My current problem is major wax moth damage. I'm not sure how boiling (or heating) will work on this, but I hope it helps.
If you have wax and such. The water bath will melt it all out. You will be left with a frame that has a light coat of wax on it and the wires (if you have wires?). Once in a while bit of slum. But is scrapes right off. Hint: the frames scrape real quick if do them right after they come out. But this is only practical for small amounts or if you can get a helper.
I really don't want to buy new frames nor do I want to build new frames.
Micheal I have processed 1000's of frames. It will work. But to tighten wires back up so you don't have to re-wire you should really get a wire crimper there about $10 bucks or so from brushy mountain. In about 5 seconds the frame is tightened back up like new. Your frames won't be ruined either. I can only vouch for the way I do it.
Hi Clay and Michael,
You say you don't treat against AFB. Clay, you also say that you take frames with AFB and burn them. I have heard and read that once you got AFB, that's it. you better burn the whole thing. So, how do you make sure that it hasn't spread to other apparently uninfected frames?
Do you do anything else to prevent it? Is there anything else?
Although recently I bought a can of the stuff, I hate the idea of using antibiotics (fall or spring) so, there it is untouched, waiting to rot. Then again, I hate just as much loosing all the bees to these stinky bacteria.
Another question: what is wrong with the little clothes-pins-looking pins used to hold the foundation? I have used only that and the comb has held just fine when extracting. It takes seconds to put them on (I only use 4 per frame too).
Clay, in another section I asked you a couple of days ago where exactly in NY you live because it surprises me that you leave the entrance open all winter. Don't the bees freeze to death when it drops to 10 degrees or less?
>Hi Clay and Michael,
You say you don't treat against AFB.
Whether I should is another matter. My problem is it goes against my grain. I too have some terramycin sitting on the shelf unused because I don't have the heart to give it to them. My theory (shared by some others) is that AFB is a stress disease, not a bacterial one. In the old days they were still in the "eradicate" mode. Now that it seems to be accepted that you can't, I think people are rethinking it.
> Clay, you also say that you take frames with AFB and burn them. I have heard and read that once you got AFB, that's it. you better burn the whole thing. So, how do you make sure that it hasn't spread to other apparently uninfected frames?
Back to the "eradicate" philosophy. They were going to eradicate mosquitoes and flys back when I was a kid. You can see how well that worked.
>Do you do anything else to prevent it? Is there anything else?
Dee Ludsby thinks small cell (4.9mm) will prevent it. I have never had any experience with it at all. Dee had some and that's what she did to get rid of it. (Feel free to correct me, Dee, if I'm wrong) It goes back to the stress thing.
>Although recently I bought a can of the stuff, I hate the idea of using antibiotics (fall or spring) so, there it is untouched, waiting to rot.
>Then again, I hate just as much loosing all the bees to these stinky bacteria.
>Another question: what is wrong with the little clothes-pins-looking pins used to hold the foundation? I have used only that and the comb has held just fine when extracting.
I use them all the time even when I'm using wire, but then I wire an "X". One wire on one side and one on the other. Then I use the pins in between to hold it straight. Without wires and just pins, I think you'd have trouble extracting the same frames over and over and you'd have to be more careful about the speed of the extractor, but they might work. Especially if you're using shallow or medium depth frames. I'm using nothing but deeps (except for cut comb), so I need more reinforcment.
>It takes seconds to put them on (I only use 4 per frame too).
I think they are simple, cheap and easy to use and help keep the wax straight. I've had enough of it get warped and ended up with crooked combs that I ended up culling after extraction anyway.
>Clay, in another section I asked you a couple of days ago where exactly in NY you live because it surprises me that you leave the entrance open all winter. Don't the bees freeze to death when it drops to 10 degrees or less?
I'm curious about this one. Also the people leaving the screened bottom boards open all winter. I worry about my bees getting cold and I close the entrance up quite small.
You say you don't treat against AFB. Clay, you also say that you take frames with AFB and burn them.
I don't treat, correct. I'm working toward organic beekeeping without any chems, oils, or acids and so forth. So one has to go back to the way AFB was dealt with before sulfur, and TM were used.
I have heard and read that once you got AFB, that's it. you better burn the whole thing.
If that were the case we all must burn. AFB is probably present in all colonies in nature. It is just under control. Burning whole colonies was started by many states as most begginers didn't have much or any knowlege of fouls and often the equipment to save the wax. So over kill was implimented to contain the disease. For most begginers is probably not a bad idea.
So, how do you make sure that it hasn't spread to other apparently uninfected frames?
Ok. I have two ways here. One if only a few cells are found on 1 comb no more than 5 cells. I pull the comb and the two adjacent and replace with foundation. This takes care of it about 60% of the time. The infected combs are destroyed. The colony is marked and no splits or comb swaping for a year.
Now if the colony has more than 5 cells or on multiple frames. Or the above comes down again. Then I do an old fashion shakedown onto foundation and destroy the frames. The bees are saved and removed from the disease (No flying for three days). Which is a brood disease not a box disease. One can scorch boxes if it makes them feel better. I haven't had this fail to work. If such a colony came down with afb after the above, then I guess the next step would be to destroy the colony. Something I haven't yet had to do.
Do you do anything else to prevent it? Is there anything else?
Only keep strong hives as best as possible. Other than that deal with it when it occurs. But for the most part AFB isn't to common here.
Then again, I hate just as much loosing all the bees to these stinky bacteria.
AFB is always there. The drugs just cover up the symptoms it doesn't cure it. Then you swap frames for a number of years. Then decide to not treat. Bam! Big outbreak. Now do you put the medicine back to them? Or deal with the problem? Wouldn't it have been cheaper to deal with it as it comes along?
