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Thread: old combs

  1. #1
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    I recently got some old hives and supers which have not been used for 3-4 yrs.Many of the supers had 50% or more of there space filled with good looking comb. Should I scrape this off and start again or do my new bees get a headstart?


  2. #2
    backyardbeefarmer Guest
    Leave it, they'll clean it up and go from there. It will give them a head start, as they won't have to build out the comb. I'm starting a new package hive next month, and saved some combed honey and frames for just that purpose. Good luck, Tom.

  3. #3
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gangheim:
    I recently got some old hives and supers which have not been used for 3-4 yrs.Many of the supers had 50% or more of there space filled with good looking comb. Should I scrape this off and start again or do my new bees get a headstart?

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    do yourself and your bees a favor melt down the comb and scrap the frames, use a propane weed burner on the inside of the hive bodies and supers this is your only sure way of eliminating any afb spores in your used equipment , provide your bees with new foundation and clean equipment and they will return the favor with beautiful honey, use you new comb for two years max, and start with new foundation agian, old foundation will darken your honey, if you dont believe me just check your old foundation agianst new comb honey and you will see the difference, joel

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by joelz:

    [/b][/QUOTE]
    use you new comb for two years max, and start with new foundation agian, old foundation will darken your honey, if you dont believe me just check your old foundation agianst new comb honey and you will see the difference, joel[/B][/QUOTE]

    Hello Joel -

    It's true that comb will darken with age, but I'm interested in knowing why you replace your comb after two years of use. Does it have anything to do with chemical contamination of the wax? I don't know of any reason to replace solely on color.

    Regards,
    Barry

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Barry:

    barry it has to do with quality beekeeping management, you should be continuosly rotating out you comb, the purpose, your comb is like a magnet for all types of contaminants, pollution ect, if you want top quality hives and honey you must rotate your comb. i really dont care about the dolor of comb its the color of honey which comes from that comb and as i previously stated your hives will be healthier rotating brood comb yearly, joel

    [This message has been edited by Admin (edited December 19, 2001).]

  6. #6
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    Joel -

    Looks like we need to get a few things clear before going much further.

    First, I know of no study that would support the practice of using comb in the hive no longer than 2 years. Now you are even saying yearly. I have seen 3 year cycles suggested in journals. Personally, I would suggest about a 3 to 4 year maximum useage of brood combs if you are using chemicals in the hive for mite treatment. Especially with Cumaphos now being used in hives, you may want to use the comb even less.

    You also mention that honey from dark comb is affected and made lower in quality. Do you then extract honey from brood comb as part of your honey crop? I've not had to worry about this in the past because all my honey comb was used just for honey, so they never got dark. I realize I can't stop contaminates from coming into the hive, but I sure can do something about the contaminates the beekeeper puts into the hive. How about you? Do you use anything for mite control? Do you use any drugs? If one isn't using any of these elements, then I see no need to cull out perfectly good wax in the form of comb. Otherwise, yes, one will have to always be replacing comb so the bees don't end up sick and dead from contaminated wax.

    Regards,
    Barry

  7. #7
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    sorry barry, but i am associated with the masterbeekeeping program at cornell university,and it is sound magagement to rotate your comb, contsminates are from all sources, air pollution ect ect, come on barry use brood comb for honey production ?? your not talking to a beginner, please dont try and insult me if your going to give advice i suggest you give the right advice, you are only leading beginning beekeeper to a dissapointing end to a wonderful hobbie and pastime.and yes i treat for varroa destructor with chemicals,that has nothing to do with rotating comb out of your hives keep reading barry, but give the correct advice,, joel



    [This message has been edited by Admin (edited December 19, 2001).]

