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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by Riskybizz View Post
    Oldtimer> "No AFB sowed up and the nuc is now a hive. I've used the nuc quite a lot, no AFB, "

    Oldtimer that’s an interesting experiment but I wouldn't advise anyone (especially someone inexperienced) to experiment with AFB possible contamination. It is my understanding that AFB spores are always present, and given the right set of circumstances it will manifest itself to a point of visible detection. The correlation could be made that my wife and I were both exposed to strep throat bacteria. My wife developed a bad case of strep as a result of this exposure and became quite ill as a result. I on the other hand was never affected. The assumption could thus be made that my immune system prevented me from the infection. Subsequently, one could raise the same argument that while all bees are subjected to certain viruses and in this case AFB spores, only those with weak immune systems and stress conditions will ultimately allow the spore to become virulent within the colony.
    After some light research, I understand this to be true.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    As Oldtimer indicated, we always burned everything if we detected AFB spores. At the time Virginia Dept of Ag. allowed us to shake infected colonies onto foundation to save at least the bees. They then offered an ETO chamber to supposedly clean up the rest of the equipment. The thing about trying to disinfect contaminated equipment is that you really never know if it worked. You could even purposely give contaminated equipment (including brood comb) to a healthy hive and they would never show eventual signs of the disease. But I would never do it.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by Riskybizz View Post
    At the time Virginia Dept of Ag. allowed us to shake infected colonies onto foundation to save at least the bees.
    This practise, known as shook swarming, used to be common in my country in the early part of last century. At that time we were a young country with no regulations about bees. But AFB rates went crazy, eventually reaching, it's thought, around 30% of all beehives. What research was done at the time, indicated shook swarming was a big part of the problem, it worked enough that people did it, but not all the time, so AFB would never be wiped out while it was being done. So the government legislated, two main points, one, shook swarming was made illegal, and secondly infected material must be burned.
    Because all beekeepers were greatly affected by AFB the new legislation recieved enthusiastic support, and within a few years we went to one of the lowest rates of AFB infection in the world. Which further galvanised support for the legislation and rigid adherance to it.

    Of more recent times we have beekeepers who have never seen AFB, and are lax about inspecting, plus people with weird theories about letting bees get "immune" to it. This has caused an increase in infection rates, seems we will never be totally free of the disease.

    Just for interest, the more recent legislation about bleach, is it can be used to disinfect any material not contaminated with wax or propolis, so such items as a cleaned smoker, hive tool, etc. can be disinfected with bleach. It is not illegal to use bleach to disinfect items such as boxes and bottom boards, provided they are "clean". The grey area, of course, being how to define clean. My personal opinion is I do not approve of bleaching woodware, sooner or later it won't work due to encapsulated spores. I just did it the one time as an experiment. I was very thorough with the cleaning, and the bleach drenching, as I was doing it I was confident it would be hard for any spores to survive. However, I don't recommend to anybody else they do this.

    It did confirm in my mind though that bleach does actually kill spores, the box was infected enough that without the bleaching any bees put into it would have gone down with AFB pretty quick.

    That's my 2 cents.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    Oldtimer

    I agree with your 2 cents. Personally, I never felt that using an untreated bottom board from an AFB positive hive was a big issue, but I still have never done it, nor would I. One year back awhile in 1992 our operation had an outbreak of foulbrood at about 3%. At the time we ran 3000 colonies so it was a real problem. We had purchased bees (and equipment) from an old beekeeper 50 miles away and I always thought that the AFB came with those bees. It was a terribly wet and cold spring that year and the bees were definitely stressed. Things were ripe for the disease to manifest as it is my belief that it is a stress related issue. Long story short we burnt a lot of equipment even though the Dept of Ag. was willing to ETO everything at no charge. As I recall we lost faith in that process as believers that the gas would penetrate the wax and combs and effectively kill the spores. Subsequently we burnt everything and took a loss. We rarely ever saw AFB again in later years. I was listening to a local "expert" here last year explain to a room full of beginners that shaking bees onto foundation in order to burn up the spores was an effective means or eradication of the disease. In my opinion the main issue with AFB is that the vast majority of inexperienced beekeepers couldn't recognize it if they were looking at it. That to me is the major problem. I hear all the time here from beekeepers that they leave there dead-out colonies outside so other bees can benefit from cleaning out the residual honey left in the hive. A potential recipe for disaster. I am glad for websites such as this so that exchanges of ideas can be made available so you don’t have to learn through trial and error.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted



    Well I contacted the Dept of Ag here in Cheyenne. I talked to Polly Cross, the bee inspector for this set of counties, and told her that I had these frames and boxes of unknown history. She told me that if you want to keep them, the best thing to do is scorch the boxes and the scrape all the frames clean and soak them in a bleach solution. She said that that's what they do to hives that come down with AFB, and it does work. So I guess I'll do that and take my chances. Thanks everyone for your input.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    I have salvaged about 470 deep frames. I am scraping them clean and then soaking them in 30% bleach solution for 3 minutes, then setting them out to dry. I am stunned by the outcome. They turned out very well. I feel a lot better about using them now. Here are some pics:

    Before:
    Picture 075.jpg

    After:
    Picture 094.jpg

    Picture 095.jpg

    Picture 096.jpg

    Picture 097.jpg

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    Bleaching frames? Bro, I'd be pretty careful, it's not something I'd do.

