is closed using a cap. The magazine is filled with oxalic acid before the distributor and the magazine are assembled.

Determine the heating source. Most home-built oxalic acid evaporators use a propane torch as a heat source while some commercial evaporators use 12 volt electric heaters.

Tips & Warnings

  • Propane torches can pose a fire hazard to the hive. Make sure the copper components used in the evaporator do not become hot enough to cause combustion of the hive or its components. The evaporator should be handled with heat-proof gloves. The propane torch can be operated at its lowest setting. Oxalic acid vaporizes at around 300 degrees F. Pour water on the evaporator after use to cool the device enough to be handled.
  • Avoid breathing the oxalic acid vapor. It can cause kidney and liver problems. Wash hands thoroughly after handling the oxalic acid powder.

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