After Extracting, what to do with the frames?
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  1. #1
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    Jul 2019
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    Ann Arbor, MI, US
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    Default After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    I've been beekeeping for about a decade now, and I'm kind of shocked to say I still don't know what to do with frames after extracting. Every video or website or even book you pick up about beekeeping stops the extracting explanation with spinning down. If you're lucky, they tell you to leave the frames out for the bees to clean out. OK, but then what?

    I use Pierco frames for my honey supers, and a hand-crank extractor. When I'm done uncapping and spinning out, the frames have their comb pretty much intact. I leave that out for the bees, but then I've never been able to decide if I should just stick those frames back into the hive for them to fill again, or scrape off all of the comb and brush on new melted wax, and then put them back in. The question changes a little when the extracting is in Fall, but it would be great to know what other beekeepers do with those frames both earlier in the summer and in the fall.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    Hi and welcome to Beesource.This topic has actually been discussed quite a bit recently. There are different ways of getting the frames ready for storage, this is how I am doing it.

    Do not scrape the wax! Take the extracted super of frames and place them over the inner cover and under the telescoping top. Your bees will dry off the frames and remove any damaged wax from the frames leaving them clean and in good order for next year. I would leave them on the hive for several days to a week.

    Use a wax moth preventative. Frames can be sealed up with Paramoth crystals or sprayed with Bt, a natural grub and moth larva killer. I will be using Thuricide, however this not an approved product for bees. Last year I did not treat the combs and even though they were stored inside the house, wax moths found them. I was able to freeze the few that got webbed and save them but it is a pain with only a side by side.

    If you use the Paramoth, the frames need to be aired out for several days before placing them back in the hive.

    You will get several recommendations, choose what works best for you. If I had a great big chest freezer, I'd stick 'em in that and call it done.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
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    Jul 2019
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    Ann Arbor, MI, US
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    Thanks JW! But what about earlier in the season? Like, tomorrow I have a super that I'd like to put the escape board under because someone is hoping to get some purple deadnettle honey. So, I could have those frames spun down this weekend. What do I do with them then? It's only July - I don't want to store them.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    Put them back in the hive above a queen excluder. The bees will take care of them for you until your fall flow. My season is done so I am prepping for eight months of storage now.
    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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    Mar 2013
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    Seattle WA
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    Very good advice. I stored a few frames in the house a while back and it took years to get all the wax moths out of the house. There were cocoons everywhere. Now I store them in an out building and use Bt. I tried Paramoth a few years back and it did not work for me at all. I found larvae crawling around in the crystals. I should have taken pictures.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    Awesome, thanks. Would it be right to say, as long as you don't have any problems with the above the excluder frame/comb, you could just keep putting those back in the hive every year? As in, store them protected from wax moth over the winter, put them back on - as is - when the hives are ready in the spring, every year?

    For the hive body frames, I use wax foundation. I take the oldest (four year old) frames out every year, strip them down to wood, give them a spray of bleach, let them dry, put in new foundation, and put those back in the hive.

    Is there some rotation like that I should use for the super frames too? Or can I really just put them back in year after year if I don't see problems?

  8. #7
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    Feb 2015
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    See this post on storing frames. https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...41#post1633441 I've had good results with these Home Depot tubs and they are inexpensive. I store completely empty frames in the hive bodies, the tub is where frames that have pollen and un-extracted honey go.

    Last Sunday I took a 2' x 3' piece of plywood and screwed four casters onto it and glued a 1x3/4 around the perimeter to make a lip. I painted the area around the casters and the caster flanges with never-wet. Ants have a hard time keeping a grip on never-wet so it helps keep most of them out. I stacked all my unused supers on it in two stacks. Now they are all in one spot and its easy to move the entire thing. The plywood closes the bottom of the stack, a cover closes the top of the stack. I think I'm going to make another one.
    Last edited by JConnolly; 07-03-2019 at 11:14 AM.
    Zone 6B

  9. #8
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    Quote Originally Posted by kjmclark View Post
    Is there some rotation like that I should use for the super frames too? Or can I really just put them back in year after year if I don't see problems?
    I have not been keeping bees long enough to know the upper limits on reusing the combs from honey supers, but I expect at least 10 years from the plastic foundation I started using this year. A little less on the wax foundation I have been using. Whether you agree with rotating out brood comb or not, the rationale does not apply to the honey combs in supers as long as you use a queen excluder. Use it until it is too damaged to be of service.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #9
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    Santa Fe, NM, U.S.
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    kjmclark, beekeeping is very local, could you please put your location in your information.

    This time of year (for me), ALL frames go back on the hives ASAP, foundation in slots 3 & 7.
    The wet boxes set on two weeks ago are 5/9 capped again all ready.

  11. #10
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    Dec 2016
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    Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    At end of July I extract and just put the frames into the supers and put each super in an HD plastic bag. Store for 9 months in the shop.
    No moth issues, no issues at all.
    Next season the stickies go back on above excluders. The residual honey seems to encourage the bees to go up thru the excluder.
    Just my experience and it works for me.
    I am at a northern latitude and so far we have no small hive beetles. Not sure if that matters.
    Brian
    53N 115 W El.850M

  12. #11
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    Ann Arbor, MI, US
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    Outdoor - took me a bit to figure out how, but my location should show up now. But, with due respect, if you think that makes a difference, I think you should re-read my original second paragraph. I should have been clearer - this is not a question about storage. This is a question about early/mid-season extraction, and whether plastic honey super frames need to be scraped clean, rewaxed, and can then be put back in hives, or if you can put them back into the hives as is, with drawn - but damaged some by uncapping and extraction - comb. I have several planted fields with phacelia, sweet clover, and alsike clover - my bees will be pulling in nectar until the asters stop in October (here). So I won't be storing frames until around then. But I've never seen an answer as to whether you can put the frames back into the hive as is after extracting - until this discussion. I really appreciate learning that most people just pop them back into the hive in this situation. It's one of those things like reusing frames by replacing foundation that doesn't get discussed much.