  8. #8
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    Hi all,

    If one isn't using any of these elements, then I see no need to cull out perfectly good wax in the form of comb. Otherwise, yes, one will have to always be replacing comb so the bees don't end up sick and dead from contaminated wax.

    reply:

    I agree 100% Barry. One only needs to cull combs when one is using dopes in the hives. As for AFB comb culling doesn't prevent it just wastes good combs. AFB can occur on new combs too. Treat disease when you have it. Other than that you are not doing anything if there is no problem.

    come on barry use brood comb for honey production ??

    reply:

    And exactly whats wrong with it? Assuming no dopes have been used. Don't you think bees store nectar in brood combs and then later move it up into the supers? What about the chemical residue that is moved up? Shouldn't one also rotate combs out of supers too!

    Clay



  9. #9
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    Don't forget that it takes about 6lb of honey to make 1lb of wax. If you're rotating comb every two years, you'll make a hole in your honey production. If there are good reasons for doing this, I'd be very grateful to know. I don't use pyrethroids, and coumaphos is illegal in the UK, so as far as I can see the only persistent nasties in my hives are likely to traces brought in from outside, which I have no control over. Until someone shows that these are likely to build up to significant levels, I'm going to worry more about the possibility of disease-carrying comb, and will rotate at a slower rate to safeguard against that.

    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Clayton:

    I agree 100% Barry. One only needs to cull combs when one is using dopes in the hives. As for AFB comb culling doesn't prevent it just wastes good combs. AFB can occur on new combs too. Treat disease when you have it. Other than that you are not doing anything if there is no problem.
    ----------------------------

    ok clayton, treat afb when you get it huh? thats sound beekeeping managment style, and i suppose you can treat your hives infected with afb also?? this is one of the reasons to cull out your oldest comb in the spring, i hope you know there is no treatment for hives infected with afb the only thing you can do as a responsible beekeeper is to quarrentine your bees and burn frames, honey and comb... joel

    [This message has been edited by Admin (edited December 19, 2001).]

  11. #11
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    clayton , yes i rotate my super comb completely every other year and the honey from this comb is always first rate and bees have no problems drawing new comb during a flow. and beeswax selling for three bucks a pound im not losing money just producing honey that sells.......joel

    [This message has been edited by Admin (edited December 19, 2001).]

  12. #12

    Post

    associated with sounds good but, how many hives do you have and how long have you been keeping bees? I have my first hive from a man in Wisconsin and never did this practice. I do not use chemicals and have the original comb from him going on 7 years. Last year that hive gave me 160lbs. Sounds like overmanaging not good managment.

  13. #13
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rainesridgefarm:<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    ive been a beekeeper for over ten years and let me say this if your are not treating your hives with chemicals such as apstatian, checkmite, formic acid, terrimiacian, ect ect your bees will not survice also what you doing is a disservice to your bees and any beekeepers within the 2mile range, your best bet is to join a recognized bee club or association better yet take a college level bee course and you will be pleasantly suprised what you dont know about bees. i have numerous beekeepersquestion me every year as to how i produce such strong overwintered hives, its by sound hive management. by rotating 2 or three of your oldest comb out of your hives every spring you will realize stronger , healthier hive that if you manage things correctly you can split your hives once or twice each summer , agian you dont have to believe hat i am writing but i have seen enough wrong advice here, so i cannot stay silent anymore..joel

    [This message has been edited by Admin (edited December 19, 2001).]

  14. #14

    Post

    I have sent samples in and all is clean. I am also certified organic so the use of chemicals is not allowed on the farm. You have been brainwashed into thinking that there is no other way. Sorry for your closed mind. I also have been keeeping bees for a very long time and never have had a problem. good genetics? I also make two to three splits every summer. having spent 9 years in the chemical industry I would look very close at what you are using. I to at one time was a big beliver in better living though science. Saw too many of my fellow researchers dying of cancer.

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by rainesridgefarm:


    why do you send samples in if they are clean, maybe you are missing your calling you should apply at ohio state university of penn state , or at cornell for research studies im quite sure the usda would like to know you secrets,, because there is a entire country of beekeepers who use chemicals,, sorry but im glad your not a neighboring beekeeper cause your bee problems will become my bee problems when your hive weaken..

