I finally have a decent bit of honey comb saved up. I'm talking about empty honey comb after honey is extracted. Assuming brood is kept out of honey comb with excluders, how long does honey comb typically last?
I keep mine forever. Old black brood comb is another matter. I take that out of service if lots of drone comb is present or brood disease reoccurs on it. I know of no science about buildup of pesticides on white extraction combs and that would be the only reason to take it out of service.
You may notice gradually a few more pollen filled cells but that is of little issue. To some of my customers, extra pollen would be a bonus! multi year comb usually is drawn full depth and easy to uncapped. Not an issue but I only have honey supers up to 8 seasons.
Although we can accurately date some of our supers to WWII(hardwood frame rests), we believe we have some frames still in service from the 1960's. The top bars end in a little "tit" to reduce propolos sticking. How long they last is not the same as how long they are usefull. Per Judy Wu-Smart, bees move pesticide residues with their feet around the hive very quickly. It is all possible that those white honey frames are almost as contaminated as the dark brood frames.
After extracting hold the frame up in direct line with a light source. The opaqueness should be an off white to nice golden brown. Once it starts getting darker, or the light doesn't shine through the extracted comb anymore i would melt the wax and start a new foundation in the frame.
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