best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?
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  1. #1
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    Question best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    I'm sure this has been asked repeatedly but I'm not seeing a thread on it right now, so ..... here goes:

    I stored 5 frames of comb (with some honey, pollen, etc) in a plastic bin (closed) and when I checked it (after several months), saw fungi -- or mold? --growing on them.

    I rinsed/soaked the frames in a tub, with hot/soapy water + vinegar. Let them dry, and -- after a few days -- now see them coated with fluffy white fungi.

    OK, so now: what?! Do I just scrape off all the comb and call it a day? Freeze or re-store them and just use them later and let the bees clean them (if they will/can)? Or not bother with freezing?

    I'm running out of space and containers and it's tougher to store things, esp. in airtight containers.

    Any advice, anecdotes, etc would be appreciated ....

    Mitch

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    They are too wet. Can you freeze them or store them in an insect free space uncovered?

  4. #3
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    In nature, hives die and the old comb gets moldy. The mold, mildew and various bacteria will fight it out and the bad bacteria and molds will eventually die out and the combs will be surprisingly disease free for the bees. New bees eventually move in and clean it up to be reused.

    I live in a very wet winter location and dead outs get moldy comb every year. Keep the frames as dry as you can and reuse in spring. Your bees will know what to do with it.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    Pretty much what dudelt said. The white fluffy looking stuff is mold and the bees will take care of it. Comb should not be kept in airtight containers. I store mine in the boxes so air can circulate. I still get some mold, but not a lot.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Pretty much what dudelt said. The white fluffy looking stuff is mold and the bees will take care of it. Comb should not be kept in airtight containers. I store mine in the boxes so air can circulate. I still get some mold, but not a lot.
    what do u do to prevent wax moths 50 suppers with comb stored in boxes total los to wax moths
    Iím really not that serious

  7. #6
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    Mac, I have indicated in other posts that I store all my equipment indoors in a spare bedroom. Wax moth were not a problem for me until around Feb. when they finally found the frames. I saw the droppings under the frames, pulled the ones with larvae, and killed them. Not hard to do when you do not have many supers in the first place. I think I would spray with BT and store loosely covered but protected from mice.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    Sunlight might help. I also sprayed some of mine with hydrogen peroxide straight from the bottle last March. It did an OK job. However, I'm not sure how healthy it was for the worker bees that were investigating the dripping combs on a sunny day.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    Quote Originally Posted by mac View Post
    what do u do to prevent wax moths 50 suppers with comb stored in boxes total los to wax moths
    For the first time ever, I bought the proper BT for wax moths. I should have done it years ago. It is not cheap but for the 50 supers you have it will be worth the price. One mine were extracted, I sprayed them and put them in storage. On bag should last you a couple of years.

  10. #9
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    Sep 2016
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    Princeton, NJ
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    Quote Originally Posted by dudelt View Post
    For the first time ever, I bought the proper BT for wax moths. I should have done it years ago. It is not cheap but for the 50 supers you have it will be worth the price. One mine were extracted, I sprayed them and put them in storage. On bag should last you a couple of years.
    What is BT?

  11. #10
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    Apr 2015
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    woodland, wa usa
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    Personally, I'd never use soap on comb, simply due to the ability of killing a hive with soapy water. I don't want the risk I did not rinse well enough.

    I've recently come across claims that though bees are very adept at buffing/cleaning moldy comb, it does, many are saying, kill them to do so. (And yes, I "was" a proponent of letting bees clean their own mold.)

    A gentle spray (lacking strength enough to blow comb away) simply with water will remove the bulk of mold from comb, but

    *******it is of extreme importance to thoroughly properly dry any of this wet comb to prevent the re-mold.*********

    2 methods: (which may actually be combined)

    1. Hot room.

    2. Fan blowing across comb.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleopold View Post
    What is BT?
    There are a few strains of BT that kill different caterpillar or mosquito type insects. The one for wax moths is Xentari.
    https://www.valentbiosciences.com/cr...ducts/xentari/

  13. #12
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    Jun 2016
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    Thx much, team, for the input. I'm drying the damp frames as best I can, in the house. I don't know if wax moths can get in here or not (I've seen a few on old comb inside in the past; they may, though, have been in eggs on the old comb when I brought those frames in back-when). I hope all of you have good hives going into the winter....

  14. #13
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    Mar 2018
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    George County, MS
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    About the only way to sterilize wood is to bake it. Fungi spores are embedded throughout the wood.
    Just keep it dry.

    Paradichlorobenzene is a good moth fumigant, it is non-toxic to bees the way naphtha is.

  15. #14
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    Apr 2015
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    AvaleaHill,
    By your exact verbiage, it would appear you are saying para moth and naphtha moth crystals are the same. Did you simply miss the word "not" at the end? ie. Para ... good ... naptha ... [not]

    They really are not the same. When treating hive equipment, naphtha based moth balls/crystals should be avoided.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnqpblk View Post
    Personally, I'd never use soap on comb, simply due to the ability of killing a hive with soapy water.
    As I understand it, soap is no more toxic to bees than it is to humans. The soap simply breaks the surface tension of the water, allowing the water to flow into the bees' breathing tubules which then drowns them. It's not the soap that's killing them, it's the water drowning them. Any residual soap left in the comb should be no more harmful to them than it was to Ralphie getting his mouth washed out with soap. It just might cause a little blindness.


  17. #16
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    Mar 2018
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    George County, MS
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    Default Re: best option to handle fungi all over stored comb?

    Thanks for the catch, inqpblk.

    I write that sentence poorly, both the meaning and the grammar.

    It should be "Paradichlorobenzene crystals are a good moth fumigant and they are non-toxic to bees. Don't use naphtha mothballs which are toxic to bees."

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