Another question: what is wrong with the little clothes-pins-looking pins used to hold the foundation?
Nothing. I find they are fine for brood combs. But in the long run wiring is best for strength. I've tried cheating around wiring. In the end just couldn't get around it for long life combs. I find that extracting with pin combs is OK in warm weather. But if one does it when cooler or using smaller cell sized combs you get alot of blow outs.
Clay, in another section I asked you a couple of days ago where exactly in NY you live because it surprises me that you leave the entrance open all winter.
I live in Crown Point, NY. On Lake Champlain right next to VT. In the foot hills of the Adirondack Mountains. I leave entrances open but with mouse gaurds and top entrances too. I use no wrapping either in a three deep setup. Snow covers the bottom entrances and blocks wind and often much of the hives. I don't find that cold kills bees. Not giving them more than enough winter stores does. I like about 120 pounds sometimes more. I have tries many colony setups and fined this gives me the strongest hives with the minimum of work.
Michael and Clay,
Thanks for your thorough replies. Since I am new in the trade, I don't have enough experience to judge what the books say. So, it's great to read your experiences.
Tell me another thing. What counts as a top entrance? A 1/2" to 3/4" hole somewhere around the handles? How many per box? (I am using only deep boxes).
What counts as a top entrance? A 1/2" to 3/4" hole somewhere around the handles?
I use a 3/4" notch in the inner covers with commercially bought equipment. I also use plywood inner covers, just 1/2" plywood cut box dimentions so it is flush. You get 11 inner covers out of a sheet of plywood. If ths sheet is 13 to 15 bucks. Each inner cover is less than 1.50 a piece. You need to save $$$ where you can. Anyways I cut a V- notch in the front of the inner cover so it makes a top entrance.
I don't drill holes in my hive bodies or supers as I use escape boards. All equipment I like to be bee tight. But that is a choice one has to make.
I also make my own outer covers. They have a 2 1/2 inch overhang so that the lip of the lid covers over the notch in the inner covers to block wind. Yet the cover (outer) is slide all the way forward so there is enough room for bees to take cleansing flights and ventilation. To block the upper entrance to move bees to other yards, I slide the cover all the way back to block the hole and strap down the hives. For long distances one can duct tape the upper notch just for added insurance should a cover somehow move.
How many per box? (I am using only deep boxes).
If you decide to use holes in the boxes. I would use no more than one per box or just one in the top box. But with the later you have to play the reversing game to always get the right box on top.
Clay you were talking about going organic with your honey. I just came back from the Georgia Beekeeping Association semiannual meeting. I talked with several people about organic honey and found many different views.
The biggest was that you can never know where the bees are going for the nector and pollen. Lets not forget if some neighbor starts spraying his garden with whatever, or dumps some kitchen "sweet" scraps into his trash can, that will draw the bees in. I know that I can do my part, with what I DON'T put into my hives, but what can I do about all of this other stuff.(besides move to some island with my bees and become a hermit)
Another thing I've "tried" to sift through some of the guidlines for organic honey standards and haven't found what I've been looking for is there a web sight that could help me?
Anything big enough for a bee to exit at the top. Some inner covers come with a notch in them that works if the telescopic top is slid forward, the notch on the inner cover is forward and down.
I use the DE conversion kit (www.beeworks.com) and it has a toggle kind of a pivoting top entrance. (see the plans for double screen board on this site for that kind of entrance) I make inner covers this way myself also.
Some people just drill a hole in the top box, but I think it's too easy to forget you have a hole when you're closing it up to move it or using a bee escape to clear it etc.
When I drill a hole I usually go a bit bigger with the theory that I don't want the field bees to have to go through a queen excluder to get to the supers. So I make a hole about an inch. 5/16" would work, but would be a bit tricker for the bees to get lined up for a landing.
When I say organic, I mean produced by organic methods (the beekeepers part). I'm not on the fanatical side. This is regardless of what my neighbors are doing. If they spray insecticide then my insect die right? Bees don't normally suck on toxic waste either. So heres what I feel: The beekeeper and his practices use zero dopes, oils,acids, ect. The bees can forage normally. Even if they suck two drops out of a root beer can. No adulterated honey (with knowledge so the two root beer drops don't count).So Only natural feeds the bees use in nature (real honey and pollen). No GM crops in the area if possible to know. So it boils down to just basic beekeeping with out the extras added.
I think I'm going to go for the same thing. A beekeeper can only do so much. I cringe every time I hear what people are putting in there hives.
Thanks for your views.
I think the only danger is that some people use this philosophy to justify their apathy. You still need to pay attention and take steps to help your bees. I just don't like using all the chemicals. I think most beekeepers are similar in their thinking.
The strongest will prevail! Now don't get me wrong, I nore anyone can afford to let all there hives go at once but if you take one step at a time and let nature take its corse you will find that some of your hives don't need any treatments.
If everyone stoped using chemicals in there hives would honey bees cease all to gether? No of corse not, it would take time but the bees would come back! I have found more and more beekeepers that have just let some hives go to find that they don't just die off. If we keep hold of the chemicals the chemicals will keep hold of us (and the bees).
[This message has been edited by BILLY BOB (edited October 28, 2002).]
I must agree totally. I live in a rural area, and farmers have fruit and vegtable shops all around. They all say the same thing, " 30 years ago, I sprayed for blight, potato beetles, and weeds. Now, I spray for those 3, and all of the "things" the spraying has created." Most farmers would love to go organic, but can't for financial reasons. But the oldtimers all tell me, to try to keep the bees organically raised as much as possible. But that does not mean, you can't encourage a practice that produces results. I am going to try regressing to smaller cells, but fogging as well. I see no harm in spraying oils on the bees. Simply because there are probably many oils bees encounter naturally. Glad I got my 2 cents in!