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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murrysville, pa
    Posts
    111

    Default Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    Hi,

    Newer keeper, and wondering what household cleaners are safe to use to clean boxes / bottom boards?

    They are just gunky with some mold and mildew and ya know, some mouse excraments. This is equipment currently out of service. I know bees do a good cleaning inside, but I want to be proactive.

    Bleach? Other? Wet and forget?

    What's best and will not be nasty or leave residue to harm repel bees if used inside and out?

    Thanks,

    MP

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,240

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    Clorox & water

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Phelps Co. Missouri USA
    Posts
    856

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    What was the health of the previous bees ?

    A first lesson, becareful of used equiptment !

    May need to be scorthed on the inside to be safe, best bet.

    Diluted household bleach and a good scrub brush, leave air dry in the sun for a few days, should be sufficient, IF no diease.

    PCM

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,009

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    A hive tool is all I ever use. Just scrape the BBs or supers and reuse. Bees propolis surfaces. Propolis is antiseptic.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  5. #5

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    Scrape it clean with a hive tool and give it to the bees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,118

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    The word "dirty" has a different meaning for bees than for humans. I would use clorox only because of jthe mouse excrement-otherwise just scrape it off somewhat and forget it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    Scrape gunk off then I use a 10% bleach solution. Spray it on, let it work a bit, rinse it off. Let it air out and dry for 24 hours. Kills all the mold. It's worked well for me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon City, Oregon
    Posts
    991

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    but who sprays the Clorox for the bees in the wild
    Honeydew

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Chatham,MA USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    Quote Originally Posted by HONEYDEW View Post
    but who sprays the Clorox for the bees in the wild
    Aunt Bee...
    ...and hey, let's be careful out there !

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,009

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    Do y'all go to these measures before you use your equipment for the first time? Clorox use is totally unnecessary. I can understand the mind set in todays world where antiseptic hand lotion is available and in use commonly.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murrysville, pa
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    Thanks for the info all, my concerns r really 2 fold, mouse pee/poo is nasty...can carry disease for me and I don't want to use cleaner that may be nasty for them.

    Thanks for input.

    Mp

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    As long as you know there's been no foulbrood in those boxes, good scraping is all that's necessary. The bees know what to do.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murrysville, pa
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    Ya know, I kind of over looked this fact that I do know about.

    This equipment is in fact used. The folks I got it from were the only owners, they were 1-2 year folks, and they said the bees "absconded" one day. They said everything seemed fine then one day they were "gone".

    Well, when I took at look inside here is what I found.

    -Fully drawn out first deep, each had a 2nd deep in place but no wax draw. Could have been added later.

    -Center frame was missing, as they had queen cage inserted there, fully drawn comb in this empty slot.

    -comb was pretty dark, looked like 2 yr + comb to me.

    -several hundered dead bees on bottom board

    -Several ~4 frames with 100 or less of dead bees "head in" the cells. Obviously a cluster sign.

    -comb was mostly empty, except for the small head in dead bees. no stores, no pollen, very little signs of wax moths. very few cells with partial caps on them some with dead paupe inside, like maybe 20-40 total in entire box.

    Now going from what they said, they said the bees were "doing well" but then gone one day. They did treat with formic acid but I don't think anything else.

    Could a formic acid treatment make them abscond?

    Why would there appear to be dead wintered cluster bees? I would think an active hive would QUICKLY clear these bees out.

    The more I think about it the stranger it gets.

    Are there signs of foulbrood in empty comb? I have never experienced it.

    I am NOT using any of the old combs, was just going to use the boxes.

    I suppose I could scorch them on the insides as a precaution.

    Any take on these observations?

    Thanks,

    MP

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,772

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    Unless I'm concerned about disease...or I'm prepping the box for a re-paint, I just scrape and go.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon City, Oregon
    Posts
    991

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    -comb was mostly empty, except for the small head in dead bees. no stores, no pollen, very little signs of wax moths. very few cells with partial caps on them some with dead paupe inside, like maybe 20-40 total in entire box
    they starved equipment is safe to use
    Honeydew

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,118

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...


    I've had several hives starve. Bees with heads in the cells makes the diagnosis obvious. If you haven't cut out the comb yet, don't. It is safe to use and will save the next colony a lot of work and make you much more honey.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 03-18-2011 at 09:32 AM. Reason: u n q

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murrysville, pa
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    Thanks all for the info and suggestions. This is a great fourm.

    I did scrub down my bottom boards that were nasty with some bleach water...they were just nasty....funny though, they still smell like mouse urine after they dried out....ick.

    Thanks much,

    MP

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,993

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    Clorox use is totally unnecessary.
    The only thing I would be concerned with is AFB. You can bleach it in the sun to remove the mold and algae. Winter is best time for that.

    If you don't know the source of the equipment maybe you should scorch it to be safe.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,240

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    according to the forum on bee-L clorox is used by many commercial guys. they use it for nosema ceranae and varroa related viruses on all of there deadouts.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gilmer,TX USA
    Posts
    1,830

    Default Re: Cleaning / cleaner for hive boxes...

    You can use bleach...randy oliver gave me the ratios and I cannot remember them off the top of my head.
    I only use bleach on plastic hive parts. I use a large propane brush burner for boxes.

    mike
    Please check out the new kingfisherapiaries.com!
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