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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Halifax, West Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Preparing Second-hand hives

    Hi All,

    I was chatting to my friend who was going to help me build my first hive when he told me his boss used to keep bees and has about 20 old hives in a shed he hasnt used for a few years and that he would be willing to let me have a couple.

    I just wondered about preparing them for bees? Are there any specific methods of cleaning them out etc ready? Also is there any chemicals I should not use? I imagine they will probably be quite dusty and dirty.

    I cannot believe my luck that I could be getting a few hives for free! Just need to get the bees.

    All help appreciated.
    Cheers
    Rob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,271

    Default Re: Preparing Second-hand hives

    Robbo, usually what I see recommended is to flame the inside of the boxes, lids and bottoms until they're black, and not to use the frames. You can wash the outside of the boxes with dish soap or a weak bleach solution. Old frames house the brood, and thus broood diseases if there are any.
    If the boss is friendly he will tell you if he treated preventatively for AFB or not. He will also likely be a good person to ask some questions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Halifax, West Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Preparing Second-hand hives

    Hi Adrain,

    Thanks for that. Apparently the reason he stopped keeping bees was that all his bees turned nasty and started stinging everyone. But hey if it means a couple of free hives why not take him up on it?

    I will try the flaming thing when i get the hives I imagine it will work. I wasnt planning to use old frames anyway I was going to buy new.

    Thanks for your help
    Rob

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,073

    Default Re: Preparing Second-hand hives

    Since you are getting the hives from someone that is not trying to sell them there is a better than average odds that there is nothing wrong with any of the equipement that a med bleach wash down would not take care of.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Preparing Second-hand hives

    I would just rinse off the dust and use em myself.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Madison, WI, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Preparing Second-hand hives

    I keep a spray bottle of diluted bleach solution for spraying the inside of used equipment. I have a few old deeps that I got from an old beekeeper, the frames came with (I threw them out), but the boxes were generally in good shape. My only complaint is that my new frames fit more snugly into these old boxes than they do in my new boxes, so once propolized it is a genuine wrestling match to get the frames out, especially the first outside frame. I am moving to all mediums going forward but will keep these existing deeps in service. I plan to buy one more deep so I can rotate out these old ones and scrape out the propolis once in a while.
    life is finite while knowledge is infinite. - Zhuang Zi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Halifax, West Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Preparing Second-hand hives

    Thanks everyone.

    He isnt trying to get rid of them hes just been keeping them in storage. Il see what theyre like when I get up to the shed. Apparently there are around 20 all Nationals of the same size so I could pick and choose the pieces/boxes in the best condition to ensure I have a couple of decent quality hives.

    I will see if he has any frames that he never used also. Not only will having another mentor be an advantage but he says he has got a lot of other equipment also that I could use such as veils, smokers etc.

    Could have hit a goldmine here!!!

    Rob

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,046

    Default Re: Preparing Second-hand hives

    Sunlight goes a ways in ameliorating pathogens. If you like, use the weed burner: I toast to more of a tan color that charring, and focus on the corners and rabbets in the cracks. Bleach is easy enough.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

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