Right, so, due to completely unexpected networking, I've got myself a "job" setting up a small beeyard for someone. DUDE, HOW COOL IS THAT? This man had 4 hives installed a few years ago by someone who was "going to take care of them" for him, and then split the honey. Well, that beek apparently just fell off the planet, so this guy wound up with 4 hives and no real time or inclination to manage them. Then they got attacked by bears at some point. One hive survived all this time feral, and the population in it looks healthy, strong and they are very docile. I also just installed a fresh package into one of the empty hives on Sunday. I'm going to help care for these 2 hives this year (getting paid each trip out) while getting the remaining empties and one new empty set up and ready for bees next season. I'm also going to be instructing this man on how to manage hives; he wants to pay someone to come once a month or so for management, but be able to fill in the gaps himself and eventually care for them himself and harvest the honey and all that. And, he IS building an electric bear fence. The area is set up and posts installed, and he'll have that finished in the next month, well before the fall when the bears start to come out of the mountains and fill up on man-food before winter. I was wondering if you all had some tips to share on some of my more worrisome aspects: -the one remaining active hive is unmanageable right now, due to all the burr comb and propolis and bad spacing. (After installation, the queen cages were never removed, so there are only 9 frames in the bottom box, with a huge gap in the middle of them.) It took me 10 minutes of prying with my hive tool to get one frame loose, and I eventually just pryed the top bar off it and pulled the foundation out, the sides and bottom bar were still cemented in there. It was installed with plastic foundations, so that's a plus...but I can't spend 10 minutes per frame and wind up destroying them all, this is an active hive. Any suggestions? -something got into the empty hives and I've got hives full of nasty dirty drawn comb. BUT, there's a lot of drawn comb, whatever got in them did *not* destroy all the wax. (Well, a mouse got into one, that nest is obvious, and that hive has a lot of munched wax.) I searched for pics of both wax moth infestations and SHB and the pics I'm seeing online do not look like what I'm seeing in these hives. So I really have no idea what it is. Any thoughts of what other things will infest an empty hive? I do know it was after the bees were lost to bears, so whatever it was did not take out the bees. How can I go about cleaning up this equipment? Do I have to strip everything down to foundation or can I leave some of the comb for new installs next year? Do I need...bleach or some cleaner or just some air and sunshine...I've just never worked with old equipment before. (I did the best I could at cleaning out one of the empty boxes, pulled the cleanest frames I could find from the other hives and found quite a few that were pristine, no dirt or damage to the wax at all, and some that were still just foundation with very little drawn comb. I had the package available on Sunday and it was that or nothing, so had to get them into something; if I do need to strip and clean, recommendations for getting this colony moved to a clean hive?) -I'm going to prep a contract to share with the guy, and have us both sign, saying what I'll do and how much I'll get paid for it and have in the disclaimer that hey, nature just sucks and hives can be lost and that the used equipment might cause failure. Has anyone ever done this sort of thing, getting paid to setup and manage a small yard and if so, any tips on some wording, things to include in a contract, etc? Any other tips or suggestions at all? Thanks! WEEEEE, I'm so excited!