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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently bought some used boxes, which I am in the process of cleaning up for my use. I have done needed repairs, will wash and scrape them, and then wash with bleach solution. (They were empty boxes, sitting outside unoccupied for several years.)

A couple of questions:

1) Is this adequate, or should I scorch them too?

2) There are some frames (without foundation) in some of the boxes. Perhaps 100 or so frames. They are repairable, but I am a little leary of them, not knowing the history of the equipment, and whether they might harbor disease. Cleaning up boxes is lots easier than cleaning frames. So, clean them, or use them for kindling for the wood stove?

Thanks for the input.
 

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I agree - having come this far, I think it would be unwise not to scorch those boxes.
And, although I'm the most frugal (aka 'cheapest') beekeeper on the planet, I'd also burn those frames - as the disease risk vs cost equation really doesn't balance out.
'best
LJ
 

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Remember that bleach won't kill foulbrood spores, so scorching is the only option for that. Old frames may also be old styles that won't stand up to the usable life of the comb. That comb is worth a lot more than the frames themselves.
 

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Boxes are cheap, frames even cheaper. AFB spores will devastate your operation.

There is AFB in our area, so we have a very solid rule here. We bring no comb onto the property if it wasn't built by our bees. I would absolutely NOT take boxes and/or frames with unknown disease history.

I think the frames make great kindling for the wood stove, and the boxes go in right after the kindling has fired up enough to light wood the size of the boxes.


Just my $0.02
 

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I've acquired used equipment from time to time over the years. My process has been to wash the boxes inside and out with a detergent followed by TSP. I spray the clean boxes down with a bleach solution and let them air dry. I then scorch the inside with a propane torch before I repair, prime and paint. Frames go into the fireplace as kindling. I haven't had a problem yet but that doesn't mean I won't someday. So far so good for me and it's a nice off season project.
 

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Cleaning up old frames is far more work than assembling new ones and a much dirtier job. If possible disease is a factor, it is hard to put a price on that.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Oh yeah. Cleaning frames is dirty work. Wax and propolis gets everywhere and in the end, you may not have anything worth keeping. New frames are under $1 from ML in boxes of 100 (unassembled). I would much rather spend my time putting together new frames than cleaning and repairing old ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'll go with scorching the boxes and burning the frames. Thanks for the input!
 

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Cleaning up old frames is far more work than assembling new ones and a much dirtier job. If possible disease is a factor, it is hard to put a price on that.
I disagree.I just assembled 50 new frames in about an hour and 10 min.
The old frames first go into a solar melter,box included.All wax is completely melted off.Then it's less than a minute per frame to remove the small cleat,scrape and run a dull carving knife up and down the split bottom bar.Clean the ears and done.Grooved bbs are tossed.
My bench is in a small greenhouse.Sunny day in Jan.About 75 inside.Snow outside on the ground.The smell of a beehive.Tunes in the background.Beverage of choice.Don't have to sweepup.Dreaming of bees.
But someone elses frames,I wouldn't even haul them home.
 

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I disagree.I just assembled 50 new frames in about an hour and 10 min.
The old frames first go into a solar melter,box included.All wax is completely melted off.Then it's less than a minute per frame to remove the small cleat,scrape and run a dull carving knife up and down the split bottom bar.Clean the ears and done.Grooved bbs are tossed.
My bench is in a small greenhouse.Sunny day in Jan.About 75 inside.Snow outside on the ground.The smell of a beehive.Tunes in the background.Beverage of choice.Don't have to sweepup.Dreaming of bees.
But someone elses frames,I wouldn't even haul them home.
Jack, I am thinking of frames that are suspect for disease. I agree that a frame that is merely recycled because of old comb etc., can be done quickly. I have some stored that has a lot of honey in them and badly soiled with poop and possibly EFB. That is a different game.
 

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I won't even use my own frames if I suspect disease. I'd rather start fresh. And that's one of the reasons I stopped using plastic. I just don't want to think of them in a landfill someday and the way recycling works it's highly unlikely that they'll actually get recycled and even if they do, it's probably only for one time and then it's in a landfill. If the wooden frame is on the new side I suppose it could be scorched like a box but with all the nooks and crannies I wonder how effective the scorching would be. I'm not sure.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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The solar melter I am building is designed to hold at entire deep box. Although, I will probably never put an entire box in it. Just making sure I have options.
 

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The solar melter I am building is designed to hold at entire deep box. Although, I will probably never put an entire box in it. Just making sure I have options.
When we re-did windows on the house a few years back I saved an old skylight and it's now the top for my solar melter. I'd have to go out and measure to be sure, but I'm sure it'll hold 2 boxes, maybe even 3. Works great to clean a stack of a dozen queen excluders.
 

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Did anyone watch the lecture from Irene Power at the 2019 Honey Show? She said they boil their frames in caustic soda. I don't know why but this was the first I heard of this approach. Its a long lecture but if you look at 8:55 it talks about boiling the frames in caustic. They also put 100 ml of Acetic Acid 80% to sanitize their boxes/comb. I still agree with others about being cautious of any used equipment but realistically its all about managing risk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6PwlW2zx18&t=1481s
 
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