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Discussion Starter #1
For an amateur, I've got a rather large pile of old hive bodies (mostly deep brood chambers, some honey supers) that I "inherited" when I bought my house from my mentor.

I've got 6 hives (well... had 6 hives going into the winter). Planning to do some more splits this spring to get upto 10 hives. So obviously I want some of the frames, but not all of them.

Many of the boxes are full of crap... long story... but the majority of the comb is garbage... fit for the fire.

Is it worth the effort to cut the old comb out and save the frames? (assuming frames are in good shape)

I'm planning to do some "preventative maintenance" in the active hives this spring by swapping out old comb with fresh foundation (going to experiment with foundation and starter strips). So I'll end up with even more old frames... again, burn, or salvage?

I'm confident there aren't any diseases in the pile of crap... otherwise it would have spread to the active hives.

Is my time better spent building new frames?
 

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How much time you have ??
I use a "turkey frier" to clean frames with but not many mostly my comb honey frames but have cleaned other too, it works but takes time:applause:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, the current plan is to get a 55G barrel from work, light a fire underneath, fill with water, and try to extract as much wax as possible from the garbage combs... then use the leftovers in the composter.

I'd love to put all these hives in the big steam autoclave at work... but I don't think they'd appreciate the mess it would make.
 

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I at one point boiled hundreds in lye water. You will spend ten times as much as the wax is worth and ten times as long to end up with old loose clean frames.
 

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I got a bunch of old boxes with frames from an old beek. Comb was dark and when i showed it to my bees they screamed and flew away. Cut out all the comb and had a great bomb fire took the frames and tacked in a starter strip and the bees drew them out nicely. (I placed these between fully drawn frames and it seemed to help them draw the frames very well and straight.) Don't kill yourself, but you can use the old frames if they are in decent shape. Dump the wax...no telling what is in it.
 

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How about running the old comb/frames thru a solar wax melter and seeing what comes out? No real labor on your part. Then you can decide whether or not to use the frames as mentioned above.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How about running the old comb/frames thru a solar wax melter and seeing what comes out? No real labor on your part. Then you can decide whether or not to use the frames as mentioned above.
I would, except we're not going to have weather warm enough to do that for several months (currently -8C), and I wanted to get started on this before it gets too warm (before the bears and the bees start coming out). The solar wax melters that I've got need some insulation to help hold the heat in... and better positioning on the lawn to get more sun.

And I think it would be pretty obvious when I cut the comb out if the frames are good enough to reuse... I'm going to be picky anyways... so a lot will probably be burned.


I guess my real question is, when people do that "preventative maintenance" by replacing old comb with new frames (with or without foundation), do they typically reuse the frames, or scrap them as well. (Since one reason to eliminate comb is to prevent buildup of chemicals/disease/etc)
 

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Burn it all and buy new equipment. It'll be good for you and good for the economy too.
 

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being retired i have more time than money. come to think of it, i did when i was working....anyway, i have rarely burned, and then only some frames COMEPLETLY tunneled by moths. try working above a trash can or other container while watching tv. you might be surprised at how much you can accomplish. good luck,mike
 

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If the frames aren't in too bad of a shape, I scrape them and reuse them. I salvage any wax. Even working full time, I have more time than $$. And I hate to waste good frames.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If the frames aren't in too bad of a shape, I scrape them and reuse them. I salvage any wax. Even working full time, I have more time than $$. And I hate to waste good frames.
Thats sort of how I feel.
 

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I'm running lots of old frames.

I've cut out the old comb, scraped the and soaked them in beach water (which may or may not do anything...it does make the frames look newer though).

I'm sort of happy I'm running out of old frames though, I can put new ones together a lot faster then I can clean old ones. As far as money goes frames are probably the cheapest part of bee keeping.

I'm not sure I would burn the old ones unless you thing AFB is a problem. Seems like I always need a frame or two, hand to have some spares around.

K
 

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Do the math: 1 frame = .70; 10 frames = $7.00; 10 boxes of frames = $70.00

With the idea of rotating out frames older than 5 years I'm staking them up. Now if it would stop raining on the weekends I could get to cleaning them out. Not a tedious task if you have some proper, sharp tools and the frames are in decent shape. Like the others I ditch the ones that are too far gone. The catalogs sell a spring steel tool for cleaning out the groove in the bottom bar that beats the heck out of a screwdriver.

Good luck,

Pete0
Bena, VA
 

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So... without being "cheap"... it does make sense to scrap those that are garbage and salvage the frames that are in good shape (and either put in starter strips, wire in fountation, or try foundationless).

Seeing how I have 4x as much equipment right as I actually need right now, I can be picky about the stuff I choose to keep. But I'm still a packrat, so I won't dispose of all of it.
 

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I sort of "triage" my old frames. And having recently acquired some used bee equipment, I'm using these winter months to sort it.

If they are boiled and cleaned, no problem. Add new wax, a sheet of plastic foundation or do the foundationless strips/popsicle strips glued in.

I've got frames that need new wires or some strutural support, sometimes just some new nails in the ends, they go in a secondary box.

Then I've got the frames that need some major cleaning, scraping, etc. They are getting weak and flimsy. They go in my third box, largely because I'm too cheap to burn them right then and there.

After I sort a bunch of frames, I work on that first box. Those are the frames that give me the most return on my investment of time. I work on my second box next and only if I'm highly motivated will I tackle my third box. But by the time I get to my third box, I get more disciplined. Most of these frames end up burned. My wife jumps my case as she thinks I don't need to handling these frames twice, but I still have a little hope that they can be reused.

If able, I'm going to press everything into service that will work. A little dirt or wax moth webbing is no excuse to toss anything out.

Grant
Jackson, MO
 
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