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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Milw, WI
    Posts
    126

    Default Possible winter loss TBH - how to preserve the comb

    I'm located in SE Wisconsin. We are still in the middle of some darn cold temps. My bee yard is about a 30 min drive in the summer (now I might need a snowmachine to get there). I have two TBH's I started from packages last spring. Going into the winter I do not think I fed enough (but didn't take any honey bars). One hive had maybe 6-8 bars of honey, and the second more like 4-6. (the last time I looked, which was in the Fall).

    Ok, so my question is...if they (one or both) did not make it. How do I preserve the comb until I can get more bees to put back in there.

    I have 2 packages on order for two new Lang hives I am starting. With a possible extra hive my buddy may not need (if his all survived).

    How do I store the unused comb? At what temps do I need to consider getting it out of the hive so moths don't eat it up?

    If at least one of them survives I plan to combine all the comb that will fit in one hive and doing a split later to re-populate the second. (Or use the extra package to restart one and combine the combs.)

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,136

    Default Re: Possible winter loss TBH - how to preserve the comb

    I would not bother them until it's 50 or 60 F at least. They may still be alive. Then freezing is best if you have room in your freezer. The moths won't get going in your location until about late June or mid July depending on the year, but this was a bitter cold winter, and I doubt you'll have issues before July. Robbing and ants are more likely issues. Ants come out sooner than the moths, but the ants still need the soil to thaw first and that takes a while. So, sealing it off so bees don't rob it is your first priority...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Milw, WI
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Possible winter loss TBH - how to preserve the comb

    Michael, that helps me sleep a little better! I was just worried that once we got above freezing I was toast as far as moths go. Heck I could still have a mouse issue...oh lord.

    Still excited to run both types, just expecting a different experience between TBH and Lang. Who knows what I will be saying NEXT year!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hephzibah, GA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Possible winter loss TBH - how to preserve the comb

    I had that problem and decided to store them in bags inside of Styrofoam coolers since I had no freezer room. I live in Georgia, so our winters fluctuate between frigid and balmy and, unfortunately, a lot of them became moldy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Charles Town, WV
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: Possible winter loss TBH - how to preserve the comb

    Last year (late 2012) I left everything in there (including some capped and uncapped honey). All I did was tidy up the bottom board, scrape off the couple SHBs that were entombed in propolis and remove any combs that I didn't like (crooked mostly). Put corks in all the entrance holes and left it over the winter. I meant to do more before installing another package, but got behind and ended up installing them without cutting out moldy comb. I went back into the hive a week later, and they had everything all tidy and clean and were bringing in pollen like crazy.
    - Bruce
    I have one TBH and have yet to overwinter it. Don't do anything soley on my advice!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hephzibah, GA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Possible winter loss TBH - how to preserve the comb

    It did occur to me at the time that bees must deal with moldy comb all the time. My main reason for not including it was I didn't know why the bees absconded from the hive, leaving brood and stores, and didn't want to introduce a new colony to potential diseases. I have uses for the comb, so it's not a total loss.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Charles Town, WV
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: Possible winter loss TBH - how to preserve the comb

    I didn't intend to leave it, but I was pleasantly surprised that they did a great job of tidying up. Just looked outside (finally a day over 60) and I see some activity, so I'm still hopeful for my first successful overwinter in 3 years.
    - Bruce
    I have one TBH and have yet to overwinter it. Don't do anything soley on my advice!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Milw, WI
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Possible winter loss TBH - how to preserve the comb

    so I have figured out what I'm doing with the two hives of empty comb. I have ordered one package so I can restart a single hive. I plan to consolidate the remaining combs (some with honey) into the primary hive.

    The rest of it I will chop and crop with rubberbands into frames to help start my new packages in Langstroth hives. Which should be huge help for the packages and in getting them drawing straight comb inside the frames. Since it has brood smell its even better.

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