New guy in northern Michigan

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Jeem, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. Jeem

    Jeem New Member

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    Hello all. It's great to find a place with such enthusiasm and knowledge for a pursuit new to me and obviously a passion for many (most) of you. Makes me look forward all the more. Here's my situation: I've recently purchased all of the beekeeping equipment from a local beekeeper from whom we've purchased honey for years. This haul includes about 30 deep brood boxes each containing frames of drawn comb ranging in condition from pristine to nearly black, broken, web-covered, and, well, just plain nasty-looking. Going through all of these frames has been somewhat educational as I was able to differentiate between regular worker cells, drone cells (around the edges of some) and even a couple of long queen cells off the bottom of one. My first question, then, is how bad does a frame of brood comb have to be before you're better off stripping it, cleaning it, and starting over with new foundation and wire? And what to do with the wax from the discarded comb? And should I be worried about any lingering diseases? Thanks in advance for what I hope will be the first of many great answers to my likely unending line of questions.
     
  2. Indiana Dave

    Indiana Dave New Member

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    Welcome to the best beekeeping forum on the net! Glad you found it. Are you in the UP? You might just qualify for the Tundra Division with PerryBee and the boys :)
    Although a lot of people will NOT buy or use used equipment, quite a few of us have, myself included. Half of what I started with was used, now I make all of my own woodenware except frames and foundation. Just clean the boxes out really well and scorch (don't blacken) the inside of the boxes with a flame to help clean it. Some will use a bleach and water solution. As far as the comb goes, if its black, broken, web covered and nasty, pitch it and insert new foundation. Foundation is cheap. I would only keep the better stuff and replace the rest with wired foundation. IF the discarded comb is nasty, maybe keep it for swarm bait, otherwise I would toss it out. I'm sure more expd beeks will give you good advise. Don't be afraid to ask questions here. This is a wonderful resource.
    Good luck!
     

  3. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm Active Member

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    What was the reason the local beekeeper was selling the equipment? and how well did you know him? That would be your source of info on disease. Like Dave said, clean it good and any foundation with web damage, broken, or any you can't hold up to the sun and not see light through it, throw it away or burn it. Otherwise it sounds like you will have a head start with your bees. Bees are expensive these days unless you can collect swarms, and that has some cost to it also. Good luck and Welcome to the forum. Jack
     
  4. Jeem

    Jeem New Member

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    Thanks Dave and Jack, The guy I bought all the equipment from turned 90 last month and just physically can't do it anymore. He's being very helpful. His boxes and frames have all been stored in a shed for several years. He's apologized repeatedly for their condition and has told me that if cleaned adequately most of them should be workable. After going through all of the deep boxes I've separated out 6-8 that seem OK but the rest aren't. There are also about 70 supers (two sizes) with drawn comb that I haven't had a chance to go through yet. What I have seen of them would indicate that for the most part they're in better shape. I've ordered a couple of 3 lb. boxes of bees to get a couple of hives started and Pancho (the fellow I'm getting this equipment from) says he still catches swarms each season and that I should prepare a few extra hives for those as well. So here goes . . .
    Jim
     
  5. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm Active Member

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    Sounds like you hit the jackpot.:thumbsup: If the frames are dusty, i like to hit them lightly with a air hose and spray them with bleach water ( 1 cap of bleach to a gallon of water) comb and all.Let them dry good before you use them or store. If you store the comb frames, be sure to use para mouth crystals or put them in the freezer. To protect against Wax moths. Of course that"s just the way i do things.:wink: Jack
     
  6. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Welcome and enjoy your stay! Lots of good info and great folks here. :)

    I had to look up Whittemore, MI. My wife grew up in Rochester, MI. My wife's mother's parents lived in Caseville, MI which looks just across the water from you. My wife's mother inherited that house and we got to go clean out the house after she decided to stop renting it out.

    It sounds like you have plenty to do, but it also sounds like you have the material to have a great learning experience!

    Good luck and ask lots of questions. I do and I've learned a ton here!
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Welcome to the forum Jim. It sounds like you are starting well ahead of most beginners--plenty of equipment and an advisor who wants to help. Take advantage of his knowledge and he'll repay you double with the live info he gives you. If the sun gives enough strength in Michigan, (it should, at least during the hot summer months) see if you can get a solar wax extractor and melt down the really black combs. Why throw away or burn good bees wax. It has many uses.
    If the black combs are in good condition and don't have any signs of disease, they can be very good in the hive since the darker combs are also stronger. But there's a trade-off: whereas they are strong and don't break during extraction of the honey in an extractor, they tend to impart some of their dark color to the honey stored in them. Maybe it pays to use them till you can get your bees to build you new combs and then replace them.
    Good luck with your new hobby. Wait till it becomes an obsession:wink:
     
  8. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Hello Jim and welcome to the forum :hi:


    The best thing you have found is a 90 year old mentor that is willing to help you out!!

    All good advice on the boxes, frames and comb. That old black comb makes very good bait for a bait hives.

    Make sure Pancho has you phone number when swarm season hits your area, he can show you another facet of bee keeping. Nothing more fun than catching a swarm and a very experienced keep to help you out with it. That will make his day more than yours.
     
  9. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hi Jim:
    I agree with everything everyone has mentioned so far (that was easy :wink:). I was going to add but Efmesch has mentioned it, I rarely throw out wax no matter how bad it looks. Melt it down and make yourself some candles. :thumbsup:
    You have found a friendly place to read and learn and never be afraid to ask questions here, we enjoy answering 'em! :mrgreen:
     
  10. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Welcome Jim! The best insurance is to ask the previous owner what (if) he had any diseased, sick or dead hives.
    Scorching may be false assurance --
    Eastern Regional Research Lab tested the Thermal Resistance of Bacillus Larvae
    AHB spores can withstand 100 degrees Centigrade (boiling point of water) for 160 minutes
    110 C 230 F for 41 minutes
    132 C 270 F for 1.9 minutes
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...00007-0029.pdf
    This is also something to consider when scorching woodenware. It may not reach 270 F for two minutes.
     
  11. Jeem

    Jeem New Member

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    Thanks for the warm welcome and encouragement. I'm pretty much a better safe than sorry guy so I'll probably err on the throwing-too-much-out side. And there's nothing wrong with swarm bait and candles. Jim
     
  12. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Let me add my belated welcome to all the rest.
    Fatbeeman, a forum member here has a bunch in instructional videos on you tube about cleaning you old dark wax.
    Sounds like you're starting out well supplied with equipment.
    Good luck.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    :hi: from central Texas.