Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

dead hives - take 2

3482 Views 12 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  MountainCamp
greetings - back again- got into my dead hives and have some concerns about the condition. There was a honey medium super on and the comb is in respectable shape but the honey smells fermented- any suggestions as to how to salvage the comb for honey production once the new hives get going? AND, the brood comb is very dark, black in some areas, lots of capped comb with lots of debris that I could not remove. Will the new bees be able to clean this up without getting sick? Will the fermented honey in the brood chamber be ok for them?

Thanks! BS
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
The bees will take care of it. They can eat fermented honey. Dark comb is great in the brood chamber (in my opinion). I think the queen likes to lay in it and you can see the eggs really well. They will clean everything up. The only reasons I throw things like this away is if it's really full of wax moth damage, as evidenced by the webs and wax feces, or it's really crooked and not in the center of the comb, or it's got too big of gaps or too much drone comb.
Thanks Michael-

fortunately little (if any) wax moth stuff. The drone comb is the larger diameter stuff, right? How much is too much? there were a frame here or there w/ maybe 1/8 of the frame. There are a few holes and in some places the comb doesn't go all the way to the bottom of the frame. Any problem w/ this?

Oh, almost forgot... for a 4# package can I start w/ 2 deeps or should I start w/ 1. Also noticed the screened top cover on one of the hives was almost completely covered w/ wax Just under the telescoping cover) should I fix / replace this? seems like it could preclude good ventilation. The other top cover had NO wax...

Thanks AGAIN!

A few holes are fine. Yes the drone is the larger diameter cells, and the general rule is if it's more than 10% drone it's too much.
Most top covers aren't screened. Not sure why yours are unless it was for moving them. It's probably not wax unless there are combs attached. Otherwise it's probably propolis.
I forgot the other question, which is can you start them in two deeps. You can, and they will probably do ok, but I wouldn't. I'd start in one deep so they can keep it warm easier.
the top cover was definitely wax / comb. Only one of then was waxed up, but i guess that, since they are usually solid it shouldn't need removal... Hmmm maybe this used to be a roaming hive.

OK so I have my new 4# package in a single super- when should I add the second, what can I do w/ the old stinky honey super (a medium) and any storage suggestions for the unused frames 'til I need them?

I'm almost out of questions... :)
>OK so I have my new 4# package in a single super- when should I add the second...

When it's about 3/4 full of drawn and used comb, or when you see all the corners of the box pretty well occupied.

>what can I do w/ the old stinky honey super (a medium) and any storage suggestions for the unused frames 'til I need them?

If there is no honey or pollen in the frames they will probably keep anywhere where it's cool enough not to melt. If there is honey or pollen in any of it the wax moths will destroy it, so you'd need to do something. I'm fond of Certan which I get from to treat them. Some use the moth crystals.

Why is the super "stinky"? What does it smell like?
the frames in the honey super smell like dirt, fermented honey. Cells are full of watery honey and "black stuff" and are generally distastefull appearing - I would not want to eat honey from them. I think this hive was neglected, filled itself to capacity and then swarmed, probably a few years ago.
If there is a strange smell and "black stuff" in the cells make sure not to have AFB in the hive!!!!
OK, now i'm worried again... There is more black than yellow, the pervasive odor is more like honey than putrid, the brood cells are mostly dark but I haven't done the toothpick test. there are very few dead bees in the one hive, the other had some but they were mostly on top of the screened inner cover. If there was AFB, wouldn't I be seeing more dead bees? I certainly don't want to introduce new bees to a colony infected w/ AFB...
The "black stuff", is it mold / mildew from moisture? You said that you had unripen / watery honey in the supers.
The oder is earthy / yeasty which does not smell like "foul" brood. If you said that the oder was sour / foul to the smell, that would be different.
If you had foul brood, you would expect to see scales in brood cells and brood cells with sunkin caps. Not dead adult bees.
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.