Changing out Comb

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by brooksbeefarm, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    We had a speaker(Ed Levi) at our Sept. club meeting who recommend changing out drawn comb every two years in the brood chamber and honey supers.This was to keep the bees healthy from insecticides and disease? Not saying this wouldn't be a good practice for a hobbyist who just wanted bees, but for a honey producer (like me) I can't see it. Thats all my bees would get done, building comb, that would bring honey production way down IMHO. I have comb that is 5 yrs. old or more, still in good shape, and i can still see daylight through it, and the hives build up strong and pack it full of honey quick during a good flow.He was a very knowledgeable speaker, and we (i)disagreed on a few things, but that's the way we learn. Jack
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Although I don't always practice what I preach, I like the idea of changing out 2 frames in brood boxes every year. That gives a total change out every 5 years. Honey supers, I think should be used until they show cause for replacement.

    Just my 4 cents..... Inflation, ya know.
     

  3. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    When i have comb that is getting dark (almost black) i will work it to the outside and replace it with foundation in the middle. Bees don't like empty space in the middle and will draw it out fast (Richard Taylor):thumbsup: Jack
     
  4. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Does Ed sell foundation for a living?

    Every two years sound a bit extreme. Every 5 just fits better with my overall since. Brood comb for sure. Honey I don't see getting infested with disease and if it gathers chemicals it woudl not be a lot.

    In the end you have to use a bit of since in combination with advice. Not every bit of info is quality. My bees had to build some 35 frames of comb this year. I can tell you without a doubt that sort of comb building impacts honey production. You can prety much kiss an entire hives honey production goodbuy for every 40 or so frames drawn. That is what I saw anyway.
     
  5. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Who replaces the comb in nature?..............:wink:
     
  6. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Probably wax moths, ants, mice. Read somewhere about a big hive in a belfry that gradually shifted and abandoned old comb. Do bees actually tear out and renew (like Perrybee did) or do they move on?
     
  7. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    beekeepers don't like to give up their comb or change it out, whether it is 5 years old or 30 years old....brood comb or supers. it is prized. i won't even admit to how old some of mine was/is......:shock: even as a smaller beek jack, i don't like to change out the comb, because it is costly to the bees and beekeeper, but started doing so about 10 years ago, a frame at a time. combs for supers not so much as long as i keep the queens out of them, and they still look good.

    i'm with iddee a bit on his inflated 4 cents :lol:.....with all the things we are up against, changing the comb a little at a time is a good thing. healthy bees, healthy colonies, healthy comb. who know's what is in some of my older brood comb that hasn't been changed out, and what residues of whatever are leftover from treatments before i stopped treating them, not to mention pesticides traces, etc...., and whatever else. years of whatever. just part of our management now. and i would agree with iddee, more important that we change out brood comb than our comb for supers. sometimes i have placed 2 in, but for the most part i try to do one brood frame every year with what remains of my older combs. i used to go by the same standard, (still do to a certain extent) about seeing through it as you mentioned, but still keep on on eye on these and mark them to be cycled out.

    another thing you might consider jack, what i do for the process of cycling comb out and replacing it, or having extra drawn frames on hand is utilizing divides, nucs or package bees dedicated to just building comb for the season.

    this year i also had a weather anomaly i took advantage of: 60 and 70 degree weather in early spring long before any pollen or nectar was available in my area. i cycled out some brood frames, put foundation on and fed them. when they finished those i put supers of foundation on, and fed them to draw them out. probably won't happen again for a long time to come, but now i have some extra supers, and some of those old dark brood combs have been replaced.

    this is harder for new beeks who have started out on foundation, with little or no honey production. in 5 years you will see the difference of the combs you started out with, and i think will realize the importance of the health of your hives in the big picture of colony health and honey production, combs are part of that, and you won't think so much about changing combs out as need be.

    okay i fibbed, you will hoard your combs, but will think about it changing them out at some point :lol:
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I would wonder what premise the fellow was leaning on to make this basic yet potentially expensive decision? I do think evidence suggest that you may have even less varroa problem with newer wax. 5 year would sound more reasonable to me than 2.

    If you do enough removals you will quickly see that old nest sites are left to be consumed by wax moth as a nest site expands in another direction. Eventually all comb becomes unusable since the physical dimension of the cells are slowly closing. The dimensions on this would seem to make this impossible until you consider how many cycles of brood are laid down in one year and then multiply this by the number of years.

    I rotate comb by simply making up lots of nucs in the spring and sometimes by selling bees and brood. I would guess a normal rotation cycle is about 4 years.
     
  9. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I 'm headed into my 3rd year and have a few old combs that came with my original 2 nucs. I changed out a couple combs so far and use them in my swarm traps. I have some deep brood chambers that have seen better days so I fasted them up in some trees about 10 ft, gave them a floor and a lid and just stick the old frames/combs in their. I haven't caught a swarm in them yet.
    I've learned when the flow is on we can get away with anything and the bees will "fix it".
     
  10. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Eddy Honey, that's what i do with my old black greasy looking comb (more than 5 yrs. old:roll:) They make great swarm trap bait, i put 2 in the middle and the rest foundation and a cotton ball pushed in the entrance with a few drops of lemongrass oil.When a swarm moves in the queen will start laying in the old comb and the workers are in a comb building mood, and will draw the foundation out fast. I then work the old comb out and put it in the solar melter. when you have several out yards you can't keep an eye on them like the ones at home, and the swarm trap will work twenty four seven:thumbsup:. When you hear a speaker like Ed, who has a long list of credentials and held many beekeeping positions, it makes you stop and take note of your operation, which is a good thing, but i don't have to agree. Jack