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Discussion Starter #1
I recently had a neighbor give me their beehive and some of the frames inside have wax on them (see photo). I just ordered bees today and before they arrive, do I need to clean the wax off the frames? From what I understand, the bees will work the wax and nothing more is needed. I'm at 100% newbie, so any insight would be appreciated.

20190408_145507.jpg
 

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OK, I am sorry to be a downer here, but I think it is a big mistake for new beekeepers to use second-hand gear. It is too risky.

What happened to the bees that made those combs? Did they die? What killed them? Some of the things that kill bees remain infectious on the combs, frames, and boxes for a very long time (decades). Did the previous owner have enough experience to be able to recognize the signs of the highly contagious brood diseases while the bees were dying?

Assuming you are new, too, my best advice is to locate an experienced beekeeper and have her/him examine the combs. If you are buying your bees from a retail source, they could also do this for you.

The picture shows a messy comb, with stuff in cells. It could be nothing more than entombed pollen, debris, and dead pupae. It could also be infectious scales and dried larvae that died because of one of the brood diseases. If so, putting your new bees on those combs will likely doom them (and create a bee public health problem while they die.)

The most reliable way to sanitize a hive that has died from a brood disease is gamma irradiation.

I realize this isn't what you asked. You asked if you needed to do anything about the wax. The answer there is, no. But please get an experienced beekeeper who is confident that they would recognize foul brood frames to look them over.

Nancy
 

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Check for signs of American Foul Brood (verry bad) or European Foul Brood (bad). Otherwise it was probably verroa mites. Verroa is easy to treat and kills 90% amateurs hives. Bees will clean up the frames.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I realize this isn't what you asked. You asked if you needed to do anything about the wax. The answer there is, no. But please get an experienced beekeeper who is confident that they would recognize foul brood frames to look them over.
Even better than what I asked actually. I'm a 100% newbie and know nothing, so your feedback helped a lot. Actually I thought the same thing you pointed out when I got the boxes. I wasn't sure if the guy that gave me the box knew much about beekeeping and was wondering if I potentially will be introducing some disease to the hive I purchase.

I will just buy a new box and return this one. Better than wasting a lot of money on buying the bees and gear only to have them quickly die.
 

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I will just buy a new box and return this one. Better than wasting a lot of money on buying the bees and gear only to have them quickly die.
A happy middle ground is to throw out the frames and scorch the box, lid and bottom board with a blowtorch. That is effective although not foolproof way to deal with AFP and EFP (you can look up the procedure online). I have not seen any number, but let's say it is 90% effective. combined with the fact that 80 to 90 percent of mature deaths are due to varroa we can guess that 10%*20%=2% likelyhood you will have a probum. Seem like good odds to me for $100 worth of boxes.
 

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A happy middle ground is to throw out the frames and scorch the box, lid and bottom board with a blowtorch. That is effective although not foolproof way to deal with AFP and EFP (you can look up the procedure online). I have not seen any number, but let's say it is 90% effective. combined with the fact that 80 to 90 percent of mature deaths are due to varroa we can guess that 10%*20%=2% likelyhood you will have a probum. Seem like good odds to me for $100 worth of boxes.
That is one option :) Time is the other issue. From my understanding, it's best to get bees around this time (early spring) so I'd hate to put them into a contaminated box, have them die, and then have to wait another year. While I'm not excited to spend this amount of money, I'd like to make sure I give them the best chance of making it.
 

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It is good to be wary of used equipment to a point. I honestly would just get new frames and scrape and scorch the inside of the box. The chance that it was actually a brood disease compared to Varroa mites is like 1 in 10000 probably less. How many members on this forum have problems with afb each year?? Miniscule if any. Efb is around however a good scorch will cure that. You have a higher likelihood of getting bees with efb than having it be that equipment that "contaminates" them.
The real issue you need to be massively concerned about is the mite Varroa Destructor!!!! That is what will kill your hives if not kept in check with constant monitoring and treating them with a miticide when they need it. Lots of info on the forum about that so you got some reading lol. Best of luck with your bees remember when they're starting out with no comb they have lots of building ahead of them. they will need supplemental feeding (sugar syrup) even if there is wild sources available. Do your best to get them to draw as many combs the first year as possible they will be very valuable next spring to help keep your bees from swarming. Good luck bud
 
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