Hi All! So happy to have found this forum. Both my grandparents and parents have had hives over the years, thought at 85, dad has not had a hive in about 10 years or so. I now own my own home and just picked up equipment that was used by my father and grandfather over the years. Both deep and shallow supers, frames (new and used), hundreds of sheets of wired foundation wax, a wiring board that my grandfather made to help wire the foundation sheets into place, old smokers with leather bellows (some of the leather is cracked, so need to assess that), beekeeper golves, bonnets, etc. Kind of a nice stash, I think.
I do have some questions about getting this equipment ready for use next spring. Many of the used frames were stored in the supers themselves. They don't have foundation wax on them, but I'm seeing what looks kind of like chew marks on some of them (mice?). Also some small burrowed holes that look like insect activity. Some of the boxes - and some of the foundation wax packages - have black grit in them. Off the cuff, I'd guess insect excrement. I'm concerned about this possibility and what it might mean to the health of the future hive. Also, I know dad had some problems with varroa mites in his last colonies (keep in mind, this was about 10 years ago) - I don't know if that information will impact how I move ahead with preparing for setting up a new hive.
So, what would you do to prepare these supers and frames for use once again? How do I best clean them, disinfect them? Can I use the foundation wax that had the black mystery grit in the bottom of the box or has that ship sailed? Any tips on reconditioning the leather on the bellows of the smoker? Thanks so much for any words of wisdom you can share! Sue in CT, USA