Using of Old Frames

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Dbure, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    After working our hives for the second year now I have some questions for the more experienced beekeepers in regards to the older frames that honey was extracted from. I have placed these back into the hives for the bees to clean up and use. Yesterday after pulling honey from one hive and replacing those frames with previously used ones I had the bees in that hive come out in mass and congregate on the exterior. It got me to wondering if it had anything to do with the replaced comb, so here goes.

    1. We scratch the cappings off the honey when extracting instead of cutting. It leaves the comb ragged and uneven. Is this an issue for the bees to redraw it evenly?

    2. If they even things out is it because they create more wax or do they chew/eat or consume wax to make it even?


    3. Does it matter to the bees if the drawn comb is from different hives? I assume it shouldn't, because we mix them up and redistribute as needed.


    4. Some comb appears to be very dark, almost chocolate in color. Clear honey has come out of these. Is this darkness due to the bees using that comb at one time for brood? Does the use of this comb in the super possibly confuse them or repel them in some way?


    5. How long can the same comb be used repeatedly for honey production before needing to be replaced? Is there something to look for? Does it show some sort of wear or sign of age?
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I'll take a stab at it.

    #1 - No issue for the bees
    #2 - Both, they will move and add as is necessary.
    #3 - Not to my knowledge, if it will work to their advantage, they will use it.
    #4 - Dark comb has probably been used for brood rearing, probably longer than one time. If it is really dark it has been in a brood chamber for a while. Each brood cycle as a bee is born, it leaves behind a tiny cocoon that both darkens and slightly shrinks the cell. I don't know if it would repel or confuse them, other than the queen prefers to lay in dark comb.
    #5 - For honey production, as in a honey only super? I use mine until something happens to it (blow-out, etc.). These combs are usually only on the hives during a nectar flow and then removed, extracted and stored.

    Hope this helps, there may be other with differing opinions so wait to hear more. :thumbsup:
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I agree with Perry on all of the above

    #5 some commercial beeks have told me they have combs that are well over 25 to 30 years old and still use them for honey production.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    Yesterday after pulling honey from one hive and replacing those frames with previously used ones I had the bees in that hive come out in mass and congregate on the exterior.

    tecumseh:
    extremely common if you place 'wets' back on a hive after extracting the honey. wet supers are extremely attractive to the bees... very much more so that fully capped honey or almost anything else I know of. you can see this quite plainly when you drive into a large bee yard with a truck full of wets and watch how soon the bees will locate these 'wet' supers. you could pour out a quart of extracted honey and 'the girls' might not find this for days but wet super are pounced upon almost instantly.

    the reaction of the hive you notice is 'I assume' a defensive reaction to the smell of the wet supers. essentially a non verbal response a bit like 'see how bad we are.... just try to come and take it fool'. essentially a defensive stance against robbing.
     
  5. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I noticed a bit of the pouring out to defend there full frames of honey also. For the first time my girls stung me when inspecting the hive over it also.

    I also noticed that on some frames they are chewing out the comb and actually using or storing it by building comb on the bottom or the top of the frames. Almost like they are trying to get it out of their way for some reason. Remodeling I suppose.

    I have watched as some of the newly drawn foundation has reared at least one batch of brood. the comb is darkened considerably but not to black like some of the older comb. I also have foundation in my med supers that is made to be cut comb honey. ti is very white and clean wax. having the queen lay even one batch of brood in it would be devastating to that clean appearance. I plan to crush and strain honey from this wax and probably replace the foundation with wired.

    At any rate I is clear to me that bees do not simply build comb but it seems to be a continual process of building tearing down and rebuilding. At least until like most women they get it just the way they want it.
     
  6. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    :lol::rolling::rolling::lol: with 50,000 wimmens, yeah right!!