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It's hard to tell just by looking at a photo, but it looks like moldy pollen.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Looks like pollen mite activity to me ...
LJ
Thanks guys....curious what would be recommended for cleaning frames that have this (vacuum, wash with water, wash with alcohol?). I have some supers that have a little as well and don't want it ending up in the honey crop.
 

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If it is moldy pollen the bees should eventually clean it up. If the comb is sprayed with water, or immersed, the pollen will ferment and the bees will clean the cells more quickly.

If it is a pollen mite problem, I have no idea what to do. I have never encountered pollen mites.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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When in doubt, I wash the comb out with the sprayer on my kitchen faucet. Pollen and any residual nectar is cleaned out leaving frames ready for the bees to use without any additional work. If I suspect there may be a disease involved, a quick soak in some bleach water kills most pathogens. Does not work for AFB.
 

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When in doubt, I wash the comb out with the sprayer on my kitchen faucet. Pollen and any residual nectar is cleaned out leaving frames ready for the bees to use without any additional work. If I suspect there may be a disease involved, a quick soak in some bleach water kills most pathogens. Does not work for AFB.
what bleach ratio?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I use 1 cup per gallon of warm water and mix it in an ice chest that allows me to get the whole frame submerged. That is probably overkill on the bleach but it gets rid of the mold stains pretty fast too.
 

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If those are pollen mites - and it certainly looks like it - then I'd suggest that you don't do anything, as those mites are working on your behalf ...

It appears that you have had a dead-out ? When that sort of thing occurs, it frequently happens that stored pollen dries out and becomes hard. It can also become mouldy. That's when the poilen mites move in - sometimes.

They're not actually interested in the pollen itself, but in the mycelium, which can best be thought of as the 'roots' of the mould fungi. In order to get to those, the mites must excavate the pollen, and it turns into powder during the process. When the bees gain access to those combs again, it's then easy for them to remove the powdered pollen. Contrast that with those pollen cells which have not been excavated by the mites.

With these, the bees must chew away the wax walls of the cell in order to remove the hard dried-pollen pellet, and then re-build the cell wall afterwards. That can be a lot of work, depending on how much pollen was there originally.

Pollen mites are your friends ... :)
LJ
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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LJ, thanks for the education.
 

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Yes, thanks LJ. That's something I have not run across yet.
LJ, I expect your ratio will kill anything that bleach can kill. CDC recommends 1/3c for covid! J
 

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When in doubt, I wash the comb out with the sprayer on my kitchen faucet. Pollen and any residual nectar is cleaned out leaving frames ready for the bees to use without any additional work.
I never would have thought of doing this, brilliant! Today I tried it (using the garden hose nozzle instead), and it worked great!
 
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