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I am new to this so I have a newbee question. I have and see a lot of very dark comb, black in some cases. Would you use this in a supper you intended eating or sell the honey out of?

TIA

wkinne
 

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Re: How dark of comb would you use in a supper?

If you are extracting, dark combs are fine.

If you are doing cut comb honey, I would NOT use old dark combs. They will be tough and difficult to chew.

As long as you are not dumping toxic chemicals into your hives, I see little reason to rotate out old combs.
 

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Re: How dark of comb would you use in a supper?

If you are extracting, dark combs are fine.

As long as you are not dumping toxic chemicals into your hives, I see little reason to rotate out old combs.
Disease buildup. What if you never changed your sheets on your bed?
 

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Re: How dark of comb would you use in a supper?

How old are these combs? Just because they're dark doesn't make them unusable. The honey will be fine as long as you're extracting, although some people think it makes the honey darker. It's the same honey the bees put into new combs!
 

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Re: How dark of comb would you use in a supper?

Disease buildup.

Disease buildup? What's that? Either you have diseases, or you don't. Whether or not you have diseases is not a function of how dark your honey super combs are.

What if you never changed your sheets on your bed?

That's comparing apples to oranges. Combs get disinfected all the time, as the bees cover the combs with honey and propolis, which have extremely good disinfectant properties.

A better comparison would be, how long would you use your dishes if you cleaned and disinfected them regularly? They might chip an edge, or discolor if they are plastic, but they would still be fine to use even though they may not be the prettiest to the eye anymore.

How long do you use your old wood handled steak or butcher knives? Do you think twice about using them?
 

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Re: How dark of comb would you use in a supper?

I prefer that the comb used in my honey supers have never had brood raised in them. The cocoons and other materals (bee poop from when they take a dump just before spinning their cocoon) left in brood comb have a slight water solubility and will impart a little darker color (taste?) to the honey.

Brother Adam said " The periodic renewal of brood combs is doubtless one of the most effective disease-preventive measures - a measure widely neglected in modern bee-keeping. Apart from Acarine the source of most diseases is carried in the combs, primarily in the brood combs."

It has been my experience that bees on brood comb less than five years old do much better than on comb older. New beekeepers would profit by having at least two frames of foundation drawn out in each brood box, each year.
 

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Re: How dark of comb would you use in a supper?

It has been my experience that bees on brood comb less than five years old do much better than on comb older. New beekeepers would profit by having at least two frames of foundation drawn out in each brood box, each year.
I've wondered about this. How do you rotate out the old comb? I've gone around and around in my head trying to figure this out. Doesn't the queen lay more eggs in the frame as the capped brood emerges? If you move them to the outer positions of the hive body, they would fill them with honey and pollen. I don't want to eat honey that came from brood comb. Do you feed it back to the bees? I know there must be a way to do this that makes sense. Someone help me out here.
 

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Re: How dark of comb would you use in a supper?

I use wooden frames and mark the year the foundation was drawn out on the top bar with a marking pen. In the spring when the bees are producing wax I remove the oldest comb in the boxes and replace with frames of foundation.

I don't worry if the combs have some brood in them because they will be used to make nucs, or if I have all the nucs I need, I put all the combs with brood in supers and put them on colonies that need strengthening. The supers are above an excluder and the brood will all be emerged in three weeks. After the brood is emerged the frames are removed and the comb cut out or they go to the stove. Any frames with honey can be extracted or placed where the bees can clean the honey out. Always check the colonies for disease before exchanging combs.

I have no comb in my colonies older than 2007, so this year I culled by condition of the brood comb and not age.
 

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Re: How dark of comb would you use in a supper?

I've wondered about this. How do you rotate out the old comb? I've gone around and around in my head trying to figure this out. Doesn't the queen lay more eggs in the frame as the capped brood emerges? If you move them to the outer positions of the hive body, they would fill them with honey and pollen. I don't want to eat honey that came from brood comb. Do you feed it back to the bees? I know there must be a way to do this that makes sense. Someone help me out here.
I rotate 2 frames a year. In early spring when the cluster is still small I pull 2 frames out and add 2 new ones. In the fall I make sure the 2 frames due to be rotated are in the top box and the outter two frames. In early spring I have never had eggs in these two frames yet. They usually still have honey and/or pollen in them.
 

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Re: How dark of comb would you use in a supper?

I don't want to eat honey that came from brood comb.

Why not? Many beekeepers will let the bees raise a few cycles of brood in a comb before they will use that comb for honey storage. The cocoons from brood rearing help strengthen the combs.
 

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Re: How dark of comb would you use in a supper?

Many beekeepers will let the bees raise a few cycles of brood in a comb before they will use that comb for honey storage. The cocoons from brood rearing help strengthen the combs.
Really? I dunno, I guess the thought of eating honey out of a cell that has been defecated in by bee larvae kind of grosses me out :pinch: Am I being too much of a princess? ;) Now, tell me that the bees clean all that stuff out completely, and I'll be all over it.
 

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Re: How dark of comb would you use in a supper?

I prefer to keep my honey comb brood free. Have never had a problem with wax moths either.
 

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Re: How dark of comb would you use in a supper?

Now, tell me that the bees clean all that stuff out completely, and I'll be all over it.

The bees clean it out. ;)

Then those bees go suck up manure water from the nearby cattle feedlot after it rains. :lookout:
 
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