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I seem to get a lot of emails, and see posts occasionally on here, where people burn their equipment because it had wax moths, or small hive beetles, or dysentery. It is sad to hear. I think they have this idea of burning as the solution to SOMETHING and so they apply it when it seems like it might help somehow. There is no reason to burn any equipment unless you had AFB, and I would get a definitive test for AFB. 15 years ago, I would probably settle for just seeing it rope, but between Parafoulbrood and "snotbrood" I would either send it off to Beltsville or do a Holts milk test if you suspect AFB (and ropy brood would be a very good reason to suspect it).

If you get wax moths, freeze the frames if you can. If not, you can scrape all of the wax and moth larvae out. This is not a reason to burn the frames. Maybe if the cocoons have eaten out the end bars to where they are ready to break... but other than that it's not a reason to burn. SHB are a similar issue except they many need to be hoses off and aired out for a while.

I do nothing for dysentery, but if it really worries you, then wash the equipment with bleach water or fumigate with Acetic acid. Don't burn it.

If it's moldy, the next set of bees will clean it up. If it's full of mouse nest and smell, hose it down and let it air out for a week or so...

OK, I'll admit there is ONE other reason, if it's too rotten and no longer repairable, by all means, burn it... but then it's almost ALWAYS repairable...
 

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Good timely post, we get that frequently as well and it is unfortunate to see good equipment gone bad for not. We do scrape feces off top bars in dysentery or nosema but I agree it's not necessary. It is amazing to see what a swarm of bees can do to the oldest, crappiest comb in our repair yard over a couple of weeks. Certainly it's hard to give a strong hive a frame they can't clean outside of SHB defecation and of course they'll never get rid of AFB spores. Unless inspected by someone qualifed - never buy used equipment.
 

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What he said
Unless inspected by someone qualifed - never buy used equipment.
I treasure posts like this!
As far as the used equipment goes, finding hives stored in a barn that have not been used in years and years - is there a time limit where they might be good to go? Sort of a statute of limitation in the bee world?
 

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As far as the used equipment goes, finding hives stored in a barn that have not been used in years and years - is there a time limit where they might be good to go? Sort of a statute of limitation in the bee world?
My understanding is that AFB spores are viable for at least 50 years. Double that length of time for some confidence. I wouldn't be interested in 100 year old possibly infected equipment to keep bees in - perhaps as beekeeping history? A direct answer: I have never heard of a statute of limitations for AFB, and I would assume there is not one.
 

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No Jackam, no there isn't. I had a beekeeper that I inspected annually for three years finding AFB in one or more hive each year until I thought to ask him where he got his equipment from. He told me that 25 years earlier he had been given a cpl of pickup truck loads of used equipment and that equipment was in his barn. He had been using that equipment for years.

We went to look at that equipment and even though the comb I looked at was old, dry, and brittle I could see scale present. I told him he needed to burn it or he would keep on having the same problem over and over. He did and got out of keeping bees.

AFB is persistent and time won't kill it. Fire will.
 

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Thanks Michael, this type of post is of great help. Im new so always digesting. I have a friend who burned a hive because he saw some dwv. His old timer mentor instructed him to do so. I thought I had read that foulbrood was the only culprit in which burning was a real consequence. I have 6 frames drawn that i was afraid to use because of the mold left behind where the cluster died in the winter. I scraped the cluster and wax off of the section they were on but was still weary to use them due to the remaining mold on that area. Another question answered. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.:thumbsup:
 

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Mike - I'm confident you've already done the background on the parafoulbrood and snotbrood - I suspect many have not seen or had a chance to research (me included on the research) maybe you could give us a primer on what you've found and what's working for you. We've seen it, I compare it to what we used to call Post Mite Syndrome but am not sure how accurate that is at this stage. For us it seems to accompany a hive with poor mite resistance which of course could also tie into poor hygenics and be more than just mite related. We've been fuming formic and requeening which seems to work but I am left to consider what else I haven't read or experianced yet.
 

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California state law requires burning of AFB equipment, I was in 1986 instructed to do so by the local bee inspector. But before that date and until now any burning other than BBQ's is illegal in five Bay Area counties due to air pollution restrictions.
 