    [This message has been edited by Admin (edited December 19, 2001).]

  16. #16

    Big Grin

    What bee problems? You just do not get it!! Build their immune system and all the problems go away. Kelp tea, pepperment oils, Organic soy flour. I am sure you will want the last word. So give it your best shot. But please work on your spelling.

  17. #17
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    if your are not treating your hives with chemicals such as apstatian, checkmite, formic acid, terrimiacian, ect ect your bees will not survice

    reply:

    If you say so. There are 1000 colonies on 4.9mm cell size that are surviving. 700 of which are now going into there 7th year of zero dopes, acids, oils ect. They are NOT crashing. They are thriving!

    what you doing is a disservice to your bees and any beekeepers within the 2mile range,

    reply:

    Healthy bees doesn't sound like a disservice to me. Using coumaphos a very dangerous chemical is a disservice. This stuff is deadly and and acculates in combs. Can cause DEATH! Then turn around and sell a product that has residue in it that builds up. Hmmm.... I guess I shouldn't mention that the handler of such chemicals is exposed no matter how much protective gear. Also checkmite is now resitant and apistan! Chemical options will soon be shot. Yes they'll get a new one but most (that are effective)are more dangerous than coumaphos.Whats wrong with chemical free honey?

    your best bet is to join a recognized bee club or association better yet take a college level bee course and you will be pleasantly suprised what you dont know about bees

    reply:

    It wouldn't hurt for general info. But to be taught to pump dopes. NO thanks been down that road. Yet then again clubs and associations CAN provide excellent info.

    i have numerous beekeepersquestion me every year as to how i produce such strong overwintered hives, its by sound hive management

    reply:

    There is more than one way to manage colonies. One does one need to cull combs to do this. Nor do they have to treat with drugs. You are correct sound HIVE management will produce strong colonies. That is working bees properly. AS for comb culling I have done this and see little to no difference. If one wants to cull comb they would be far better off to cull drone comb to 10% per frame as varroa targets drone brood (not drone trapping). Of course bees on 4.9mm cell size chew varroa out at the purple eye stage and can naturally control them. Picturres of this are on the net for the non-believers.

    Clay


  18. #18
    Thanks for the backup Clay, P.S. I am the secretary/treasurer of our beekeepers Association with over 100 members. Many are comeing to me to find out about alternative solutions.

    [This message has been edited by rainesridgefarm (edited December 19, 2001).]

  19. #19
    Join Date
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    Wink

    Hi -

    The URL to those photos that Clay mentioned is: http://www.beesource.com/mitechew/index.htm

    Joelz -

    It's obvious that you are preaching the standard party line thought to beekeeping here. I'll also assume that it's the only line you've heard. You have choosen that route for your bees and you are welcome to it. It's also obvious that there are those, myself included, that have tried that route, only to get to a point where it no longer works. The simple fact that Apistan won't take care of varroa on my bees anymore substantiates that. I'm not about to go to the next higher level in chemicals. Apparently you are. You've embraced the chemical answer that has been sold to us by our researchers and before very long, you will find out what the prize is at the end. Surprise! You will have dead bees and contaminated honey and nowhere to turn. Anyone who's keeping pulse of current beekeeping stat's can see this is what's happening.

    It's good to question things and share information and debate a bit, but to come on here with guns a blazing, as though a messenger of THE truth, this will not win you any listening ears. Make room in your mind for there possibly being another viewpoint and you just might learn something.

    Good luck with your bees.

    Regards,
    Barry

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Galloway Oh
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    As long as you trust the previous owner, I would use it. Even if it has been contaminated with FB, you can treat it. Keep a close eye on the hives the first year that you use the old equipment. Be sure your state inspector has a look at it as offen as possible and you will be fine.
    Good Luck,


    ------------------
    Tim Gifford

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