Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?
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  1. #1
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    Default Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    I have a friend willing to give me 2 old(a few years) hives that he isn't using. He did beekeeping for a few seasons and then quit. He has a lot of other hobbies LOL

    So, other than looking for American Foulbrood, what else would make you say no to free boxes and frames?

    Keep in mind, I know this guy and he's not charging me any money; I approached him b/c I am trying to save money in getting set back up.

    I don't want to be naive and think all used equipment is fine, but the way some ppl talk, it's better to spend hundreds of dollars on brand new stuff than take a chance. But if overall winter losses average 42% anyway, it seems like this would be a good idea. I could buy all new equipment and lose hives anyway.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    There is a lot of excess paranoia about diseased used equipment. I have been buying and accepting free equipment for decades with no disease problems. Using common sense of course.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    when did his bees die? if they died in the winter they may be allright , summer probably not. AFB spores live forever, that's the main reason not to trust it.
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper - my Youtube Vlog
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    So what do you look for? What would make you walk away from an offer of equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    There is a lot of excess paranoia about diseased used equipment. I have been buying and accepting free equipment for decades with no disease problems. Using common sense of course.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    Frequently overlooked is nosema cerana. You won’t know your bees have it until a high spore count and dwindling. You can have a low spore count and won’t even know it. The spores can live on boxes that have been used with infected bees. You can freeze the boxes but obviously not the frames. Deb
    Proverbs 16:24

  7. #6
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    Default

    I sniff for the distinctive Foulbrood smell. I look for the distinctive Foulbrood dried larvae appearance. I stay away from old combs and old old boxes. I scorch the insides of boxes. Ap much free equipment these days is almost brand new. Little threat of AFB in that. For some reason people take the loss of thousands of PMS hives in stride but flip out if they hear talk of one case of AFB.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcos bees View Post
    So what do you look for? What would make you walk away from an offer of equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    There is a lot of excess paranoia about diseased used equipment. I have been buying and accepting free equipment for decades with no disease problems. Using common sense of course.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    I have gotten quite a bit of used equipment from a friend that just won't treat appropriately. Scrape, bleach, scorch, all is good. I do not use old comb from outside my own apiary. If you get drawn frames, melt down the wax and use new frames.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    "I sniff for the distinctive Foulbrood smell." I havent seen AFB for many many years and that smell is one I have never forgotten.I still smell frames on everything I see.As far as f;ipping out when hearing of a case of AFB I guess I still do after seeing my yard burning 30 some odd years ago.Man it a horrible sight to see everything going up in flames.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    I set a policy in our operation almost 30 years ago.
    "We do not bring in ANY used equipment".
    Hive equipment is WAY too inexpensive to bring in used stuff.
    Also, I am very particular and specific about how boxes, frames lids, etc are built.
    Another aspect of building everything from new is keeping everything uniform and identical.
    We get lots of compliments about the appearance of our hives as we pollinate through the crops every year.
    When I first got started an old timer told me, "AWW, the bees don't care!"
    Well I do!
    I have exactly ONE more hive than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond dispute!

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?



    I'd bet the person with good looking hives and well maintained equipment, has well looked after bees as well.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    Hey ODfrank---- can you smell pesticide buildup? You may be able to. I rarely agree with Harry, but I must agree with him on this one. Worse thing we ever did was acquire a large number of supers from the family. They where loaded with Nosema spores.

    Crazy Roland

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper1d View Post
    "I sniff for the distinctive Foulbrood smell." I havent seen AFB for many many years and that smell is one I have never forgotten.I still smell frames on everything I see.As far as f;ipping out when hearing of a case of AFB I guess I still do after seeing my yard burning 30 some odd years ago.Man it a horrible sight to see everything going up in flames.
    This is the stuff of nightmares! ^

    I believe I am isolated enough to not need to worry about getting AFB from my surroundings. About the only way I could get it would be if I brought in myself, which is a risk I am unwilling to take.
    Mites, I've got them, so I deal with them.
    I am a very small operator so the savings I would realize would very small, but the loss would be great.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgolden View Post


    I'd bet the person with good looking hives and well maintained equipment, has well looked after bees as well.
    Where is the LIKE button! These are challenging times full of uncertainty, Just like most times! The last two winters have shaken my belief in my beekeeping and that has made me question my scoffing at the burn all equipment over a year old crowd. As in everything, time will tell.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    Just to clarify, I currently have no hives so the only thing these would be infecting would be 2 medium boxes with drawn comb and 3 deep frames.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    Marcos, there is a big difference between risking two hives and getting your foot in the door for cheap and risking 2000 hives to save a few dollars. Do what you are comfortable doing and know the risks involved. As you grow your apiary, you will most likely be less willing to put the other hives in harms way. But for now, the odds are in your favor.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    There are risks, but I have bought and use some used equipment. When I have purchased used equipment, I soak it in a bleach solution, then let the boxes and frames sit in the hot sun (Florida) for a few days. I have not had any trouble...so far.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    I am getting almost brand new equipment from beginners who quit after their first packages die. Often the foundation is not even drawn out. Almost no propolis on the frame rests. A far cry from you commercial guys buying out hundreds of boxes. The combs never even have seen treatments. They have been in residential neighborhoods with few pesticides.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    Hey ODfrank---- can you smell pesticide buildup? You may be able to. I rarely agree with Harry, but I must agree with him on this one. Worse thing we ever did was acquire a large number of supers from the family. They where loaded with Nosema spores.

    Crazy Roland
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  19. #18

    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    There is a lot of excess paranoia about diseased used equipment. I have been buying and accepting free equipment for decades with no disease problems. Using common sense of course.
    +1

    A hive needs to eat about 300g of infected honey to get sick.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Marcos, there is a big difference between risking two hives and getting your foot in the door for cheap and risking 2000 hives to save a few dollars.
    +1

    If a person were to start with a nuc or two - then by definition they would be bringing something into their apiary which had already been used. At such a time making a judgment whether those bees were healthy or not would be relatively straightforward, and anyway the losses would be minimal even if something untoward were to occur.

    That's a far cry from obtaining a few boxes and frames with an unknown history, and perhaps even from an unknown original source (such as when buying at auction) which could go on to create major losses if you were to be unlucky.

    Use your judgment and weigh-up the risks versus the benefits. If in any doubt whatsoever, then avoid the risk.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Why does everyone think used equipment is ALL bad?

    Odfrank - they must quit quickly in your part of the world. Yes, less risk with those than our comb from the '60's.

    VanceG - what is the chance you are wintering poorly because of comb contamination? Do the bees seem to eat more than normal?

    Crazy Roland

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