Question about old hives
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    Mt. Hope, AL
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    41

    Default Question about old hives

    A buddy of mine did some work at a ladies farm this weekend. He saw a bunch of hives in her barn and asked her about them. According to her they were her late husband’s who had been dead a few years. She said a few years before he died mites killed his bees and he just gave up and they had been stored there since. Then asked if he wanted them.

    Would you think they’re safe since it was mites and it’s been so long?

    If you were to take them what would you do to them before using them?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland, USA
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    204

    Default Re: Question about old hives

    Used beekeeping equipment is generally frowned upon since mites are not the issue, but American Foulbrood is. This is a severe and highly contagious disease that can persist as spores on virtually any surface or material for up to 40 years. If you get it, you would have to destroy your operation to keep it from spreading and the state may get involved as well. Just say no to used beekeeping equipment.
    USDA Hardiness Zone 7A, Hobbyist, First Hives in 2017

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
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    4,301

    Default Re: Question about old hives

    I take used equipment and don't sweat about it.
    A good idea to torch the insides if want using propane torch or even a heat gun.

    For sure, makes good swarm traps.
    Which you can test then - if the swarms caught into it does OK, then the equipment is OK.

    If the old owner had AFB, he'd likely burn the boxes himself anyway.
    The mites don't matter; they have been dead for years.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
    Posts
    2,361

    Default Re: Question about old hives

    in the old days AFB wiped out whole outfits., now its mostly mites...

    if your starting out what is the risk? a few packages/nucs?
    big difference in risk if your bringing the boxes home to a few dozen hives they could contaminate..
    "oh well, let us stick to science. let them have their beliefs and intuitions!" -Medhat Nasr

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    2,075

    Default Re: Question about old hives

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    if your starting out what is the risk? a few packages/nucs?
    big difference in risk if your bringing the boxes home to a few dozen hives they could contaminate..
    My thoughts exactly. Ignore the parrots.

    By all means give 'ém a wipe-over with a propane torch - and then just get on and use them.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,791

    Default Re: Question about old hives

    The hives are at a farm. You have an in thru your buddy. Opportunity.

    I would look at the frames. They have been in a barn, pretty preserved. Dead with a lot of larva, stay away. Dwindled dead with a small cluster, OK.

    If you can I would try to start them there and not bring them home.
    It is hard to design a safety net that some will not use as a hammock.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    906

    Default Re: Question about old hives

    Guys, I'd get the equipment. Look for dead unopened brood ext. If so burn the frames. The boxes, are probably good. If in doubt, use a lawn torch to sterilize them, or don't get them at all. There is probably not an issue with them, except neglect before they died. Will save you lots of bucks, in the long run. Torch emmout, and caulk and repaint if needed. Free is a great deal most of the time. Just clean em well, scrape all the old wax from frames, and do as above

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Nacogdoches, TX, USA
    Posts
    293

    Default

    Go get them and use them. As others have said, take precautions. Congrats on the free equipment.

    Actually, I would probably tell her no thanks, and then message me her contact information. 😂

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
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    4,301

    Default Re: Question about old hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Nelsonhoneyfarms View Post
    Go get them and use them. As others have said, take precautions. Congrats on the free equipment.

    Actually, I would probably tell her no thanks, and then message me her contact information. ��
    Long drive for me.
    Else, I'd take the # and be on my way!
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Mt. Hope, AL
    Posts
    41

    Default

    Thanks for all the replies. I called him already and told him to take possession of them ASAP.

    We had already talked about where would be a good place for hives there and had decided on a good spot, so that’s taken care of.

    He called me up about a month ago and said “guess what I’m doing”. Since it was still turkey season I answered “cleaning a bird”.
    “Nope. I’m watching a swarm of bees fly off”
    “WHAT,WHAT,WHERE”
    “I’m here at the farm fixing a fence in mom’s yard. I was headed to get more wire from the shed and heard a lot of buzzing and there they were,flying off a cedar limb about 10 feet up. There’s still some left on the limb but they’re taking off. They’re headed across the field.”

    So there are bees in the area already. I told him I’d bring him a HHRB but I haven’t yet.

    The farm is a cattle farm but there’s plenty of crop land and woods nearby.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Bellflower,Montgomery County, Mo
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Question about old hives

    I don't know how far you are from the farm or if you live in a city. Last year I moved all of my hive away from a great site that was 17 miles away. Owner was a former conservation agent and had 60+ acres and was close to a creek. I got an ok harvest but hated the drive and worked it less than the yard that was only 2 miles away. Just not worth my time for the few hives I have.

    I live surrounded by crop on all 4 sides of my little town. I've found that the cattle are raised on non crop land that usually has to many hills for crops. But it works well for me as not much spraying goes on in those areas. I like it for bees and cattlemen often are ok with me putting a few hives on their land. ps see if you can put hot wire around them too keep the nosy cows off the boxes.

    I hope it works well for you.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    906

    Default Re: Question about old hives

    Alos there is a beekeeper or may be the same one your getting equipment from. Less than 1/4 mile on left from you. I saw the, or some.boxes out front on a side yard. Rich

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Mt. Hope, AL
    Posts
    41

    Default

    Here’s the pic he sent me.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Ridgecrest, CA USA
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Dip them completely in paraffin at 160C for 10 min. https://afb.org.nz/wax-dipping/

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