Acetic Acid Fumigation

If you have old brood frames it is always a good idea to fumigate them before using them again to kill Nosema spores and wax moth. However,  be sure they don’t come from a hive where the bees died of AFB. If you aren’t sure, or if frames contain patches of old sealed brood it’s probably best to burn them.

If the wax is old and very black it is best to strip these frames down and add fresh foundation in the spring – you’ll seldom find AFB in nice clean frames.

Here’s what to do:

First of all, be aware that acetic acid is not a nice chemical and the sort you need is 80%, which is much, much stronger than vinegar. It will burn you if you get it on your hands and have similar effect on your eyes so wear gloves and goggles. If you inhale it, it could strip your lungs as well so don’t inhale.

Also, it will rot concrete or metal if you spill it so don’t.

  • Set the brood box filled with the frames you want to fumigate on a solid timber floor with the entrance blocked off with foam.
  • Disposable nappies make great fume pads. Take a disposable nappy/fume pad and spread, it absorbent side up, across the top bars. Pour 120ml acetic acid onto the nappy.
  • If you have more than one box, just stack them up on top of each other. A nappy and 120ml of acetic acid on top should be enough for a 3-4 box stack.
  • Add a shallow eke, upside down, empty section-crate or an empty super then cover with a solid roof or crownboard and make sure there are no leaks for the fumes to escape.
  • Leave for one week. Don’t leave for much longer or the acid will get to work on your frame nails.
  • Remove the fume pads and allow the boxes to air for a few days before using. If you’re not going to use them for a while just stack them away and they’ll be grand.

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