Mr. Bruno Becker,
the inventor of the NASSENHEIDER Evaporators
(our first product for beekeepers), tells about himself:

Born in 1928I spent my childhood in Malchow, 100 km northern of Berlin.

After 10 school years I started a professional training and became an electrician. Thereupon a decade followed, when I worked at different assembling firms in high voltage engineering, industrial complexes and shipbuilding. In 1958 I graduated with a master certificate.

In 1960 I settled down in Nassenheide, 40 km northern of Berlin.

There I had lived during 4 decades. I had worked mostly at the drawing-board, at experimental facilities and created more than 20 innovations. Testing, puzzling out has been my life and so I am still doing nowadays.

I have been married since 1953 and I am father of two children. After 40 years in Nassenheide my wife and I left that area and we now live with our daughter at the southern suburban area of Berlin.

Since 1968 I have been operating beekeeping. Reasons for starting beekeeping were next to additional earnings sadly also of sciatica. That is much better now. During summer at odd times I get a helpful sting from my bees and in case I have these sciatica aches in winter, I provoke a sting at the entrance of a hive.

Temporary I worked with 50 hives at home and in a migratory trailer. With the trailer I travelled to fruit, rape and red clover fields in the surrounding area.

In 1982 I discovered the very first Varroa mites at my apiary. Then these parasites from South East Asia also reached Nassenheide. Firstly nearly every chemical device was suitable for fighting the plague. However shortly afterwards concerns about possible residues in honey came up. Many people are anxious about the chemical products, which do not exist naturally but are developed in laboratories. They are concerned that these products could cause health risks even in a very small dose.

Indeed formic acid could provide a way out. It has been used in conserving fruits for a long time. Furthermore a small amount of formic acid is already naturally in honey. Soon after its application it disappears due to evaporation. A further advantage is it is not expensive.

Handling with formic acid demands conscientious precaution. Therefore the beekeeper should not only consider the instructions for treatment from the manufacturer. He should also pay attention to the special safety instructions at his location.

Like many others I firstly tried the so-called beer mat method. Therefore every few days a beer mat was soaked with 6-20 ml formic acid and put upon the floorboard.

But it was not satisfying. At an outside temperature of 8°C the temperature at the floorboard varied between 10°C and 32°C. Sometimes strong hives became furious and balled the queen.

Less strong hives retreated because of the strange odour. In that case too less formic acid evaporated.

Thereupon I started some improvised long time experiments by applying regular doses between the top bars of the brood combs and the hive cover. This method was already a little better. The temperature varied less, nevertheless still too much. Furthermore it was time consuming.

With a particular size of the evaporating device the surrounding temperature should be almost constant. Then the brood nest temperature presented itself.

Thereupon I developed the first samples. They were tested many years in the district of Oranienburg 40 km northern of Berlin and in the Freie Universität Berlin. My good results concerning eradication of the Varroa Mites and the wholesomeness of the bees were certificated.

Since then roughly 500.000 devices named “Nassenheider Evaporator” have been sold and many beekeepers all over the world know them now.

Especially the commercial beekeepers often complain of the workload related to searching the right place near the brood combs. Therefore I developed a method with good results even if the distance to the brood nest will be increased.

After many experiments, lasting for months with most different shaped wicks and materials, the “Horizontal Evaporator” was found. A beekeeper who is already using the conventional Nassenheider Evaporator can order an upgrading kit.

The combination of the U-shaped wick with the large horizontal wick enables a much better reaction inside the influenced environment. Fig. 1 shows the different dependencies of both versions on the temperature.

The advanced version can be placed in an empty brood chamber from above, fastened in a frame and then introduced as the last frame in the brood chamber or in side-operating hives between the window and the last comb. These opportunities will take less working time.

However in my mind the application in late fall is much more important. At that time there are no susceptible house bees. The danger of re-infection from the neighbourhood is very low since the bees hardly ever fly. With a little higher dose and formic acid 85% I reached clearly better results than in August and September.

Fig. 2 shows in which drastic way I could reduce the Varroa Mites.




FORMIC ACID 60%   g per day

FORMIC ACID 85%     g per day


MITE FALL               per day

























































Fig. 2 

Formic acid treatments of a colony with 2 brood chambers, altogether 20 combs

from 30.09.1997 till 13.10.1997

and counting mites below a screened frame until 14.05.1998.

Please remember: 20g formic acid 85% contains approximately as much

pure formic acid as 27g formic acid 60%.

But in spite of my experience and my success I am only a hobby beekeeper and an amateur with a few hives. For this reason my results are not everywhere accepted. At some times that circumstance can be very frustrating e.g. if I try to publish some of my research results in a scientific periodical. After reading the guidelines for authors more efforts are in my mind rather useless. I do not own any institute and therefore my opportunities to share my results are very limited. (if I should engage one my licence fee surely very soon were worn out and I afterwards as wise as before since the money were not enough.)

Foreign editors mostly do not even answer.

On the other hand I think my activities were very helpful for the growing acceptance of formic acid.

Maybe this corner could be the right place for more help and interest?

Perhaps the Internet offers a chance to exchange experiences with interested beekeepers.

Looking at it from the ecological and economical point of view, formic acid is in my mind the most effective remedy for Varroa. Additionally it is speculated that it works fine also for Tracheal Mites.

Two different mites with one remedy?

Is that feasible? Probably other beekeepers will know more details about that issue. As I have been working for more than 10 years with formic acid, I possibly don’t know the problem.

If you are interested in the subject or if you would like to ask any question, don’t hesitate to visit my own Homepage http://www.bienen-becker.de/ or/and send me an eMail at bienen.becker@gmx.de:

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