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  1. #21

    Post

    I asked that same question to New Mexico beekeeper Les Crowder, and asked him what he sees when doing feral colony removals for homeowners.

    He said that he sees evidence that bees and wax moths are symbiotic- that in a large colony in a studwall, for example, there'll be evidence that at some point in the colony's existence, the bees moved the cluster and brood area away from it's original spot, and moved over to one end of the hive, let the wax moth eat the old brood nest area, and then later moved back to the 'destroyed' section and cleaned it up, then built a new brood nest right on top of the old wax moth signs, leaving the 'next' old brood nest for the wax moth.


    Mark

    [size="1"][ December 23, 2005, 08:36 PM: Message edited by: girl Mark ][/size]
    urban top bar hives in Oakland and Berkeley, CA...

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Post

    I have found the same thing in feral swarm removals however I would disagree that it was a symbiotic relationship that existed. I would propose that wax moths are a parasite in honey bee colonies and do not reach populations capable of comb destruction unless a colony is weakened or gone. In fact a weakened colony with wax moth infestation will usually succumb to wax moth larvae destroying combs, defecating and webbing. I have never seen wax moths exist in large sustainable population in a strong hive. More likely what is seen is a hive that dies out or abscounds, wax moth populations explode and as the cycle winds down a new swarm moves into the location building comb in an adjoing area and once strong enough cleaning up the area of destruction left by the previous tennants.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    hyde park Vt.
    Posts
    70

    Post

    Thanks for info on wax moths, but I guess what Im saying is, Hasnt anyone ever seen a very strong hive with very old comb?

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Post

    Absolutely. I did not cull combs except for damaged or drone combs for most of our existance. I've (and I expect everyone) had many, many strong hives on old comb. Despite replacing a thousand or so combs over the past 3 yrs., I still have quite a bit of old comb that I am working to the outside. From the bees standpoint in the brood chamber, they will fill old comb with stores 1st. as they perceive this as brood combs that will need stores in spring. The cells are smaller from the buildup of cacoons, propolis etc which may be to an advantage if you are a small cell purporter.

    I think if you are not in a high pesticide area, don't over use harsh chemicals and don't have foulbrood problems in your area you can use old comb successfully. 3 yrs. ago we instituted methodology that is designed to eliminate foulbrood without the use of Drugs (Mark Goodwin/Cliff Van Eaton resesearch). One of the main components is comb culling. Has worked exceptionly well for us. If you are running a few hives you have time to more closely manage for pest and disease. You can still be very successful running old comb.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Post

    >Thanks for info on wax moths, but I guess what Im saying is, Hasnt anyone ever seen a very strong hive with very old comb?

    Yes, I've seen many very strong hives with very old comb.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    228

    Post

    Here's my question for everyone about replacing combs.

    One of my hives absconded. Many of the combs were made of new wax--still mostly white because they had been partially filled with honey(they were left in the hive as reserves). Because of rainy conditions recently I wasn't able to get up into the mountains to feed them for almost five weeks because the road was in bad condition.

    When I got up there some of these combs (now empty of honey)had a bit of mold growing on the surface of them. They also had become a more brittle than normal but otherwise were in good shape. There was no evidence of wax moths on these newer combs either(some of the older combs that were left did have wax moths).

    The first strong flowering period has just started up in the mountains so the bees are beginning to work hard. Should I scrap these moldy combs or will the bees clean them up good enough to the point where it won't harm the honey or brood they put in them?

    ----------

    Tom

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    1,848

    Post

    Wax moths are attracted to old comb first in my opinion, they prefer comb that had used to raise brood.
    Your bees will clean the "moldy combs" up nicely all by themselves!
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Post

    They all get brittle over time if the bees aren't working them. I don't understand it, but it's kind of like you best boots sitting around unworn for a while and they get stiff. But when you wear them they go back to being supple. If you give those brittle combs back to the bees they work fine and, for reasons I don't know, they don't stay brittle.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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