Comb rotation

Discussion in 'Organic Beekeeping' started by BjornBee, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    There have been many talks and information lately concerning the use of chemicals from beekeepers. Maryann Frazier from Penn State has looked at many comb samples from CCD hives. The contamination levels for some chemicals, and especially those used by beekeepers, has been extremely high.

    I recently tested one of my yards for chemicals. It showed many things in the results, but one of the items I want to point out was three chemicals were being brought into the hives by foraging bees. And although no chemicals of a beekeeper source was found, the bees were no doubt dragging in chemicals from down the road.

    Chemicals each individually, may pose little harm. But once they combine with additional chemicals, often the outcome is a deadly concoction.

    So one of the items that all beekeepers should do is practice comb rotation. In nature, comb is rotated out naturally as hives die, and the wax moths do their calling. 20 and 30 year comb just does not exist in nature.

    You may think your hives are clean due to the fact you do not use chemicals. But unless you are isolated on some island, your bees will come in contact with chemicals. They will bring it into the hive. It will build up in higher and higher levels within the wax, where your next generation of bees are being raised.

    To me, clean wax is one of the vital parts in keeping bees healthy. And comb rotation is part of that plan.
     
  2. An-Nahl

    An-Nahl New Member

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    In that case Organic Beekeeping cannot exist? Do to the fact we cannot control what the bees bring to the hives, unless they were kept in a controled environment...
     

  3. busybee

    busybee New Member

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    We can surely 'Do Our Part' and not put chemicals into our hives thus that is less the bees will have to contend with. :mrgreen:

    More and more people are try to be organic/ green in their own yards that little by little it will help our bees.
     
  4. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    [quote="An-Nahl
    In that case Organic Beekeeping cannot exist? Do to the fact we cannot control what the bees bring to the hives, unless they were kept in a controled environment...[/quote]

    It would be real tough. I know from a presentation a few years ago with the certifying authority for organics, that they stated that nobody east of the Mississippi would probably pass the 2 mile land use study requirement. I do know that the requirements were discussed in trying to get them changed, but the question would be "Why?" The reason for certification is too allow consumer to have the confidence that they were buying food uncontaminated from pesticides. And since bees will drag chemicals back to the hive from down the road, changing these requirements would just be fooling everyone involved. From the beekeeper to the consumer.

    As a side note, Jennifer Berry commented recently in Bee Culture that she traveled to I think she wrote Brazil or Argentina, in search of clean comb for some testing. This is a place where many "organic foods" are shipped from. So what happens when she brings the comb back and tests it.....loaded with chemicals. Yes...(if you believe it) the beekeepers do not use chemicals, but that would suggest the bees are dragging it in from the surrounding countryside.

    Which makes you wonder, after being certified....who is actually testing the products to ensure the standards are continued to be met? Nobody!
     
  5. Charles

    Charles New Member

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    Thanks Bjorn, comb rotation is one that you don't hear that much about. That's a good info.

    With the heavy use of air born chemicals in lawn care, crops, mosquito control, etc... I don't think it's possible to shield from everything but an overspray from miles away is not nearly as bad as adding chemicals directly to the hive!
     
  6. An-Nahl

    An-Nahl New Member

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    Re:


    This is true… I sell my honey as Raw and Organic because I do NOT treat with chemicals...

    But if we were to go by the correct definition it would truly be non-Organic, due to the fact we have no control over what I neighbors use to care for their landscapes and insect control...

    To take it one step further… most products sold as Organic are in fact non-Organic, because certain pest controls are permitted by those that certify products as Organic, consumers are not always aware of this…
     
  7. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Re: Re:

    This is exactly why I dont buy into the organic idea. There is a lot of people selling organic wether it be local or in national chains that get a premium for there product but in reality it is no different than there non organic counter parts except for the price.
     
  8. SlickMick

    SlickMick New Member

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    Comb rotation as a process of reducing the level of chemicals in the hive is all well and good as long as there is a way of rotating out the old comb. I am assuming of course that it is important to rotate the comb from both the supers and the brood box.

    The comb from the honey supers is easy but how do you remove frames that are full of brood? Is there a way? Or is it just a case of moving the outside frames into the middle and waiting for the brood from those now at the outside to hatch?? :roll:

    Sure would like to know

    Mick
     
  9. Duck1968

    Duck1968 New Member

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    What would be the recommended interval for rotation of the comb?
    Would a 5 year rotation be sufficient?
    Would comb from the honey supers need to be rotated as often as brood comb?

    If 5 years is a good rotation interval my plan when I start my hives next year would be to mark all the top bars of the frames with a 5 then rotate them out in 2015. If you winter in double deeps and make sure the frames you want to change are in the lower deep in the fall, then at the first inspection in the spring they should be empty and easy to swap out when you swap the upper and lower deeps . Would this plan work?

    Thanks Brian
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    charles writes:
    With the heavy use of air born chemicals in lawn care, crops, mosquito control, etc... I don't think it's possible to shield from everything but an overspray from miles away is not nearly as bad as adding chemicals directly to the hive!

    tecumseh:
    perhaps 30 years ago it was suggested that bees (hives) were an excellent monitor of environment quality. everything in the air, land or water is fairly quickly introduced into the hive. at that time when lead was commonly added to automobile fuels honey (and wax) collect near population centers could be a problem. I remember noticing an article (same era) on increased florine levels in hives downwind from certain coal burning power plants (which could now be a much more widespread concern since the source of this coal is now distributed over much of the central us of a).
     
  11. Charles

    Charles New Member

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    I don't doubt this, I'm suprised actually that you don't see more about this now. In this day and age, with the high tech equipment available you would think this would be an excellent source of environmental hazards...

    Welcome to the board Duck1968, where in Loveland are you? I'm up north of Fort Collins near Wellington. Good to see a fellow Coloradoan on the board :) As far as the rotation goes, never done it myself but maybe one of the more experienced guy's can help you out with that.
     
  12. Duck1968

    Duck1968 New Member

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    I am by the Library in town. I don't have any bees right now, but next spring I will be farming my dads 700 acer farm in south central Nebraska. I will be moving there this winter and starting new hives in the spring. My cousin said he would give me 2 or 3 splits to start out with.

    I think I will still mark the top of all my frames with the year they first went into a hive.

    Brian
     
  13. Charles

    Charles New Member

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    I know the area, I had a place over on west 8th for a while. Wow 700 acres will give you plenty of room to play :) Just watch out for those twisters ;)