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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've heard it both ways. It's okay to put some nasty old frames in a new hive, the bees will clean it and use it. I've heard it's better to start off with clean foundation then old moldy frames. I have some old frames with dead bees and larva in in the cells. An old keeper in my area told me to just put them in the freezer for a couple days, thaw them out and put them in, the girls will clean them just fine. As long as the old hive didn't die from disease. Which is the best for the bees? I would rather burn the nasty old frames then endanger my bees.

Thanks,
Ernie
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I hear ya guys,
Bear with me on this- the bees will remove all this mess? Dead bees stuck in the cells, dead larva, and mold? I might be making this more complicated then it is. It just amazes me that the bees will be okay with this mess. I only have a handful of nasty frames, the rest of them are in really good shape.

Thanks,
Ernie
 

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yep, they'll clean it all up, and remake the damaged cells. jab your thumb in one of the frames and check back latter- good as new. pretty neat critters, huh?
 

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Comb should be changed out every 3-5 years though. So do not use comb that is too old.

I've had commercial beekeepers tell me it takes 5 years to get good mature comb that queens really love to lay in.

How old is too old of comb? I've seen combs that are 50-70 years old, (maybe more) and still in use.
 

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Yep, it is almost like magic to use old comb, as long as it doesn't have a horrible load of pesticide contamination. The bees can quickly fix just about anything else; I've had some older combs that got damp in storage and were just covered with mold - a few hours in the hive and now not even a trace of mold. A few years ago I had one weak hive get overrun with wax moth larva, most of the combs were severely damaged. I manually removed most of the webbing, frass, and worms, and the bees rather quickly fix these ravaged combs -- it's amazing.

Any comb, not contaminated with pesticides, will certainly make things easier for package bees to get established.
 

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i have a mix of some moth damaged frames that are not too bad and i have had it in freezer for months - and i have some older frames that the comb is brown and has some pollen and maybe a little honey - all stored for a while in freezer and then in a dark cool area in basement - no bugs in them - so from what i have read here -- its ok to use it ??
 

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will do - i will need to tear out small sections in order to get the web out but its just a couple of frames that actually have web in them - i will leave the out most and make sure i get all the web - thanks for the info fellas
 

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I think it would be pretty hard to find any 75 year old comb that was not full of pesticides, etc. It can work for you if you use it right. Householder shakes package bees in, makes his honey, and then dumps the bees, purchasing new bees the next year...old comb will not work in the long run, but can be used in the short run to build up quickly. It is as Clemens says -- good as gold.
 

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Use it to get started this year and rotate it out later in the season or next year.
I have a question related to this, so I'll just ask it here rather than start a new thread. My hive was started this year when a swarm found to deeps in the trunk of my car. The deeps each had 10 frames of drawn comb. I have no idea how old the comb was when I got it. Suppose I want to start rotating this out next year. How do you do that? It will, no doubt, have stores and brood in it. Thx. -james
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I started this thread, took the advice and totally agree now of the value of drawn comb. I recently supered 3 hives started with packaged bees this spring.

Yuleluder said;
"Drawn comb = beekeepers gold"
'nurf said
Ernie
 

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I have a question related to this, so I'll just ask it here rather than start a new thread. My hive was started this year when a swarm found to deeps in the trunk of my car. The deeps each had 10 frames of drawn comb. I have no idea how old the comb was when I got it. Suppose I want to start rotating this out next year. How do you do that? It will, no doubt, have stores and brood in it. Thx. -james
Beehive is, basically, comb-wise -- brood, drone, honey moving out from the center. Just move brood outward and place foundation a frame at a time in the middle. They will eventually fill the brood comb with honey and you can extract and deal with it as you please.
 

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The changing out comb every 3-5 years is because of contamination from miticides if you dont treat it should not matter how old the comb is unless it has some type of contamination such as miticides or disease.
 

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There are other contaminants....and disease. Try not washing your sheets for 5 years. With your wife giving birth in it every day.
 
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