lots of dead hives; what do to with the frames...
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    24

    Default lots of dead hives; what do to with the frames...

    Hey guys,

    Season has started up here in Quebec.

    I had a terrible year with only, so far, 5 hives making it out of 13

    So now I have 8 hives, on two deep brood chambers that are completely dead.

    What do you guys do with the frames of these hives? I can probably give some frames to the other hives that are not dead but even then...

    Obviously, I cannot keep them too much around since they will get infested with wax moths nor can I freeze the ones that I can reuse since I do not have that freezer space (at most 8 * 20: 160 frames).

    Some of the frames still contain syrup and others have pollen.

    Should I simply cut the comb out and throw it away ? melt the wax ?

    Cheers,

    MM

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,300

    Default Re: lots of dead hives; what do to with the frames...

    If you have ANY reason to suspect that the bees in a dead-out hive may have been diseased, I'd remove & dispose of all the wax+pollen+syrup, etc, and torch-treat the frames. On the other hand, if you're quite sure of what killed them, and that there was no disease involved (varroa counting as a disease, here), then you shouldn't have any problem giving the drawn comb to your live hives to give 'em a bit of a "head start" on this season...of maybe make a couple splits into the "dead-out" boxes to start re-establishing your colonies.

    ...Hope it helped
    Rob

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Callaway, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: lots of dead hives; what do to with the frames...

    I have the same problem. I lost five hives this Winter and now have an abundance of drawn frames, most of which are empty of any stores. The few frames I had with honey or pollen in them I put in my surviving hives the others I froze for a short period and then carefully placed them in plastic bags which I then placed in rubbermaid storage bins. There is a RM storage bin that takes nine medium frames almost perfectly or will fit five full sized frames on their sides. I have done this with honey super frames for a while now. I do have some freezer space but not enough for all these frames at once so I rotate the bins in and out of the freezer occasionally and never remove the frames from the storage bins until they go into the hives. I have never had pests move into the bins and I just cleared enough space in my freezer to hold a bin at a time. I just rotate them in and out.

    I have serious ant problems. Any box that is left sitting for long quickly gets ants trying to colonize it but this method has kept them from getting anything established. If you get more than four or five tubs of frames though it could be a problem keeping track. Also by stacking the bins on top of each other the weight seals em up enough that the ants rarely get into the bottom ones anyway. I bought a couple more tubs last Summer and they were still priced at less than 5 bucks each I think. Not too expensive for small scale operations but prolly a bit much if you had 30 or more hives to deal with.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Hartington, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: lots of dead hives; what do to with the frames...

    My sympathies. I am just west of you in Ontario, went into winter with eight solid colonies. By Jan three were gone (complete silence inside box). In the next month another three died, I now have one colony which is strong and healthy with bees and another where two bees come out to playflight now and again. So I'm still in bees, but hanging on by fingernails. It was a very long dark winter after a not so good summer.

    Post mortem does not show any sign of disease. One box was completely empty of bees but I suspected that one was queenless already and chanced it. On another couple there were many dead bees but they had cornered themselves, with a lot of honey but only at a distance. The others were walk away splits which did not manage to get themselves up and running independently even though the split was done at what I figure was a good time, June 1, and well supplied with drawn comb and much honey.

    I have hauled in all the deadouts and have the drawn and filled frames in the honey house. As soon as it gets hot inside I will extract what is suitable and protect the rest for feeding back.

    Historically, bee keepers must have been familiar with what to do with wet comb. I understand that Quebec is well known for mead - soak those frames that will not spin out and ferment?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: lots of dead hives; what do to with the frames...

    Thanks for the input, guys

    Sure, I could use mead but I did an oxalic treatment + feed with sugar so extracting the frames is out of the question...

    I will try to look around for the bins that Connor described.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,176

    Default Re: lots of dead hives; what do to with the frames...

    For me, it's a lot of decisions. I too will check for disease and if I don't want to risk it, I'll harvest the wax and melt it down. If I need wax, I'll do the same thing. If it's time to rotate some of that comb, same thing. If I want to save it, I spray it down with BT and store it where it gets cold. Big problem the year before last was I assumed (ha!) that it would be cold enough to kill the wax moths so I didn't spray. That was a mistake and I lost a lot of old comb. Using the BT kills the wax moth larvae without damage to the comb or subsequent problems with the bees.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

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