    If possible, use those ones on only one hive, and monitor carefully. The general wisdom here is monitor closely for one year, at the end of that year you can relax some, but at the end of year two you can consider the hive as clean as any other hive.

    It's probably most likely you will not get an AFB infection but if the worst happens and you do, please come back to the thread and let's know, it will be useful info. You could also come back and say, if you didn't get AFB.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    Westerbeekeeper

    I followed your initial post regarding the windfall of your used equipment and your obvious excitement at acquiring such used equipment. It became apparent after looking at your pictures of the used frames stacked up on your post that you would like to find a way to feel comfortable to use these old frames and incorporate them in your operation. Once you factor in the cost of scraping the frames, dipping them or bleaching them, and then repairing them, you are left with one sure result. You have a bunch of used frames on your hands. I am not even going to bring up the subject that they might have been AFB contaminated when you purchased them, or that they might still harbor AFB spores after you clean them. That is up to you to decide as you balance what your time involves vs. purchasing new frames to utilize in your cleaned up boxes. One thing is sure, if you do purchase new frames you will at least know for sure that they are clean. Generally people burn them and move on, don't fool around with someone else's used frames. Once AFB manifests itself in an apiary it’s very difficult to eradicate. I guarantee you that you will lose 10x or more the value of your woodenware after you have no choice but to start burning boxes and frames to clean up your bees if it does present itself. Bottom line is that frames are so cheap in the big picture. Isn't your operation worthy of that practice?
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdoc View Post
    Luterra,

    The question that I would have from your response is where would you go to get irradiation done? I am not aware that it is available in the USA unless you are a food manufacturer/processor with some big $. Otherwise, I thought all that was done in Australia or New Zealand. If you or anyone knows about this being available in USA, it might be interesting to know where and how they are doing it.

    Thanks,
    Chris
    chris@betterbee.com
    800-632-3379 extension 8001
    Greenwich, NY
    Go to Pg.2 APIARY NEWS Fall 2012
    A publication of the Worcester County Beekeepers Association MA.

    http://worcestercountybeekeepers.com...//2012fall.pdf


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134
    Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA.
    http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Bleaching frames? Bro, I'd be pretty careful, it's not something I'd do.

    If possible, use those ones on only one hive, and monitor carefully. The general wisdom here is monitor closely for one year, at the end of that year you can relax some, but at the end of year two you can consider the hive as clean as any other hive.

    It's probably most likely you will not get an AFB infection but if the worst happens and you do, please come back to the thread and let's know, it will be useful info. You could also come back and say, if you didn't get AFB.
    I talked with the Dept of Ag and they said this method of disinfection is "approved" and works well and the state inspector uses it, but now I'm reading riskybizz's post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Riskybizz View Post
    Westerbeekeeper

    I followed your initial post regarding the windfall of your used equipment and your obvious excitement at acquiring such used equipment. It became apparent after looking at your pictures of the used frames stacked up on your post that you would like to find a way to feel comfortable to use these old frames and incorporate them in your operation. Once you factor in the cost of scraping the frames, dipping them or bleaching them, and then repairing them, you are left with one sure result. You have a bunch of used frames on your hands. I am not even going to bring up the subject that they might have been AFB contaminated when you purchased them, or that they might still harbor AFB spores after you clean them. That is up to you to decide as you balance what your time involves vs. purchasing new frames to utilize in your cleaned up boxes. One thing is sure, if you do purchase new frames you will at least know for sure that they are clean. Generally people burn them and move on, don't fool around with someone else's used frames. Once AFB manifests itself in an apiary it’s very difficult to eradicate. I guarantee you that you will lose 10x or more the value of your woodenware after you have no choice but to start burning boxes and frames to clean up your bees if it does present itself. Bottom line is that frames are so cheap in the big picture. Isn't your operation worthy of that practice?
    It costs me about $0.90 per frame counting in the bleach and time/labor.

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    For me that would be a no-brainer. Burn it. Some of us are quite prone to learn things by doing them on our own. I admire that. But remember a lot of trial and error has already been conducted in this beekeeping industry for the benefit of all that choose to heed sound advice. Factor in the potential cost of AFB contamination into your business and then go for it.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    You are right; it's a no-brainer. Calculation done. I have only done 80 frames so far, but I'll stop here.

