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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a hive die over the winter, and I moved the hive into my shop to store it until I could get it cleaned out. The hive looked clean, no signs of pests (mites, beetles, moths, &c.). But a month or more later, when I went to clean the frames, I found the hive infested with stringy webs and big fat larvae, I assume wax moths. Whatever they were, I got the frames scraped off and pressure washed.

Question: Is it OK to reuse frames that have been contaminated with pests? Pic of representative frame after pressure washing.

- djb
 

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Yes, you can reuse the frames. Its best if you apply some melted wax to the plastic foundation, the bees will start drawing comb faster than on the bare plastic. I use an old crock pot that I put a liner in (the kind for cooking roasts, etc.), then fill about half full of water. If the wax is from old comb I'll put a large piece of old tee shirt in the crock pot to act as a strainer before adding the comb. The tee shirt is my strainer to catch bee parts, bits of wood, etc. when I have it melted. I add the comb and set the controller on the crock pot, usually on high, and let the wax melt. Leave the crock pot on while applying wax, hot wax spreads better hot than when it starts to cool. I use a foam paint brush to "paint" the melted wax onto the plastic foundation. It doesn't take much wax, just enough to coat the outline of the comb that's embossed on the plastic. A little extra won't hurt but your wax may be in short supply. Some people use a foam roller, usually they are 3" to 4" wide, to roll the melted wax on. When I'm finished I lift the tee shirt and let it strain the water and wax into the crock pot, then pour that through another piece of tee shirt into a cut off gallon milk jug. I use old clothes pins to hold the tee shirt in place while I'm pouring into the milk jug. Turn off the crock pot and let it cool. I reuse the liner in the crock pot several times before using a new one. Let the wax and water cool several hours or overnight then pop the wax out and dry it. Pour out the water. You can scrape any debris off the bottom of the cake of wax or repeat the melt and strain process to get more purity in your wax. You'll probably need a pound or two of wax to coat the frames, depending on how many you have.

When I have a hive that dies, I freeze the frames (the whole box if you have room in your freezer) at least 48 hours to kill any eggs, larva, etc. of any pests like wax moth or hive beetles.

There are several threads you can research to get other ideas and methods of melting wax and coating frames so the bees will draw comb on them.

Hope my comments help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, I've heard of placing frames in the freezer, but I thought that was for frames that were loaded with the vermin. These frames are clean...or so I think... I can put'em in anyway just to be sure.


A side note, since I can't seem to participate in other threads...

I don't know how this forum works. But yesterday I responded to another thread (the Swarms one) and got a notice that I had to be moderated. But I was able to start this thread fine; it showed up instantly. So I posted a question in the FAQ section and was again confronted with moderation. So I can participate in some sections of the forum, but not others? Odd...

This morning I see my response in the Swarm thread. Still don't see my FAQ thread.

- djb
 

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Sometimes, when you are new, you get the moderation notice, especially if you are trying to post a picture. I'm not sure anybody can post in the FAQs. They may be locked threads, but I am not sure about that.

Your frames got skanky because there were moth eggs on the combs. (Or they found their way in after it was off the hive.) Moth and SHB eggs are too small to notice. Freezing is the way to go. An old freezer (Craig's list type of thing) is useful. If you're only running it for freezing bee frames for 48-72 hours, even if it's not up-to-date energy-use wise, it won't cost a lot to run. Once you get the frames out, you have to protect them continuously from re-infestation afterward. But it's a way to deal with moths that doesn't involve chemical treatment, so I go to the trouble. I'm in northern NY, so I use the Great Northern Winter when we go below zero, frequently, and spend weeks below freezing, as my "freezer" during winter. For other seasons I use an old chest freezer.

Do add the extra coat of wax, especially to the frames that have been pressure-washed clean. I also melt my wax in an old crockpot (no liner, just an old crockpot from Goodwill). I use a 3" grey foam "paint brush" to apply the wax. (Buy several, they are cheap and sometimes come apart quickly, which is a pain when you've settled down to re-wax a bunch of frames.) Figure a bit more than 10 deep frames per pound of wax melted for a good, generous coating. After this rewaxing, keep the frames protected from sunlight as the new wax will melt away very quickly. You are not filling cells so as much as building up a thin coat of wax on the cells' edges. My bees take to these over-waxed frames very eagerly.


Nancy
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here in east TX we must rely on electric freezers. :D

I started a new swarm hive (another thread) a couple days ago and I did not coat the frames with wax. They are new, not used, frames, should they still be coated? Where do I get the wax? I'm due to harvest a frame for our own use, I could use that wax, although I've been considering getting an extractor to same the comb. This endeavor started out as a hobby, not a commercial project, so I've been getting one frame at a time when we need honey. But with an extractor I could probably get more honey, then perhaps start giving some away or selling.

- djb
 

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genus, most beekeeping supply stores also sell beeswax. I have also seen it in hobby shops (candle making). It is best to trust the source and make sure you are buying beeswax, not paraffin.
Like Nancy said, the bees will draw the combs faster if they are waxed. J
 

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Yeah, I've heard of placing frames in the freezer, but I thought that was for frames that were loaded with the vermin. These frames are clean...or so I think... I can put'em in anyway just to be sure.


A side note, since I can't seem to participate in other threads...

I don't know how this forum works. But yesterday I responded to another thread (the Swarms one) and got a notice that I had to be moderated. But I was able to start this thread fine; it showed up instantly. So I posted a question in the FAQ section and was again confronted with moderation. So I can participate in some sections of the forum, but not others? Odd...

This morning I see my response in the Swarm thread. Still don't see my FAQ thread.

- djb
Not to go off topic but please know that the FAQ area is not for posting new questions. The FAQ's are curated. Please post new questions in the most appropriate forum. As a "newer" member your posts sometimes require moderation which is what happened to the "swarms" post. Nancy is correct. Feel free to PM us if things don't seem to be working right. Thanks for you input here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Not to go off topic but please know that the FAQ area is not for posting new questions. The FAQ's are curated. Please post new questions in the most appropriate forum. As a "newer" member your posts sometimes require moderation which is what happened to the "swarms" post. Nancy is correct. Feel free to PM us if things don't seem to be working right. Thanks for you input here!
:thumbsup:

Thanks.

- djb
 

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Frames that I find moth infestations on are stuck in my freezer for a few days to kill anything on them, but then reinserted into a hive for the bees to clean up. I do not attempt to clean them and I do not scrape off the comb that is on them. If inserted back into a strong colony, after you make sure you have killed off the pests, the frame will be cleaned up and put back to use quickly. At least that has been my experience.
 

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I've had maggot-infested frames that I cleaned and froze, then stored -- and still ended up getting those "trails", tiny vermin larvae and moths. I've read that standard-freezer cold doesn't kill eggs of a certain type of wax moth (whether the greater or lesser, I don't recall; not sure which infests my eastern NC world). Sometimes I think a good acid bath would do the trick -- but then, that would destroy the frames, at the least, and probably the frames too. What do you do?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Freezing will kill Greater, but not Lesser. Here is a video from Michael Palmer showing a Lesser alive and well after being exposed to a Vermont winter with temps as low as minus 20F
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TU5ZvZcJhA&feature=youtu.be
Wow, that's interesting. I would think as long as the frames are cleaned enough that no eggs or anything like that are visible it would be OK. But what do I know, this is my second year having bees... :scratch:

- djb
 
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