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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was able to acquire some used equipment. But this stuff hasn't been used in years...

I got 4 mediums with frames
2 short with frames
and about 50 deep frames....

does this still run the risk of carring diseases?

also there is some old really dry/brittle old comb in there... Can I uses that for anything? Can it be taken out and melted down or is the wax gone? With it being so brittle?

thanks for the help

sean

(i don't have bees yet and don't plan on getting any till I can get packages/nucs next spring (2011))

that will give me time to clean em up and repaint/scrape etc....
 

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Some will say frames are cheap... toss them out and buy new ones. Others will say to reuse them.


If the comb is brittle, then it would be best to cut it out and give them some foundation, or starter strips. I recently gave a hive a box of old brittle comb... and they've spent the last month slowly tearing it apart, instead of filling it and expanding.

Save the boxes and scorch the insides. You will significantly reduce the chances of disease that way. If you feel like salvaging frames, it's your call.
 

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The quick answer is Yes, it still carries disease risk.

You can make the risk somewhat less the risk by not reusing any of the old comb and scorching the inside of the boxes. (this reduces but does not entirely eliminate the risk)

If you melt down the wax, make sure it won't be going back to the bees - ie painted on plastic foundation or anything like that. I can see using it for candles - but I wouldn't want any lip balm made from it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I wouldn't us the wax for anything but a candle or two... More just something to do then a necesity.....

these diseases can't have an indefinate shelf life?

also on man's junk is anothers treasure.... Frames are cheap... But when you figure there are 90 or more... Saving that would be helpful....

BUT, infecting a $75 package or $125 nuc would suck too....

sean
 

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I was in about the same boat when I was starting out. Got a big box of frames & miscellaneous thru Freecycle, but these had never been assembled--just stored in a mousy barn.

I also bought some old beek equipment from an oldtimer before I didn't know I wasn't supposed to. Included 2 mediums with plastic honey frames. Even after being exposed to open storage conditions, there's no sign of wax moths, but there's also no way I'm using it without melting off the wax and hitting them with a high power pressure washer (think steam).

Definitely get rid of the wax off the frames. Since you have so much time before you're planning to get your bees, I'd try soaking the de-waxed frames in some bleach water and then exposing the frames to as high temps as you can manage. Google how to sterilize gardening soil for reuse. This usually involves black plastic on the bottom and clear on the top. Superheats in between. If that doesn't kill the nasties, nothing will.
 

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In Richard Taylor's book "The How to Do it Book of Beekeeping" he shows a way to clean and disinfect frames using boiling water and lye. It may be an option if you have very little cash to spend for equipment. I personally (and with some amount of sadness) would discard the used frames and replace with new. I have no problem whatsoever using used boxes once scorched.:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
what bee disease is able to be transferred in this manor?
 

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If you are really worried about foulbrood, cut a section of comb out and send it to Beltsville and have it tested.

Or simply feed your bees a little terramyacin (a common antibiotic) as a foulbrood preventative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
in the beekeping for dummies book they say the spores can last for 70 years... Wow!

they also ay that there is a regimate of medicine that you should administer each spring.... (teremyacyn, mite strip, fumagellanB (i think) (im going of what I read last night and don't have book in front of me so sorry for spelling and mispronunciations))

do alot of people do this? Is this a common practice?
and also as far as keeping with the subject wouldn't that eliminate or help prevent most of the problems with using used equipment?

thanks,

sean
 

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I like to use medicines/chemicals only when I know there is a problem - so I don't use teramyacin at all - if one of my hives develops AFB it will get burned. For many years beekeeps were told to use use things like fumadil-b/fumagillan as a preventative. The same with medication for mites. If a test (I use an alcohol wash to test for mites) shows the bees have a problem, I'll treat. Sorry for spelling mistakes on medication names.

I've only bought used equipment once and only after I had it looked at by our state apiarist - in that situation I tossed all comb and scorched the boxes before I used any of it. That was five years ago and since then I've concluded that used equipment is not for me - the most risk I take now is receiving frames with purchased nucs.
 

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Hi: I was curious about using a lye solution to clean frames, so I cut the top off of a steel 15 gallon barrel, mounted it securely over a propane burner, and added about 10 gallons of water and two cans of caustic drain cleaner, pretty cheap (mostly NaOH - always add chemicals to water, not water to chemicals). Once set up, I brought the temperature up to 180 degrees F and added about 8 empty and scraped used wooden frames and let them soak submerged under a brick for a while (that's all that would fit). The wax and propolis on the frames and in the grooves softened and became lighter in color. I wore a face shield and heavy rubber gloves and worked outside. I then scraped the frames with assorted tools, and found that the wax and propolis goo came off pretty easily. The frames' wood was bleached too.

