Using old frames with cells
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Gainesville, GA
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    11

    Default Using old frames with cells

    Getting back into Bee keeping after losing a hive about a decade ago (received it unexpectedly, having never done beekeeping) and after taking stock of my equipment, I realized my frames still had well established cells and am curious if I can use them for my new bees.

    As you can see, they are dark in color but appear to be clean and even smell like good ol’ Beeswax. The only concern is the one pictured which might have... mold?

    FWIW, they were stored in a closed room of the garage, high off the floor. I figure if I can use them, all the easier for my new bees to get established. Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    5,535

    Default Re: Using old frames with cells

    I think your questions is if you can use old drawn comb?

    From your pictures it looks fine, but of course, if the old bees bees died of American Foul brood it could be transmitted to your new bees since it lasts for decades on used comb.

    But chances are they didn't, or you would know that.

    I would also plan to offer some fresh new foundation right away as an alternative in case for some reason the old comb has gotten too dry and brittle in a decade's bee-less storage. But I think if they do use it, it will be fine.

    Did you have any chemicals packed with the hives to protect the combs during storage? If so, air them out in a breezy sunny space (boxes on end outdoors).

    Hope this is useful info for you.

    Nancy

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockholm, NJ, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Using old frames with cells

    I would say rend it to wax and give them fresh frames.


    Quote Originally Posted by Enzzzzo View Post
    Getting back into Bee keeping after losing a hive about a decade ago (received it unexpectedly, having never done beekeeping) and after taking stock of my equipment, I realized my frames still had well established cells and am curious if I can use them for my new bees.

    As you can see, they are dark in color but appear to be clean and even smell like good ol’ Beeswax. The only concern is the one pictured which might have... mold?

    FWIW, they were stored in a closed room of the garage, high off the floor. I figure if I can use them, all the easier for my new bees to get established. Thanks!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Gainesville, GA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Using old frames with cells

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    I think your questions is if you can use old drawn comb?
    Ah, yes - comb would be correct. They died because the previous owners harvested the honey, but failed to mention this when I "inherited" the hive. Without food for the winter.......

    Being so late in the season (pick up bees next weekend) I wanted to give them a step up any way I can - but perhaps using fresh frames has the least risk. Decisions, decisions - but that's why I'm here!👍

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    5,535

    Default Re: Using old frames with cells

    Give them some of each, then your bases are covered.

    Nancy

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
    Posts
    6,551

    Default Re: Using old frames with cells

    You older combs look great to me. I do the same thing that you did... I give them the smell test. If they look good and smell good then I use them.

    It looks like plastic foundation, and where the foundation is bare, a painting on of bees wax will be needed to get the bees to finish drawing the combs out to cover the bare foundation.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Bradley County, Tennessee
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Using old frames with cells

    I agree with Ray. They look great. I would put them in the middle of the box so the Queen could get laying much sooner. Put new ones on the outer edges.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Jamesville, NC USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Using old frames with cells

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve's Bees View Post
    I agree with Ray. They look great. I would put them in the middle of the box so the Queen could get laying much sooner. Put new ones on the outer edges.
    If you are getting package bees this is good advice. If you are getting a nuc it is not. Keep the brood chamber intact.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Gainesville, GA
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    11

    Default Re: Using old frames with cells

    Quote Originally Posted by roddo27846 View Post
    If you are getting package bees this is good advice. If you are getting a nuc it is not. Keep the brood chamber intact.
    Well, I just put in my packaged bees yesterday. I ended up using all new frames. One of my old frames had some wax moth damage but it wasn't until picking up the package from the breeder that she mentioned freezing the old frames to kill of any lingering larva.

    I'm game to pop a few in if its not too late (or early) to crack the hive open? Would love to give them a leg up being so late in the season!

    BTW, as I'm writing this, I'm sitting next to my hive with a cup of coffee, all of us enjoying a beautiful morning! Well, I assume they're happy. Very busy!
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  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Gainesville, GA
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    11

    Default Re: Using old frames with cells

    Quote Originally Posted by roddo27846 View Post
    If you are getting package bees this is good advice. If you are getting a nuc it is not. Keep the brood chamber intact.
    Well, I installed my package yesterday. With some wax moth damage on 1 of the old frames, I took the precaution of using all new frames. Of course, in talking with the breeder when we picked up the package, she mentioned freezing the old frames to kill off any wave moth larva. In the interest of time, I went with the new.

    Having said that - is it too late (or early) to crack open the super and put in a few of the old, combed frames? Would love to give her a leg up since it's so late in the season.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Jamesville, NC USA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Using old frames with cells

    Is the queen still in her cage? If so I would wait until I was ready to take the cage out in a few more days to add your comb, but doing so now probably is fine too. It will certainly give them a leg up.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Gainesville, GA
    Posts
    11

    Default

    How long does it take for them to eat through the candy plug?

    The hive seems quite busy today, lots of flying around outside the hive, more than I expected. Is this a sign that the queen has not been freed?

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