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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,201

    Default Annual Comb Replacement

    Some people are concerned that chemicals built up in brood comb beeswax is causing problems effecting the bees ability to raise brood. Do you rotate out a percentage of your brood combs each year? How effective do you think doing so is?

    On bee-L Jerry Bromenshenk wrote: "Simply stated, wax is a sink - all kinds of things end up in wax, and some may persist for years or decades. How does it get there? Via numerous routes - directly from hive atmospheres (gaseous materials and fine particulates), from the bees themselves, from water, from nectar, from propolis. Some contaminants sorb onto the surface of the bee body; a combination of electrostatic charge levels on the bee and particle size play a role - we've published models of this.

    Chemical uptake into the hive and colony components can be very fast - in heavy metal laden areas near heavy industry, bee colonies moved onto a polluted site quickly change in terms of residues levels so fast that we couldn't really track the change - we expected it to take days, and thought we were being conservation by sampling hourly, but within a half day or less, the new colonies (hours of exposure) closely resembled the resident colonies (weeks of exposures)."
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,985

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    I truely believe that old wax is hampering our hives health. My operational policy is taking out 10% if brood comb annually and dropping in a frame of foundation. In theory, 10 years to a reconditioned brood nest.

    After 5 years pulling out brood comb for rendering I'm still finding wired comb. I brought plastic in 15 years ago making this stuff older, 20, 25, 30 years old!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,368

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    The underlined is copied from a post I made earlier today and definitely pertinent to this tab.


    Default Re: Certain cause of death

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post

    People today blame wax moth when wax moth are actually an indicator of a problem, not the problem itself.
    I also have heard this "blame the wax moth" comment more often than you would believe. It's just a statement based in ignorance of bees and their "predators."

    Not wanting to step into the evolution vs creation debate here but I am a firm believer that whatever path you believe on those subjects the wax moths were either created or "developed" as one of the best methods to clean up combs that are either diseased or are old enough to harbor pathogens that would be better turned into a pile of WM castings anyways......all for the safety of the neighborhood.


    If we are going to keep the wax moths at bay as long as we do the I think a 7 year schedule is a great idea. Either we get rid of the junk or we let nature do it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,985

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    Natures way is every few or more years, right?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    groveton tx
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    We try to put 2 new frames in our singles every year. Doesn't always happen, but we try.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,368

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Natures way is every few or more years, right?
    My guess is 5-7 years.

    In the old days. when the only bane was an occasional skunk and a little foul-brood I think a swarm would hit a tree cavity and last around 4-7 years. Toss in a couple of mating failures after a swarm or two and the wax moths will have a jump on a tree version of a dead out. Doubt they would last over 10 years before a bunch of WM will have a cheap lunch at the pupa casing restaurant.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,898

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    When a huge percentage of beginner beekeepers are losing their hives in the first or second winter, we can't blame old comb on the massive losses we have seen since 2006. Three of three of the foundationless Warres I stared this spring have died before New Year on brand new natural combs, all treatment free. I am melting down any combs I find in deadouts 2005 and older dating back to 1998, most of it treatment free. I have numerous hives that are alive with some combs dating back to 1998, and the older ones are not treament free.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,525

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    Ky state apiarist said at a large outfit down south he managed years back it was not uncommon to find combs 20+ years old. He said the only time they may intentional trash comb was for SHB, moth infestations after dead-out or too many drone cells.

    I don't remember the particulars...don't quote me....
    Last edited by burns375; 01-19-2014 at 06:10 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    729

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    Does the cell get smaller over time from all the brood on older combs??

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Posts
    106

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    Strip the frames clean with a chain flail uncapper every once in awhile... The chain flails if adjusted properly will tear the comb off down to the old wax and wire foundation. Let the bees build fresh comb on it/draw the frames out again. It keeps things cycled out on a more regular basis...Then you can melt your old black comb down & press out the wax for exterior wood working projects, dipping fence posts, boot polish, etc etc etc. Boil the old wood frames in lye water or wood ash..., and put new wax in them. Plastic foundation is nothing but pure garbage in the colder climates. The bees can't transfer heat frame to frame very well with a plastic layer in between them. Don't cut out the burr comb between the frames either...It creates sectioned off heat pockets that help the bees keep warm all winter.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
    Posts
    1,922

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    for the entire post from Dr Jerry Bromenshenk you can find it here.
    http://community.lsoft.com/scripts/w...F=&S=&P=165563

    as to replacing comb poster "the honey householder" if I remember correctly is still using his fathers comb successfully, but he doesn't use chemicals, I can't find the actual posts on beesource.

    Since the foundation you purchase is still loaded with all the chemicals, are you ending up with less chemicals or more when you replace the frames? If you are not using foundation, I would think you would have a better shot at keeping your comb longer.

    I only replace frames that are extremely old, or have too much drone comb in it. but then again since I moved 90% of all my comb has been drawn out with me using either apiguard and formic, which from what I have read is absorbed by honey and not wax, but they still do find it in the hive when they do there testing.

    If I could find a source of wax made only with wax capping and not old brood chamber wax, I would replace more often, I think.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,390

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    After 5 years pulling out brood comb for rendering I'm still finding wired comb. I brought plastic in 15 years ago making this stuff older, 20, 25, 30 years old!
    Occasionally I find aluminum foundation. Any guesses on how old those combs are?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    souris, manitoba, canada
    Posts
    758

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    Odfrank said " we can't blame old comb on the massive losses we have seen since 2006."
    Ok, I'll bite,what are saying

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,525

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Occasionally I find aluminum foundation. Any guesses on how old those combs are?
    1930's ??

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,395

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    Every 7 years? There are people that actually throw away sound brood combs because they have reached the ripe old age of 7? I throw a lot of frames each year but they have to give me a better excuse than age. Hey, it's hard finding them when they aren't full of brood or honey or even pollen. I would estimate 20% of my brood combs are more than 50 years old.
    My take on what Jerry may be telling us is saying is what's the point, it's largely out of our control. Your hives are inhabited by a bunch of flying environmental dust mops.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,201

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by RAK View Post
    Does the cell get smaller over time from all the brood on older combs??
    Not that I have noticed.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,201

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    My take on what Jerry may be telling us is saying is what's the point, it's largely out of our control. Your hives are inhabited by a bunch of flying environmental dust mops.
    I asked him and haven't heard back yet. I don't know that he was saying anything to anyone other than when he and his study worked at wax analysis his findings were that it took little time for new comb to become like old comb pretty fast and faster than was anticipated.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,194

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    > "the honey householder" if I remember correctly is still using his fathers comb successfully,

    A previous thread titled Old Comb that included comments from The Honey Householder about 60 year old brood comb. And a different thread with similar comments.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,208

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    another fact to consider is todays ability to measure has been improved greatly. in just the last few years our ability to measure parts per billion has improved with new technology. we may be seeing things that we could not measure before. just another factor to consider.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,985

    Default Re: Annual Comb Replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Occasionally I find aluminum foundation. Any guesses on how old those combs are?
    Currently I am at the point where I buy in new equipment every year to bulk up my box inventory but 5-10 years ago I would buy up equipment from auctions just trying to stay ahead of my hives. I bought in a lot of older equipment, which is fine, but it's the equipment I'm currently culling out .

    Last year I found a very unique frame. It was a "snap together " plastic frame which allowed the beekeeper to simply snap in wax foundation. It's rendered now , but I'm wishing I kept it for display to use as a conversation piece

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