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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Deer Lodge MT
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    665

    Default When does comb get dark brown?

    I was always under the impression it took a few years. I noticed my brood boxes were pretty dark and this would be only the beginning of the second year.

    Would Apivar cause the discoloration?

    If so is it nesessary to pull them or can I leave them in for a couple more years?
    4a

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Augusta, Georgia
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    I thought it was brood comb that made it dark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
    Posts
    5,653

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    The comb gets darker and darker as each round of brood is raised in it. I understand it's the pupa casing layers building up that make it darker each round of brood raised.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    5,057

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    The more cycles of brood raised in the cells, the darker it gets. What you are seeing is normal. After a few years the comb can get pretty dark, almost black in color tone.
    To everything there is a season....

  5. #5

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    If you hold the comb up to the light and cannot see light through it, it's time to cull that comb.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    4,739

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    OH NO. I have comb that I could not see through 20 years ago. Maybe I should begin culling?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Campbell County, Va
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    Quote Originally Posted by Briarvalleyapiaries View Post
    If you hold the comb up to the light and cannot see light through it, it's time to cull that comb.
    Good rule of thumb..haven't thought of it that way, but makes sense.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,745

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    They get dark very quickly. Another cocoon every generation of brood.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Somerset, NJ
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    I would think that if the comb was bad then the bees would take it out.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Campbell County, Va
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonsl View Post
    I would think that if the comb was bad then the bees would take it out.
    Its more of a discussion in the last few years of culling comb in hives every 3-5 years. Studies show that most feral colonies only last that long at best before wax moth clean out dead out colonies. The concern for hobby beekeepers is the buildup of chemicals in comb. Other studies have shown hives with old comb to be more resistant to problems, so I guess someone could make an argument for either side.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Deer Lodge MT
    Posts
    665

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    I ran into a couple vids on beekeeping culling old comb feeling there might be a problem with it. One in particular saw a very good egg laying pattern but noticed there was a lot of dead larvae and pupae being taken out. Felt that chemical build up might be the culprit. Don't know if it worked or not.
    4a

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Ozark, AL
    Posts
    522

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    Quote Originally Posted by Briarvalleyapiaries View Post
    If you hold the comb up to the light and cannot see light through it, it's time to cull that comb.
    Why?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Deer Lodge MT
    Posts
    665

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    Quote Originally Posted by Briarvalleyapiaries View Post
    If you hold the comb up to the light and cannot see light through it, it's time to cull that comb.
    I have heard this as well. Also wondered why?
    4a

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    1,309

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    A side question to this question. The guy I got my bees from said that the old comb will build up with cocoons and get to small for the bees to use for brood. Is there any truth to this?
    Thanks
    gww
    zone 5b

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Uk
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    This is what our national bee unit says (leaflet 5):
    Why should I change old brood combs? Combs should be changed regularly as they become damaged, contain extensive amounts or inconveniently placed drone comb, but mostly because used comb may contain the causative organism of many bee diseases, such as EFB, AFB, Nosema, etc.
    Bailey's original description of his 'comb exchange' was aimed at reducing nosema.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,745

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    If you are using chemicals I think it's important to rotate your combs out. I don't use chemicals. I don't rotate them out. I just use them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Somerset, NJ
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If you are using chemicals I think it's important to rotate your combs out. I don't use chemicals. I don't rotate them out. I just use them.
    Would this also apply to using thymol, formic and OA? The so called natural options.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,745

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    The formic and OA are not lipophilic so they won't build up in the wax. Thymol and any other essential oil will build up some in the wax as they are oils and wax is oil.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Somerset, NJ
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The formic and OA are not lipophilic so they won't build up in the wax. Thymol and any other essential oil will build up some in the wax as they are oils and wax is oil.
    Thanks for the info!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: When does comb get dark brown?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If you are using chemicals I think it's important to rotate your combs out. I don't use chemicals. I don't rotate them out. I just use them.
    I agree, except even if we as beekeepers don't use 'chemicals,' the forage they get into is often laden with chemicals, which they bring home and incorporate into their waxes. I don't agree with any 'hard and fast' rule on when to cut out comb, but in general I can tell that if it has a certain 'frassy' smell to it, it's time to cut those areas out. I know the chemicals can also accumulate in the wood on frames, but that seems to take more years than I've had. I think I still have the frames with my name written in on Sharpie from the first time I dropped them off to get Russians from Ray Revis. What a fool I was, lol.
    2 hives of Italians. 5 seasons of experience.

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