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Author Topic: Reusing Old Frames & Supers?  (Read 3061 times)
meliss_
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« on: January 20, 2009, 05:17:29 PM »

Last season I moved to a new property that had existing hives and old equipment on it.  In trying to make the best of what I had, I used old hive bodies, supers and frames to rehive a colony that swarmed. Mice and other insects had been living in them (obviously not used for years) and we were only able to brush and hose them out with water.  The bees did not do well in these hives.  I don't doubt that the untidy conditions had something to do with it.  However, I don't know if the bees are still in the hive or not.  If I open it up to check, will the cold kill them? 

In the coming spring, we are considering starting with new packaged bees.  I need some opinions about equipment though.

Is it safe to reuse the hive body and supers, and just replace the frames and foundation?
Or should the entire setup be replaced and start completely fresh?

Is there is a safe, non-toxic way to clean the supers?

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2009, 07:29:58 PM »

It is a risk I accept, but some won't.  Some scorch the equipment.  Some boil it in lye water. Some "boil" it in paraffin.  Some won't use it.   Some just use it as it is.  Some of it is if you know the history and if you know how to identify scale in the brood comb.
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wayne
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2009, 07:27:58 PM »

 I use what I have and don't sweat it.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2009, 07:57:56 PM »

I would not use comb or frames from an unknown source. The boxes, including the bottoms and tops, can be scorched out with a propane torch. Then a nice coat of paint (outside) will make them look good again. The woodenware, with a minimal amount of effort, will have almost no risk of disease such as AFB. Almost all AFB from used equipment is from the concentration of spores on the comb. Keep contaminated comb out of your hives, and the rest of the equipment can be used with almost no risk.
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davedill
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2009, 07:44:47 PM »

My sweet old grandma gave me a hive consisting of a bottom board, 2 deeps and 2 supers from my grandfather.  It has been in the basement for 8-10 years.  He host the colony for some reason and he scorched the inside of the box but never got another swarm.

I disposed the frames and there were several dozen groves in the deeps and I did find one cocoon over one of the droves.  I assume wax moths.  Is there any reason I don't reuse the boxes?  I was planning on scorching them again and painting the outside.  I don't have a digital camera with my to take a picture of the grooves.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2009, 01:34:00 AM »

My sweet old grandma gave me a hive consisting of a bottom board, 2 deeps and 2 supers from my grandfather.  It has been in the basement for 8-10 years.  He host the colony for some reason and he scorched the inside of the box but never got another swarm.

I disposed the frames and there were several dozen groves in the deeps and I did find one cocoon over one of the droves.  I assume wax moths.  Is there any reason I don't reuse the boxes?  I was planning on scorching them again and painting the outside.  I don't have a digital camera with my to take a picture of the grooves.

Re-scorching might not be necessary but it's not a bad idea.  I would also have 86'd the frames after that long of time.  Repaint, get new frames, and install bees.  Should be fine.
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TNsTeve
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2009, 11:53:14 AM »

They claim that merely scorching the equipment with a torch won't kill the diseases... They suggest boiling in lye water.... I have taken the Beemaster course taught here in TN by the State of TN bee inspectors... also, the course designed to inspect and move your own hives.  What I would suggest, if you're starting out with a new swarm, I would go with new equipment.  Bees aren't cheap... neither is equipment.. but at least you'll play it safe and start out with knowns... On used equipment that you have no history on, I wouldn't take a chance.  Is there any local bee clubs in your area?  If you can find someone to work with and learn beekeeping or possibly a local to buy a few hives from (3 is a good number).  As far as opening the hive up, I prefer a sunny day in the 70's... A good rule of thumb is to make sure they're flying good, and you'll probably be ok... When I'm in my hives, I work reasonably fast, the longer you take dabbling around, the quicker the smoke wears off (I only use smoke on the cranky hives when no honey flow is going)
Good luck!
Steve
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