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The last time the fire guys showed up here cause I was burning boxes I just told them the law says I have to burn them. Case settled. If they had an issue of me following the law they could take it up with that division. Not my problem and don't make it my problem. If they did I would see them in court and we would let the Judge settle it. Now days I just call them with a heads up and they know whats going down.

On the same vein I had some square head from the Bay area air quality district show up in 2000 when I was painting over 3000 boxes one spring. He parked across the street like a regular goon and just stared at me painting. I marched across the road and asked him what he needed. He proceeded to tell me I needed a permit for this and for that and that...... I told him to get his darn book out and prove it. The shill was looking for my cash and that was it. He opened up his trunk and the thing was loaded with a set of books almost to the lid. I dug through them and showed him the ag exemptions therein contained after he played ignorant.... I followed up by telling his fat fanny that if he had the balls to bother me more after I showed him the rules in his own darn book I would personally have the bigger balls to sue his #### for every darn penny he had. He left with his tail between his legs and never showed up again. If he had come again it would have been a sad day for his bum I can assure you.
 

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My answer may be a little outdated, but I use to travel with a Michigan State Bee Inspector for a number of summers. If he detected AFB the following process was used.

1) The hive was first cyanided to kill the bees.

2) A hole was dug where all the infected hive's fames and any queen excluders were dumped and torched with a flame thrower and when completely burnt the hole filled up.

3) The hive supers, lid were scorched on the interior side(s) and the inner cover(s), hive stand(s) & bottom board(s) were scorched on each side with the flame thrower. It was assumed that the beekeeper could wire brush any of the equipment's charred equipment if they would elected to reuse.

This 60+ year-old inspector was a easy going, joking person, a relentless churchgoer, but on more than one occasion I witnessed his ire upped when the beekeeper realized what was going to be done with his AFB infected beehive(s) and attempted to deter any actions. Of course, the inspector won out, even on a few occasions threatening to call the local police department to enforce his actions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
> is there a time limit where they might be good to go?

There is no known safe period of time. They stored a bunch of AFB spores, I think it was back in the 30's. Every few years they culture some. So far they have always been viable. I think we are now up to about 80 years now...

>I'm confident you've already done the background on the parafoulbrood and snotbrood - I suspect many have not seen or had a chance to research (me included on the research) maybe you could give us a primer on what you've found and what's working for you.

I have never seen any of them in my apiaries. I have seen some AFB in other apiaries when going around with bee inspectors. I have not see the parafoulbrood or snotbrood at all, but have heard reports from people. There is a section on Parafoulbrood on my website:

http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm#pfb

I don't remember all the reference I found when writing that, but here are a few I can find now:
http://www.science.oregonstate.edu/bpp/insect_clinic/diseases/parafoulbrood.htm
http://books.google.com/books?id=ve...e&q=parafoulbrood Bacillus para-alvei&f=false
http://www.researchgate.net/publica...nts_of_Bacillus_alvei_and_Bacillus_para-alvei

Snotbrood references:
http://www.pastatebeekeepers.org/pdf/Newsletters/2012/September2012.pdf
http://www.gastonbee.org/Documents/GCBA_October_2013_Newsletter.pdf
Snotbrood discussions:
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?232846-Snot-brood
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?287642-IBDS-syndrome-snot-brood
 

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Day one of bee class: we were instructed not to read the chapters on bee diseases until the syllabus said to. So of course I joined BeeSource and got all the bad news anyway. A large part of the reason was to not get people afraid before the instructors were there to get the fears in perspective.

Come time to discuss bee diseases, first off we were told "don't fear the bee inspector. Some people worry that the bee inspector will order them to burn their equipment. This is rare, and they only do it for good reason. American Foulbrood."

We were also told that us small-time hobby beekeepers might, with good judgment and hygiene (like not wearing our home bee suits to inspect other apiaries) we might never see a case of it. But if we do find it, take this seriously, because it will spread.
 

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I'm grateful for a bee club with an irradiation program!
 
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