there is a gentleman who wants to give me his used bee equiptment cause he no longer wants to do it , I dont want to sound ungreatfull but is this a good idea , his stuff has been sitting for about 5 years and has some condition problems but i am sure i can salvage a hive or 2 out of it .
he is verry nice and has offered me many boxes with frames both drawn and undrawn some with foundation and some not , all very sun bleached and used heavely , any ideas ?
I know this is an older thread but I'm new and have just gone through this same thing. from what I have read, it is ok to use old comb and equiptment as long as it is cleaned and sanitzed with chemicals or fire. I used fire for the old stuff that was given to me that is 18 years old. the combs that I thought were good did end up having hive beetle larve and so I decided not to use the old combs but the frames, boxes, bottom board and lid that I got are all cleaned, painted and looking good!! I won't have my bees until the end of this week, but all the local bees have come to check out the hive and seem to be loving it!! I read somewhere that bees love "old bee smell" and are attracted to it, so my hope is that my bees will feel at home in their new hive! I can keep you posted about their progress in the old hive if you would like?!
The biggest concern with old equipment is whether it has ever had American foulbrood or European foulbrood in it (although EFB is not supposed to have spores that are left behind). Otherwise, any wax and wooden ware should still be good to my knowledge.
If there is any question whether the hive was ever diseased with EFB it may be better to discard the comb and char the wooden ware, although I will admit that I am dealing with EFB in 2 of my hives right now and don't plan on destroying my wax in those hives (though that is one management technique for EFB).
Even the older boxes that may be torn up at the top or bottoms can be useful... I took some old boxes that were given to me but had huge gaps at the bottom, cut the bottom off of that one, then cut the bottom off of one with a torn up top, and glued and stapled the pieces together to make one deep hive body. With a table saw and an air powered staple gun I was able to make 2 in about 20 min... at $10 each that's $60/hour!!!
If there is reason to believe that the equipment ever was contaminated with AFB all the equipment should be burned. AFB has spores that will last for many 10's of years