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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    Default Lye for sterilization

    Hey y'all,
    Quick question here: I was wondering if I can use homemade hardwood-ash lye water for disinfection of frames. If so, can I just soak the frames in cool lye water, or do I have to boil them? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Lye for sterilization

    Yes, yes you can. Boiling will get the old wax off of the frames.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  3. #3
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    May 2012
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    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    Default Re: Lye for sterilization

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Yes, yes you can. Boiling will get the old wax off of the frames.
    Thanks, Sqkcrk. What do you mean, by "yes, you can"? I can just soak them in cool lye, but boiling will help get the wax off? So if I thoroughly scrape the frames clean of wax, I can just soak them with good results? Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Lye for sterilization

    If your intention is to clean the frames as best you can using lye, you should boil the frames in the lye water bath to get the best benefit from the lye.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    4,650

    Default Re: Lye for sterilization

    Decades back, I made a tank and boiled several hundred or thousand ? frames in lye water when I bought out other beekeepers. It did a great job of cleaning them up. These frames had not been glued or nailed well, so I ended up with hundreds of very clean loosey goosey frames, most of which needed re-wiring and re-nailing. Never again, a much better value is doing a great job of assembling new frames, in much less time than you will spend cleaning crummy ones.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default Re: Lye for sterilization

    How long do you need to boil them for? I would be doing about 700-800 frames, basically the ones that are near new and very structurally sound.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: Lye for sterilization

    I think I boiled old black ones for several minutes, I think. We are talking the 1980's here. If you can remember the '60s you probably weren't really there. And I went to high school in San Francisco in the late '60s, so there isn't much I remember after that. I do remember the lye fumes giving me a sore throat.
    You might consider some kind larger scale of steam bucket.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NJN0G4_oYM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbx-Dv5iLmA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,650

    Default Re: Lye for sterilization

    You can probably buy 800 frames for $600. How much will your lye boiling setup and utilities cost?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    Default Re: Lye for sterilization

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    You can probably buy 800 frames for $600. How much will your lye boiling setup and utilities cost?
    I can purchase new frames and RiteCell foundation for my 28 mediums and 82 deeps for $1,800 unassembled from Mann Lake.
    I haven't quite figured out everything as far as setup and cost goes, since I have just started looking into this. Thanks for everything so far!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    cumberland me
    Posts
    219

    Default Re: Lye for sterilization

    Can you just soak you frames in 15% bleach solution? I am not sure of formulation-seeing that the bleach in Walmart is 10%. I lost bees to varroa collapse (mailed some frames for analysis). I am planning on washing frames that had brood and adding new foundation. Maybe it makes more sense to just buy new frames-not sure. linn

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Lye for sterilization

    linn, varroa are not a problem having to do w/ equipment. Why are you washing frames that had brood in them?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Chesterfield, NH
    Posts
    457

    Default Re: Lye for sterilization

    Lye for sterilization will not Kill AFB




    BEE HAPPY Jim
    Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA.
    http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    cumberland me
    Posts
    219

    Default Re: Lye for sterilization

    I lost a few hives to varroa virus complex this summer/fall. The suggestion was that I could re-use the frames that never had brood in them. I was told that the frames that had brood in them should be washed with a 15% bleach solution and new foundation put in. I was thinking that the bleach would kill any dormaint virus. linn

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