OK, I bought Jason's grandfathers hives, which had been lovingly and carefully stored with labels and so forth. I bought them. Twenty six deep boxes full of frames, with LOTS of inner covers, queen excluders, bottoms, and most of a hand-cranked extractor. Not as good as what my husband said he had, but welcome none the less and at a very fair price.
As soon as I had loaded the top few boxes, I started smelling the distinct odor of MOTHBALLS!!!!!
Now, there is enough of the odor-free boxes to get me started because I think I will only start 2 hives this year, but how do I get the smell out of the others????? Even if the BEES don't object the CUSTOMERS WILL!
Also, some of the boxes have very dark wax in them. I can only smell honey on them, but since they still exist I suspect there is a touch of mothball in those, also. They were stacked with many layers of heavy paper between the boxes and weights on top, but still!!!!
If I melt down the wax will any lingering moth ball taint evaporate?
Be happy it smells like moth balls. The alternatives are worse. They stored them that way to keep out the wax moths that would have destroyed all of the comb and put a few dents in the wood as well.
If you let them air out for a few weeks they will smell fine.
If you do want to render the wax, the smell will eveaporate, but I'd still let them air out before melting them down.
I just bought a similar load of things and they all were full of wax moths and mouse nests. They reek of mouse urine. As much as I don't care for the moth ball smell, I'd prefer the moth balls.
Beekeepers who store supers soon learn the only way to do it and not end up with ruined honeycomb from wax moths is to use "paradiclorobenzene" (I think thats the spelling), otherwise known as moth balls. Set them out in fresh air and all the chemical will evaporate, since it is quite volatile. There will be no residue. It is perfectly safe.
Good luck with the bee's Terri !I hope it goes well for you.
With all due respect, beeman, I think the mothBALLS main ingredient is napthalene. I read somewhere that this should not be used in hives. What should be used is the paradichlorabenzene, as you mentioned, which comes in the form of moth CRYSTALS. These are very cheap at Wal-Mart.
I do not know the difference in smell between moth balls and moth crystals, as I don't use either. I will give the old gent the benefit of the doubt and assume they were stored properly. They certainly were stored CAREFULLY!
Each box was labelled with how many frames it had, as well as cryptic remarks like "extracted wet". There was very little dry rot, and less grime than I had expected after being stored so long. It's a pity the outer part of the extractor isn't there, but I have the instruction sheet and I think I can use a rubber maid container in a pinch. It looks like a large salad spinner. Most of what I bought should be fine with a good scrub and some new paint.
There are two kinds of moth balls/crystals. They both smell awful to me and I don't know the difference by smell. The napthalene is not the best for storing combs. If you air them out a few days I'm sure they will be fine. If he was careful in all the labeling etc. I agree it's most likely he was using the appropriate chemicals.
Assuming he was, a few days airing out is sufficient.
Moth balls should NEVER be used on combs in storage.Only the para. crystals are suitable.The nap.moth balls take forever to get the smell out and would probably contaminate any honey stored in them.(I knew a man who used them thinking they were ok-His honey supers still smelled like moth balls at the end of the season)
I'm guessing that they are not the napthelene moth balls, but if I were describing the smell of the crystals they still smell like moth balls to me.
Well the truth is none of it is really kosher.The para is the legal one but it can be detected in honey.Beekeepers in the CSA are the ones who have the real problem with moths.I never have to use it on my supers as cold weather comes here soon after final harvest,but brood boxes(dead outs) have to be treated or the worms will get them.
---Mike(who has been making splits and catching swarms all day,and can barely type from all the stings)
I just posted a message. I would prefer your problem to bare plastic instead of comb. The boxes mentioned had been stored for 20 years or so. Cold winters didn't help. I don't know where they were last used.
E N Minnesota