Cleaning out old boxes and frames
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hotlanta, GA
    Posts
    672

    Default Cleaning out old boxes and frames

    So, I got a deal on some wax moth eaten used equipment, allegedly from a sick beekeeper who stopped taking care of them and they eventually all died out. Some stuff is only a year or two old, and other stuff is only good for swarm traps.

    Dangers aside...I have a few questions.

    Would soaking frames and foundation in strong bleach water for ten minutes more or less make them safe to use? Will bleach damage plastic foundation?

    Also regarding scorching boxes...I have a ton of them...could I stack them up and build a paper fire inside them to sterilize them? Should I wet down the boxes first? Do I need to scorch the outsides? Will repainting take care of it?

    What about steaming? Irradiating them? Anyone know of a Georgia facility that can do it? Is it crazy expensive?

    Any tips? So far this is incredibly slow going...spent a few hours and so far I've scraped and cleaned 8 boxes.

    Thank you guys so much in advance!
    Ask two beekeepers, get three answers

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hotlanta, GA
    Posts
    672

    Default Re: Cleaning out old boxes and frames

    I also thought about renting an industrial wallpaper steamer and rigging up something to steam a stack of boxes. Think it would get hot enough to sterilize? It would at least kill all the large spiders I keep finding.
    Ask two beekeepers, get three answers

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Posts
    295

    Default Re: Cleaning out old boxes and frames

    My opinion is that your greatest risk is AFB spores. I do not think that bleach will take care of that. I found this on a PA Dept of Ag website pertaining to AFB:

    "The frames and combs should be burned in a pit and the ashes covered. The heavy woodenware (supers, tops and bottoms, etc)
    may be sterilized by scraping them clean (the scrapings should be burned) and scorching the inside surfaces.
    The scorching can be done with a propane torch; particular attention must be paid to cracks and corners. If large
    quantities of supers are to be scorched they may be stacked and painted inside with kerosene and lit. Keep a
    cover handy to extinguish the flames when the wood is sufficiently scorched. To sterilize large quantities of
    equipment, it might be worthwhile to set up a barrel with a boiling lye solution of 1 lb. of lye to 10 gallons of
    water. The woodenware should be immersed in the solution and boiled 5 to 10 minutes or until clean. Frames
    may also be sterilized in this manner. Lye is a very caustic solution; use extreme care in this process."

    I have also read that the combs can be sterilized by irradiation.
    Zone 7a - 1650ft

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hotlanta, GA
    Posts
    672

    Default Re: Cleaning out old boxes and frames

    Would be using the equipment by itself only in specific yards as a permanent quarantine work? How long without symptoms would I have to wait to deem it safe?
    Ask two beekeepers, get three answers

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    York, York County, SC
    Posts
    230

    Default Re: Cleaning out old boxes and frames

    You can clean them if you are willing to risk it. As for the method, Spur9 provides a good recommendation. As well, irradiation would work however it is very expensive. You could also consider a wax impregnation for the supers. As for frames...IMHO, its not worth the trouble. The bleach will certainly impact the flexibility of the plastic frames, lye will simply eat them. Good luck with it and let us know how it goes.

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