Here is a post from Dee to Bio bee:
I went to my notes and books on handling AFB and wax to re-read the
TWO schools of thought for handling. Of course you have probably noticed we
are from the school of " not popular thought" and old fashioned in our ways,
but for some reason we are not having a problem with secondary diseases now
our bees are on a harmonious natural system (to us!) of beekeeping using
We are from the school of thought that AFB is the least of our problems. We
only saw it spread with trachael and varroa mites as the wave passed
through, but at the same time we were sizing down trying to run ahead of the
problem looking to bring our bees backonto a harmonious beekeeping system.
Knowing when we saw it we would recognize it because the mites and diseases
all would come under control naturally, as nothing was put on earth out of
Dr Jaycox used to talk about this and take frames of foul brood to meetings
to pass around for beekeepers to look at and smell so they could learn how
to handle. We would talk. I am fully aware of the fright stories of washing
clothes, sterilizing hive tools, bee equipment etc, that is overkill in a
modern world with it's various dopes not working in many cases. But we are
of the old school.
Now I do know that ONLY young larvae are susceptible to infection and they
later show AFB symptoms when their cells are capped. But you must remember
here that these are the symptoms, because for AFB to take hold it must be
eaten by these same young larvae. Spores on the surface of the hive,
woodenware, clothes of beekeeper, hive tools, combs etc are always there
just like ecoli on a counter top in a kitchen. They only get out of control
when the hive is out of control and therefore balance. Balance is
everything. Working from hive to hive should be of no concern if the
problems are cleaned up as encountered. So now here we talk Pav:
We do not burn boxes of combs for it wastes wax! We do not sterilize
everything in our path for that is overkill. We work bees to put them back
into natural balance. How? We merely pull the infection and shake the bees
off of the frames concerned. No more! and no less! Normally this means
shaking down the major part of a broodnest or all of a broodnest. Then the
combs ae brought in from the field for melting down and processing. It is
called recycling of wax then on.
Ed melts the frames of wax down into slum and wire brushes and hones the
frames down, cleaning the wires on the already wired frames for remounting
with newly made foundation. Now slumgum has little attraction to bees and
will not cause robbing and here is a difference. You do not let the frames
lay around for robbing of honey and pollen. Honey is extracted and then to
keep the bees from robbing out the pollen and honey left in the wets, the
combs are melted down in a hot water bath and made into slumgum.
Here it is held until sufficient quantity is reached.
Now what is slumgum? Slumgum is the residue remaining after the combs are
rendered in the hot water bath. It is composed of say cocoons (bees or even
wax moths or beetles, etc (dee getting current in mind here thinking about
others needs)) and detritus from the brood nest combs and is usually very
dark in colour. Now the slumgum Pav this way melted is very high in wax a
forms a hard solid cake when cooled in a deep wax pan.
Now Pav, slumgum from efficient wax rendering devices using hot water, steam
and pressure under water will destroy AFB spores and this was written up by
Drs Eckert and Shaw way back in 1960 even(so now we have three Drs talking
about our school of thought). But note of cauction Pav for they and others
also write that slumgum from solar wax melters may still contain viable
spores and though it is not attractive to bees, the slumgum from solar
melters (wax here Pav) should be destroyed.
Now wax presses are not commonly available from be supply houses and in fact
the only one I know still selling them is Walter T. Kelly in Ky (but without
instructions for rigging up, for you can use the presses 2-3 different ways:
1) steam/pressure 2) hot water --both for processing wax and 3) for a
cappings seperator to save honey and process wax). We have two presses. One
rigged for under water baths for pressing slumgum in double sacked burlap
bags after chopping. The end result being the wax coming out and fertilizer
left (good use for remains); and one rigged for water jacket/steam
processing, pressing if necessary for honey wax seperation in the honeyhouse
for handling wet cappings.
The wax rendered is reused into foundation and though we process the AFB,
EFB, chaulk though, we now find it at a lesser rate of 1-2 percent using
4.9mm top tolerance foundation and 1-2 % is natural in Nature for a level of
infestation and I think even in NZ one could do no better with all the
stringent controls you have there.
Also, Pav, anyone is welcome to look at our bees to see the mites under
control and secondary diseases also on a natural harmonious system. They can
check hive after hive and frame after frame so they can get to know what a
clean system looks like without the influence of the various dopes used for
control that sooner or later play out.
P.S. The temp for water is sustained for 12 hours minimum at no less then
190F not counting bringing the load up to that heat which then adds to the
time, so figure at least 14-16 hours per load. Also following this the wax
is reheated to dip and sheet to make foundation, another story!
I read your post and thought it was excellent. I'm looking for non chemical ways to control all diseases and thought your explanation of how you control afb was great.
In short, what you are saying is:
1. Remove only the frames where afb is present.
2. Shake the bees off back into the hive.
3. Take those diseased frames,melt the wax down and purify. Hold the melted wax above 190F for at least 12 hrs before reusing.
4. Clean your frames up and put new foundation in.
5. Reinsert the frames.
I had one question. Being a beekeeper with only two hives, if one hive had afb and a substantial number of frames had to be removed, would you possibly combine the two hives and kill the queen of the afb hive? I would like to hear your suggestions.