re-using stored comb

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by d.magnitude, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    I'm in the process of sorting out all the comb that I'm about to put away into winter storage. I have a number of frames that have sealed (dead) brood in them still, from starved-out hives or nucs.

    Would you save these as is to be put into service next season, or do you think the dead brood is a no-no?

    Also, do you think pollen (bee bread) stored in combs is still good to put into hives after storing through the winter?

    -Dan
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    As long as the brood didn't die from some sort of disease, I'd say it's good to go.
    The bee bread may end up molding over time, if you had a freezer to store frames of pollen it would be better.
     

  3. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Thanks Perry,
    I really don't think any of the brood died from a disease (though they'd have us believe that all of our bees are mildly infected with a number of things). I was just nervous about a bunch of bee corpses going "bad" and then introducing some kind of nastiness to a hive in spring.

    Unfortunately, a freezer isn't really practical for me at this point. Hopefully, one day I'll be lucky enough to have space for a dedicated "bee freezer", or maybe even access to a walk-in. I'll just keep the pollen combs sorted separately and keep an eye on them. I believe I've kept some over winter before with no problems, but I wasn't sure if their nutritional value deteriorates over time in conditions like that.

    -Dan
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I agree with Perry. Also, when you put it on a hive in the spring, the bees will separate the good from the bad, and clean it up to their liking.
     
  5. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    What about spraying bacillus theringensis a. on the frames to prevent wax moth damage?
     
  6. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    I already regularly use Bt. My questions were more about what funkiness the dead brood and pollen might cause.

    I suppose SHB are a real possibility, and they are certainly attracted to all that brood comb stuff I'm talking about. But I don't think I usually put brood comb away until late enough in the year that they shouldn't be an issue
     
  7. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    A little off topic, but... A book I read recently said that if there are bits of honey left in the comb, the honey will crystallize. The next year the bees will fill over top of that and the crystals will seed the new honey, making it crystallize in the comb. Has anyone experienced this?
     
  8. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    The bees are using the pollen as a means of protein. If stored in a cool dry place so the pollen doesn't mold the pollen will be usable by the bees with no effect on the protein value.

    The bees are great cleaners they will clean and polish the cells readily and if the cells are to badly damaged they will tare the cells completely down to the foundation and rebuild the cells.

    Side note: If pollen is to be gathered and used for cross pollination in future years with pollen inserts the viability of the pollen to pollinate diminishes quickly. The trapped pollen needs to be removed from the pollen traps frequently and frozen to preserve it and new pollen needs to be added to the inserts every few hours. Pollen is only viable for 4 to 6 hours if not frozen.

    That was awkward, having to have that talk in public.
     
  9. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    "That was awkward, having to have that talk in public." :rolling: :rolling: :rolling:
     
  10. tefer2

    tefer2 New Member

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    Take the frames and hold them sideways. Then bang the wood edge on the palm of your hand.
    Most of the dead brood will fall out of the comb on to ground. Just don't bang them so hard as to break the comb out. What's left the bees will clean out in the spring. You won't get all of them though. Dead bees stink to high heaven.
     
  11. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Yeah, I banged out most of the bees with their heads in the cells. Capped brood doesn't really bang out.

    I guess uncapped brood might, but I don't think I've ever noticedopen brood in a starved out colony. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the bees eat any larvae/eggs when faced with starvation?

    You're right about dead bees stinking. I'm sure the dead brood would too, especially if I started poking open all of the cells.
     
  12. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Any brood that is uncapped and eggs they will remove and quite feeding. Brood that is already capped they don't remove it unless it is dead in the cells. Depending on the development of the brood in the pupa stage you could use a capping scratchier and lift the cappings off and impaling the pupa and lifting them out also. This will only work if the brood is almost developed and the pupa has developed it exoskeleton.

    You asked the question your self did the hive starve? Or did they get attacked by some thing, Had disease, mites, or other ailments to cause the hive to abscond leaving the hive empty or weak and vulnerable tor attach and to be robbed out?
    rough dates
    When did you notice the colony being dead?
    When was the colony last inspected alive?
    What condition was it in?
    Are there other hives in the yard that have survived? And what condition are these hives in? Light in stores on the brink of starvation or lots of stores.
     
  13. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    As I said in posts # 1 and #3, the hive or nucs starved, and I don't suspect disease.

    I was running a bunch of nucs, and they weren't always fed equally at the same time late in the season (bad beekeeper, I know). When dealing w/ a 5-frame (or even 10-frame) medium, the level of stores seems to be able to vary quickly.

    I don't want to get off topic trying to do a hive autopsy. Thanks though, you guys have put my mind at ease about just putting the brood and pollen frames in question away for next season.

    -Dan