[Do you think it takes 5 years to contaminate comb?]
[The foundation is already contaminated.]
Unless you are making your own foundation, you have have no idea what is in the wax.
When you startout with nothing you may have to buy someone elses wax.
"Its a bit like unprotected sex, you get what you get."
[I would think it matters what your bees died from.]
Charlie, I agree, this isn't a hard and fast rule for every situation.
You have to be the beekeeper and do what in your bees best interests.
And that might be saving drawn comb, especially if the comb is from the same season.
I suggest replacement should be considered for frames 3 years+ or with signs of disease or pests.
I like to actually do it sooner because I render wax from my brood combs.
Older comb have more cacoons that "wick" up wax for a poorer yeild.
And if I used any chemcials, I'd not reuse rendered wax, you just concentrate the chemicals.
[If you do not use chemicals there is no need to rotate out the old comb.]
That's not entirely true. There are bacteria and fungus that naturally occur in the environment.
Just because chemicals aren't being used doesn't mean that these agents aren't fouling the comb.
The longer that combs stay in, the the more dirty they get, the faster these agents grow and replicate.
I look at the natural cycle that occurs in trees.
The same bees don't stay in the same hive for very long, this is a natural cleansing.
When they leave, mice and moths eat the old combs.
The bees return and start over again.
Comb rotation serves that same natural life cycle, without introducing wax moths of course.
[Sounds like Mr Connor works for a company that makes foundation.]
Hehe- Actually it does a lot for us beekeepers.
He runs a publishing company that re-prints some hard to titles.
Take a look at: http://www.wicwas.com/page3.html