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    Westernbee do you ever buy things from Westernbee? I order a lot of things through them. I bet you could get a good deal on new frames from them. Good people to deal with. They have the most economical bottom boards in the industry but don't tell anyone ok. Cedar too..........Cheers
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    I have purchased a few items from them. Very excellent service. I know Dick Molenda, the previous CEO, his son Rick Molenda is boss now. The only thing is that they don't have free shipping on big orders.

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by westernbeekeeper View Post
    I talked with the Dept of Ag and they said this method of disinfection is "approved" and works well and the state inspector uses it, but now I'm reading riskybizz's post.



    It costs me about $0.90 per frame counting in the bleach and time/labor.


    If I can buy new ones for $0.63 per frame why would I bleach old Frames ???


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134
    Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA.
    http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by linn View Post
    Could you please write the formula for the bleach solution? I was told to use 15% bleach solution. The laundry bleach like Clorax is 10%. I am wondering if the advice was really 15 parts water to one part bleach? Should you dip the frames rather than sponge on the solution?
    Store bought Clorox is 6% sodium hypochlorite when it leaves the factory but slowly breaks down over time. If you are buying bleach do it in a store that has a high turnover rate to insure you are getting the most strength possible. I used to buy industrial bleach (12%) by the 55 gallon barrel from a chemical supply house that was very good about keeping fresh product on hand.

    A quick test to see if your bleach has any punch is to dip two fingers into it and rub them together. If it feels like it is getting warm then it still has some zing to it.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim 134 View Post
    If I can buy new ones for $0.63 per frame why would I bleach old Frames ???


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134
    Where do you get them? Free shipping on large orders?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keth Comollo View Post
    Store bought Clorox is 6% sodium hypochlorite when it leaves the factory but slowly breaks down over time. If you are buying bleach do it in a store that has a high turnover rate to insure you are getting the most strength possible. I used to buy industrial bleach (12%) by the 55 gallon barrel from a chemical supply house that was very good about keeping fresh product on hand.

    A quick test to see if your bleach has any punch is to dip two fingers into it and rub them together. If it feels like it is getting warm then it still has some zing to it.
    This is bleach off the shelf at Walmart. I will check/test the potency as described above. Thanks!

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    You are getting excellent advice here. Although AFB may be "rare" (as one poster put it), it certainly isn't so rare that you shouldn't consider it. Used gear is like a used car...sometimes it _was_ only driven by an old lady back and forth to church on Sundays....but there is some series of events that made them available to you, and there is simply no way of knowing....for all you know, the previous owner _started_ to clean this stuff up, and the frames with the missing combs are the ones that had visible AFB.

    If irradiation is not available (I would contact the local bee club...I know that my father in law was a high school teacher in that area, and the university at Laramie had some kind of reactor for experiments at least), then I would burn them.

    I believe the research out of Australia is that foundation made from AFB contaminated wax was safe (not hot enough to kill the spores, but must have physically encapsulated them well enough), and I would expect that paraffin dipping would work as well.....

    ...but then, as has been said, you still have some used frames (with a lot of your labor into them).

    Free shipping is great if you can get it, but we can get full pallets delivered from 3 hours away for about $50, and $50 spread out over 1-2,000lbs is cheap. Look into humble abodes (which is far from you) or someplace else (closer) that is really manufacturing the stuff...I think we pay .56/frame (unassembled), and can easily fit 100 deep boxes and 1000 frames on a pallet.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    You are getting excellent advice here. Although AFB may be "rare" (as one poster put it), it certainly isn't so rare that you shouldn't consider it. Used gear is like a used car...sometimes it _was_ only driven by an old lady back and forth to church on Sundays....but there is some series of events that made them available to you, and there is simply no way of knowing....for all you know, the previous owner _started_ to clean this stuff up, and the frames with the missing combs are the ones that had visible AFB.

    If irradiation is not available (I would contact the local bee club...I know that my father in law was a high school teacher in that area, and the university at Laramie had some kind of reactor for experiments at least), then I would burn them.

    I believe the research out of Australia is that foundation made from AFB contaminated wax was safe (not hot enough to kill the spores, but must have physically encapsulated them well enough), and I would expect that paraffin dipping would work as well.....

    ...but then, as has been said, you still have some used frames (with a lot of your labor into them).

    Free shipping is great if you can get it, but we can get full pallets delivered from 3 hours away for about $50, and $50 spread out over 1-2,000lbs is cheap. Look into humble abodes (which is far from you) or someplace else (closer) that is really manufacturing the stuff...I think we pay .56/frame (unassembled), and can easily fit 100 deep boxes and 1000 frames on a pallet.
    deknow.....

    I see you got the price for 5,000 .56/frame I post the price for 500 .63/frame



    BEE HAPPY Jim 134
    Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA.
    http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Bleach for combless frame sterilization/disinfection; opinions wanted

    I was just looking into this, and I can get all the frames, budget grade and unassembled ($0.45 each), including shipping, for $795 from Western Bee Supply. That's cheaper that Mann Lake even with their free shipping.

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