When satisfied I rinsed the frames in fresh water, cleaned them up a bit more and let them dry.

The long and the short of it was that this process has some hazards - caustic burns are possible and getting it in your eyes would not be good;but the concentration is not all that strong. It took time to heat the water to about 180 degrees - usually considered hot enough to kill disease, and the scraping took more time.

I used to do experimental paper pulping using NaOH in a pilot plant and this caustic solution is considerably weaker, so I was comfortable working with it. I also had a hose ready for flushing if needed. The frames came out looking pretty good, and I might use them, especially since I'm reasonably certain that they came from healthy hives.

On the other hand from start to finish took me a few hours to build, use, and disassemble my rig and store the used, cooled caustic solution. At about $1.00 per frame, I'm not sure that I would do this again; my time is valuable, and the certainty of clean frames more important than the satisfaction of recycling. My experiment allowed me to determine first hand which way I'd go in terms of recycling frames in the future. If someone more knowledgeable than I can elaborate on the certainty of killing disease under these conditions, I may need to re-evaluate. Once the caustic solution is hot, the frames can be added and removed sequentially and the process sped up.

Hope this information is helpful to someone else. Paul
 

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of medicine that you should administer each spring.... (teremyacyn, mite strip, fumagellanB

The mite strips are used in spring on hives with overwintered bees. It is not necessary to use mite strips on used equipment that has not had bees living in it over the past several months.

I think Fumagillan is used to take care of Nosema Cerana. I would be more concerned with package bees having Nosema Cerana than the old equipment being contaminated.

Terramyacin is commonly fed to bees in spring with powdered sugar or mixed in syrup as a preventive for foulbrood. Foulbrood would likely be the disease you would be most concerned with being in old equipment.

Personally, I wouldn't waste my time on mite strips or Fumagillan on used equipment. I would rather wait until my bees get sick before I give them an antibiotic like terramyacin, but I also don't run to the doctor every time I get the sniffles either. It is up to you to decide if you want to feed terramyacin or not, depending on your personal philosophy of medications.
 

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If you are really serious about keeping bees; I'd sugest that you buy a nuc or two now if you can find them. That way you'll be learning for the next year instead of just waiting on 2011 to get here. You'll be in the game like the rest of us.

Good Luck,
Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
there doesn't seem to be a whole lotta nucs available right now.

I have the new equipment to start 2 new hives... Just no bees yet.
(we are moving in the next month or so so it would probably be easier to wait...unless I put them at my parents......)

on the teremyacyn.... Once they get AFB aren't you burning the hive? Or will it cure it once started....

I just hate to see this little bit of free stuff goto waste!

sean
 

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I know that I am in the minority here and it probably is prudent to only use new equipment, but I have used a lot of old equipment including comb. I have been beekeeping myself since 1986 and have never seen AFB.

I did look for signs of scale in comb that I got, but I just put bees on it. Even the brittle stuff the bees used.

My father-in-law was a bee inspector in Oregon back when they had inspectors (1970's and 1980's) and I know that he found it around (and in fact got it himself once). But I don't think that it is very common, at least around here.

So the safe thing is to buy new stuff all of the time, but you can be prudent and talk with the person that you are getting the equipment from to get a feel for how safe it is. If AFB is prevalent in your area, that you make a big difference. I got all of my stuff for free also. I would be less likely to pay for stuff that I didn't know the beekeeper personally.
 

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Fumagation chambers are used to sterilize equipment, but what about the hot wax/resin dip? Would that be hot enough to kill spores?
 

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on the teremyacyn.... Once they get AFB aren't you burning the hive? Or will it cure it once started....

It's easier to prevent AFB than to cure it, but you can clear it up. The thing is, once AFB is in combs, you will have to treat with terramyacin every year after that to prevent future outbreaks. This is why burning is recommended.

The choice is yours. A few treatments of terramyacin that costs pennies every year, or have an expensive bonfire.

Fumagation chambers are used to sterilize equipment, but what about the hot wax/resin dip? Would that be hot enough to kill spores?

It's hot enough to ruin the drawn comb you are treating. As for the boxes, it would probably do more to seal up the spores than to kill them.
 
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