Re: Natural Cell Hive
Yes, you read correctly!
Some comments on that, a wild hive does not have someone come along and switch out it's combs every 5 years. And it's my belief that before varroa and other man exascerbated nasties, wild hives would last for many years.
When I started out in bees, in my country we used no chemical treatments in hives, the only disease we worried about was AFB and if that happened the hive was burnt. We didn't feed pollen there's plenty here everywhere. The worst that could happen was feeding sugar syrup, but even that would have only been perhaps 10% of hives annually.
Under these conditions chemical contamination was something we didn't really think about. Old brood combs were replaced when they got REALLY bad & the bees would stop using patches of them. But out of 4,000 hives we would only replace a few hundred combs annually. We knew we had 40+ year old combs because there had been a design change around 40 years previous and those combs were still around. A lot of the combs replaced were due to failing woodwork, not the comb.
Not saying people should do this, it's a different world now. But on the other hand there is little concrete evidence to say that honey production is improved by switching out brood combs every 5 years. So for a commercial guy who lives on honey production, he may not be switching out his combs, even nowadays.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).