This seems to be a hot topic. I assume the most desirable technique would render contaminated combs usable without destroying them. I have heard several options discussed:
Radiation (gamma & EBR)
80% acetic acid
I have not seen bleach discussed. Could dunking or spraying combs in a strong solution of bleach sterilize them? I know several old timers who claim that they actually spray a 50:50 solution of household bleach to H2O on heavily infested live chalk brood colonies and the bees actually live through it and eliminate a ton of trash from the hive afterward and produce healthy brood patterns. Bleach is bactericidal and anti fungal (Nosema is a fungus), why not dunk and air dry equipment? It seems that the anecdotal reports suggest that bees tolerate chlorine well and most of it would volitize out of the combs during the drying process.
What all pathogens does the acetic acid treatment eliminate? I have heard chalkbrood and Nosema, but does it effect AFB or EFB spores?
I have seen some studies showing gamma radiation was extremely effective for sterilizing hives. Who provides these services, specifically on the west coast?
If we could find an affordable technique of comb sterilization that eliminated pathogens and pesticide residues it would be a great benefit to our industry; especially in light of the vast quantity of "CCD" dead outs.