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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    289

    Default Where do you get frames filled with old comb?

    This may be a stupid question, but I always read about beeks adding in a frame of dark comb (to a Nuc, or startup box), or 'Old comb' for baiting a trap use. Where do these come from? We have the two colonies, with 2 deeps each. These are the brood boxes and stores for the winter the way I understand it. The bees in those boxes will have those frames to use over and over and they will be theirs. When I add on honey Supers, that is comb drawn to fill with honey and harvest and I understand after extraction those will be cleaned up by bees and stored for next season, but they are also a "shallow" size or "Illinois" medium size, not the larger "deep" size. (in our case anyway)

    Do the old frames filled with comb come from a failed colony? In my thinking all frames drawn are "in use" so not available. What information am I missing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    950

    Default Re: Where do you get frames filled with old comb?

    I always keep more frames and boxes on hand than I actually need. You never know when you are suddenly gonna need an extra box or 2! Each season I make sure I have extras, even if I have to cycle a few new frames through the existing hives to get the bees to draw out some extras. Also I tend to rotate the old frames out every 5 years so that contaminants do not build up in the wax. These oldies are still plenty good enough for a swarm box or an emergency split.

    HTH

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    289

    Default Re: Where do you get frames filled with old comb?

    thanks Rusty. Yes, we've been working to build up a surplus of boxes, and frames, and I'm even building my own 5 frame Nucs. But my question is about how to get a stockpile of frames with comb drawn on them. So what you're saying is to remove a frame from my new brood box, and replace it with an empty frame so they'll fill it again? What happens to the contents of the frame I remove (brood & pollen/honey)? See what I don't understand is once an active colony has a frame filled with brood and food, it is always in some state of being filled or emptied by the colony. That is in the 2 deep boxes which are my brood boxes. Right? Those I don't disturb, I just help them to maintain so they can live rich and fruitful lives.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 06-12-2013 at 06:22 PM. Reason: UNQuote

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Bloomington In
    Posts
    787

    Default Re: Where do you get frames filled with old comb?

    You can pull the frames on the out side, extract the honey. When you have a die out you get frames there. I used deeps for the first 3 years, then went to medium supers for honey.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Where do you get frames filled with old comb?

    Using the same size frame for both brood and honey supers helps.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    950

    Default Re: Where do you get frames filled with old comb?

    thanks Rusty.
    The 2 frames in a box that get the least use are #1 and #10. It is not uncommon to have to move them closer to the brood nest to get them drawn out in a new box. Once they ARE drawn, I move them back to their original spots. Once any brood has hatched, I can swap one of them out for new undrawn frame and extract it if necessary, before adding it to my stash. If you do this in the middle of the heavy brood rearing, they will likely use any honey or pollen themselves, so I won't even have to extract it. Then I keep watching to make sure that new frame gets drawn and used, moving it if necessary to get the job done. I collect 2 drawn frames from each colony each season this way and that's how I get my extras.

    Plus I date my frames. That way I can be certain every frame in each box has for sure been swapped out for a new frame on a rotation that takes about 5 years.

    I tend not to be one of those beeks who just adds a few boxes and walks away. I meddle a lot. I keep Cordovan Italians and they don't seem to mind me playing in their boxes as much as some other strains do.


    HTH

    Rusty
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 06-12-2013 at 06:23 PM.
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Johnson County, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Where do you get frames filled with old comb?

    How are old, empty frames stored? I have a few that I've pulled just because the comb was so poorly formed, or there were holes broken through it. Is it safe to just keep it in a box in the garage or will it draw pests?
    Once the bee is inside, Mr. Veil is no longer your friend.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Where do you get frames filled with old comb?

    Once you have a few more hives and have been keeping bees for a few years you will have frames of dark brood comb. You can get them from intentionally rotating out old comb, but you can also get them from
    --deadout colonies
    --combining weak/queenless colonies (e.g. shaking bees from 3-4 boxes into two).
    --opening the broodnest as swarm prevention

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,870

    Default Re: Where do you get frames filled with old comb?

    Yea, these days they mainly come from dead colonies.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,870

    Default Re: Where do you get frames filled with old comb?

    Quote Originally Posted by khicks12 View Post
    How are old, empty frames stored? I have a few that I've pulled just because the comb was so poorly formed, or there were holes broken through it. Is it safe to just keep it in a box in the garage or will it draw pests?
    Wax moths will find them and destroy them, most use chemicals to keep the wax moths at bay, I don't so I store mine on my back porch propped up and open for light and fresh air to freely pass thru, wax moths hate fresh air and light. That is this time of year, winter takes more precautions for mice.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    289

    Default Re: Where do you get frames filled with old comb?

    Quote Originally Posted by NasalSponge View Post
    Wax moths will find them and destroy them, most use chemicals to keep the wax moths at bay, I don't so I store mine on my back porch propped up and open for light and fresh air to freely pass thru, wax moths hate fresh air and light. That is this time of year, winter takes more precautions for mice.
    Fresh air and light would be a deterrent to wax moths then. In Winter months you don't need to worry about moths right? What about using an old broken refrigerator or chest type freezer for a storage bin? Or do they need to have air flow?

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