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Thread: Life of Comb?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    92

    Question

    The comb of a hive I purchased from a retired commercial beekeeper is noticeably darker (deep brown) than comb from a hive I purchased from a member of the bee club we belong to, which in turn is darker than newly-drawn comb.

    Is there a "useful life" for comb, after which it should be removed and the bees allowed to draw new comb? If these combs are disease free, can they be used indefinitely?

    I read that it takes around 9 pounds of honey to create one pound of comb, so reusing comb is highly desireable to the efficiency of a hive.
    Oyster<br />Concord, CA <br />San Francisco Bay Area

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,458

    Post

    A lot of mine is black. Some people replace them regularly. If I remember right, Axtman's test is to hold it up and see if you can see the sunlight through it.

    Among those who try to change the comb, typical is to try to replace all the combs every five years or so.

    I've never culled a comb because it was old.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    Rather than use chemicals, the Europeans use brood comb replacement to prevent foulbrood and other diseases. This has proven to work for them, and it has worked for me as well. I personally think that if a brood comb is older than 10 years, it should absolutely be discarded. I prefer to change out brood comb after 5 years, but a little more wouldn't hurt. AFB spores and other diseases tend to accumulate in the brood comb, and over time it will reach a point where there is an outbreak in the bees. The same is not true with supers- they don't have to be regularly changed out.

    That 9 pounds of honey is a dang good investment when you consider that you could lose one or more hives to foulbrood at any time with really old comb.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
    Posts
    848

    Post

    If seen comb that was black & hard as a rock,The bee's will quit using it,I changed some out yesterday for an older man that is not able.
    He said that it was about 10-12 yr's old.The bee's was putting alittle honey in it(not much),But the queen was not laying in them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    92

    Post

    Michael, Curry and Mark,

    Thanks for the input. I'll label my frames with the month and year of use, and replace as appropriate to the application.
    Oyster<br />Concord, CA <br />San Francisco Bay Area

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Central NC
    Posts
    29

    Post

    Lets say I want to replace two old looking frames of comb. Where should I put the new frames of foundation? On the ends, in the middle, or somewhere in between?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    92

    Post

    Adding to JLD's request, would the location of the new foundations differ when used in supers and brood boxes?
    Oyster<br />Concord, CA <br />San Francisco Bay Area

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