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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    97

    Question

    Ok, from what I've read, I see that the size of brood and honey storage cells vary in size. Can I use the two interchangeably or is this a bad idea? It looks like I might have extra brood comb (from dead hives) that I thought would put the other bees at a head start if they had drawn comb for honey storage. The comb was drawn out last year, so is still quite light in color.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lynnville, Ia, USA
    Posts
    165

    Post

    The cells in the brood boxes and the honey supers are the same size unless you have something that has a lot of drone cells in it. It is possible for the cells in the brood chamber to become slightly smaller after years of use. Each bee leaves a cacoon in the cell. These build up over time and the cells become slightly smaller.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    Unless you are regressing to small cell, I would use them interchangably. The only time they are much different is when the bees build whatever they want. Otherwise if you use "standard" 5.4mm foundation it's already large by bees standards, so other than some occasional drone comb, they will not build much that is in between. If you have more than 10% drone comb, I would cull it or only use it in supers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Hillsboro, NH usa
    Posts
    69

    Post

    When do you have to "recycle" older comb? I've got a few frames of black comb that the bees were still using for brood, but then packed with pollen and honey in the fall. If I put it in a brood chamber, will they use the stores and lay in it or should I just scrape it clean for them to reuse (plastic foundation)?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    I had not realized until I got on this board that there are some (mostly in Europe, but some in the US) who believe that old balck comb is "dirty". I personally would not cull it unless it has more than 10% drone comb on it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Wyoming MN
    Posts
    406

    Post

    A couple things here
    First, as far as interchanging honey and brood comb, If you are chemical free that shouldn't be a problem. However, if you used any miticide (or any drug)in your brood nest, it is not recommended to then use it for honey that might be extracted and used by people. I know that some people extract from brood comb, but that was discouraged in the class I took.
    Second, the old comb issue. It was suggested in this same class that while old comb isn't necessarily bad or dirty, a larger amount of AFB and other diseases show up on older comb. No one recommended starting fresh, but perhaps a 10% replacement of the oldest comb each year. By pulling the oldest yuckiest frame out of each box, you can get a decent replacement rate without starting from scratch.
    Michelle

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    >First, as far as interchanging honey and brood comb, If you are chemical free that shouldn't be a problem. However, if you used any miticide (or any drug)in your brood nest, it is not recommended to then use it for honey that might be extracted and used by people.

    True, but usually it happens more the other way around. I take empty drawn comb that has been extracted and put it in the brood nest.

    >I know that some people extract from brood comb, but that was discouraged in the class I took.

    What are you going to do with it then? I extract it and feed the honey back to the bees.

    >Second, the old comb issue. It was suggested in this same class that while old comb isn't necessarily bad or dirty, a larger amount of AFB and other diseases show up on older comb. No one recommended starting fresh, but perhaps a 10% replacement of the oldest comb each year. By pulling the oldest yuckiest frame out of each box, you can get a decent replacement rate without starting from scratch.

    Since ALL the combs have AFB in them, more or less it seems like a waste. It takes one bee their whole life to collect 1/2 teaspoon of honey. It takes 7 pounds of honey to make a pound of wax. That's a lot of bee lives.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Wyoming MN
    Posts
    406

    Post

    Michael, believe it or not, I have spoken to oldtimers who would eat or sell the honey they extracted from the broodcomb. Pre-chem that wouldn't have been a big deal. And my impression with the 10% comb swap was as a preventative, not a way to deal with the disease after it showed up. The theory was that disease is more likely to show up on the older comb, so by slowly weeding out the oldest, maybe you can stay ahead of it. This was also a class that still advocated meds though, so perhaps comb that has never been exposed to those things would be different. I'm still learning....

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