  13. #12
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    Mar 2014
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    Gould, OK
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    That depends on you. If you put the frames back on the bees can clean them up and start to store more honey for a possible second extraction in the beginning of September. If you scrape off the wax and re coat the frames the bees have to rebuild the wax comb before storing honey and you may not get the second honey harvest. I am extracting my honey know and will put the frames back on and try to get the cotton honey. Cotton should be blooming in about 2 weeks here in the SW corner of Oklahoma.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    I just stick them back in. I believe it saves the bees a lot of time and effort rebuilding from scratch. Even if they don't get refilled with honey at least they end up nice and clean and ready for next year. I am still pretty new, so take it for what it's worth...

    However! Last year I had a lot of moths and beetles and one reason is there was too much space in the hive. So if the colony isn't strong I won't put back a box full of frames. I should have been making the hive tighter so the bees could defend it better by completely filling the space.

  15. #14
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    Dec 2015
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    Grant Co WV
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    Quote Originally Posted by kjmclark View Post
    Is there some rotation like that I should use for the super frames too? Or can I really just put them back in year after year if I don't see problems?
    I am no Expert myself. But help a commercial beekeeper throughout the summer. Honey frames will last a long (by that I mean in appearance) time because there are no pupa casing in them. However the bees walking across them tends to darken them and the old wax can become brittle. When extracting we set aside extracted frames that have really dark comb as well as those that are in need of repair. Most frames have a date on them. Just for my own information take note of how old the removed frames are 8 years seems to be the average but I have seen some far older. the Color has Nothing to do with the quality of the honey and as long as the frames are structurally sound there is no need to take them out of service. The guy I work with has a viewing area in the honey house, so customers in the store can see the extraction, and he wants the frames to maintain a degree of eye appeal!

  16. #15
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    8 years!?! (Oops - JW had already said 10!) Wow. I've been such a dope. I thought many times, "You know, they made the comb in the first place, so it shouldn't be a big deal for them to repair it." But I could never find anything that said that was an acceptable thing to do. So I usually took off all of the comb after extracting and painted new wax on. I suppose I saved myself problems with wax moth, but there were probably a dozen times I could have just put them back in and saved me and the bees a lot of effort. So watch for the comb to look bad enough to not be happy about it, and keep wax moths out when I store them, but otherwise, give them back to the bees with the already drawn comb. Cool!

  17. #16
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    Grant Co WV
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    Quote Originally Posted by kjmclark View Post
    8 years!?! (Oops - JW had already said 10!) Wow. I've been such a dope. I thought many times, "You know, they made the comb in the first place, so it shouldn't be a big deal for them to repair it." But I could never find anything that said that was an acceptable thing to do. So I usually took off all of the comb after extracting and painted new wax on. I suppose I saved myself problems with wax moth, but there were probably a dozen times I could have just put them back in and saved me and the bees a lot of effort. So watch for the comb to look bad enough to not be happy about it, and keep wax moths out when I store them, but otherwise, give them back to the bees with the already drawn comb. Cool!
    We take our extracted frames if they are not going back on the hives for another harvest and place them on the hive for a couple of days. The bees take whatever honey is left and move it down into the hive. When we remove them they are clean and dry. We then mix 4 teaspoons of Bacillus Thuringensis, Aizwai (BT-a) with a gallon of water, let stand overnight, Place it in an atomizer bottle and spritz the frames well. Place them back in the box and stack them. They have no wax moth damage next time or even next year when we go to use them. The bees do not have to waste time and resources drawing new comb so they can go to filling them right away. Increasing your honey production greatly.
    Last edited by RTBBEE; 07-05-2019 at 07:46 AM.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    The numbers vary depending on who you talk to, but figure that for every super the bees have to draw out, you lost around 10# of honey. That is $100 worth of honey that you did not get!
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  19. #18
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    frederick, md
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    We extract and put the frames right back on the hives. This year the extracted frames were refilled within a few days, our black locust was blooming and no massive rain storms.

    Here nectar flow stops around now. We don't go for a fall harvest. So all frames pulled, extracted, frozen, stored for next year.
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: After Extracting, what to do with the frames?

    Quote Originally Posted by kjmclark View Post
    this is not a question about storage. This is a question about early/mid-season extraction, and whether plastic honey super frames need to be scraped clean, rewaxed, and can then be put back in hives, or if you can put them back into the hives as is, with drawn - but damaged some by uncapping and extraction - comb.
    I understand now. Yes, you can put them back on the hives as is. You'll be surprised how fast they will repair the uncapping and extraction damage. They will have most of the damage repaired by the time they get it all cleaned up. They are amazing workers. If you scrape the frames clean and rewax then they bee will just have to start all over again, I wouldn't do that unless the wax has gotten old and nasty; you should get many years of use out of most comb.
    Zone 6B

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