Dedicated honey supers?
I know in a perfect world a person would have enough equipment . I was told by another beek that he colour codes his six hives so that he always puts the same honey supers back on the same hives to prevent spread of disease. I am currently running ten hives and I would have to buy a lot more supers to be able to do this. Is it really neccesary?
I think this is not necessary. In any given apairy there is robbing, natural drifting of bees between hives, and a beekeeper helping to transmit any spores which eventually will lead to cross contamination. One may have a better argument for keeping sperate equipment for geographically seperated apairies, but even then, where do you draw the line? Different hive tools, different gloves, different suits?? I don't bother with any of this, but I've never had AFB, which if I ever do get it might greatly impact my perspective.
If you are running a hand full of hives I guess you could try it. IMO I dont think it is nescasary. Disease can be spread from hive to hive several ways. You would have to stop the bees from drifting hive to hive they can spread disease. You would have to use diferent hives tools for each hive, gloves, heck even the clothes you wear have a remote chance of spreading disease. You would have to extract comb and keep the frames from each hive seperate. Opps you will need a seperate extractor for each hive not to mention uncapping knife for each hive. any how I think you get my point. I think color coding would have its advantages by helping keeping track of honey production for each hive. other than that you are working to hard. There are better ways to help prevent disease in the hive.;)
Wouldn't make sense to me either. Are you using a separate hive tool when you visit each hive? Probably not. Cross-contamination is likely to happen despite our best efforts to mitigate it.
And there's always the question of if you have a dead out over winter, would you throw away the supers you had on that hive? It would be impossible to keep everything seperate all of the time.
The idea here is a very good one, and one that can keep things like
foulbrood and Nosema ceranae from spreading within one's
Yes, it is worthwhile to return supers to the hives that filled them
for cleaning. Yes, this does require organization. All one needs
is some stencils for the hives, and a notebook to record what
supers went on which colonies (designated by bottom board
in my scheme of tracking).
It helps that I capitalized with 3 9-frame extractors rather than
a single larger unit, as it allowed me to load one box of frames
(9-frame supers) into each extractor, and keep them together
through the entire harvesting process. (It is very efficient, as
at any one point in time, one extractor is being loaded, another
unloaded, and the 3rd spinning, so the workflow is smooth and uninterrupted. It is also idiot-proof, which helps when one
uncaps and extracts for 3 to 5 days straight 24 hours a day in
Within a season, one wants to do this simply to avoid spreading
disease. There is no need to be so consistent over multiple
seasons, as the only reason to do this is to allow one to avoid
infecting other hives, and one assumes that one finds all one's
problems before fall, and "takes one's losses in fall".
It goes without saying that one does not take frames of brood
from one colony to put into another in this scheme either.
Brood frames and boxes are more mission-critical to the whole
"no cross-contamination" approach.