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Greg S

NZBF Winter frame storage/ ressurection?..advice appreciated

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At the end of last season I put about 50 frames in an old chest freezer (running ) and left about the same number sitting in the garage in supers.

 

I had a look at them all today.

 

The frames in the freezer are ant/ wax moth free but the comb is dry and flakes easily.........possibly been dehydrated. the question is should I put theses frames into hives this season as is or scrape them off , hot wash them and rewax them?????

 

The frames that were not in the freezer are not in a good state..will try and attach some pics.

Ants have had a field day, cockroaches are rife and it looks like the wax moths have been at work ( cotton-wool like tracks and hatched cocoons.) Maybe some mould on the frames that were waxed but not built up and the comb that is present is very dry and flakes easily.Same question...can the bees resurrect this or is it all best scraped off?

 

The over-riding question is how can I do better next year.??

 

I have no doubt that there is a better way and would appreciate any advice offered

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I don't have a freezer of sufficient size. On advice from the forum I spaced my combs apart and subject them to maximum breeze ventilation and sunlight. So they are stored outdoors under a makeshift roof and so far no wax moth problems. If you have them in the boxes, then maybe 5 or 6 to a box instead of 10 will provide the necessary gap. Mine were stored in the open on the edge of Nuc boxes lined up in two rows and several stacks high. I'm also going to experiment with using glacial acetic acid vapour 80% concentration to refresh the combs. So, 'refresh' means to kill the other things you mention. Then two weeks in the open again to disperse any remaining stink. The acid thing is apparently commonly done overseas, so you can read up on it, but I've not yet done it.

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I store mine in the freezer. If there is superficial mould I carefully high pressure hose them, shake water out and leave to dry in sun , then shake them and knock them and some of the pollen will come out .

There is still a high chance the bees will chew all the the bits out of the frame and leave it looking like rats have been at it.

But my frames are not plastic.

48 hours in the freezer will kill all the wax moth . Then they can be put in box and sealed in plastic bag.

But thawing does create moisture in drawn frames and it seems hard to control mould in any frame with pollen or uncapped honey.

Foundation does not seem to be attacked so much by was moth.

I do not have a satisfactory solution to the problem yet

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I would suggest freezing frames for 48 hours after which they can be removed and placed in clean supers, stack the supers with a ventilated lid on top which helps to reduce moisture. We store all our honey frames over winter this way. I recommend "drying' the stickies out by placing them back on the hives after the final extraction for a day or so before freezing, you should have no mold or moisture problems if stacked in a dry place until needed in the spring.

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I would suggest freezing frames for 48 hours after which they can be removed and placed in clean supers, stack the supers with a ventilated lid on top which helps to reduce moisture. We store all our honey frames over winter this way. I recommend "drying' the stickies out by placing them back on the hives after the final extraction for a day or so before freezing, you should have no mold or moisture problems if stacked in a dry place until needed in the spring.

This is NZ

There does not seem to be much dry anywhere these days .

It must be easier in western Australia

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We are having a very dry winter here, but the frames do stay dry in the shed even if and when it does rain, enjoy your moisture any way, many farmers around here would envy you guys there in NZ.

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Most of the following steps have been mentioned separately above.

After extraction put supers back on hives for bees to clean the frames. This removes all honey residues.

A few days later, removed the supers and freeze for 48 hours. This kills all stages of wax moth, including eggs and larvae.

After freezing, either stack boxes with a solid base and lid to prevent moths or larvae from entering.

My boxes are stored in this way. The stacks are under cover in an open fronted farm shed. They rarely show signs of mould, as the combination of removing the honey and drying the wax in the freezer, means there is little for the mould to grow on.

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I gather by drying the wax you mean it gets dessicated/dehydrated in the freezer ?

I gather that is why the wax becomes very brittle ?

So if you put this dry wax back in the hive the next season do the bess use it as is or totally lull it to bits and rebuild it?

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The bees will sort out most messes that beekeepers make of their homes. The more wax you leave them the less they have to create. They will do what they have to to make it useable comb. They are magic wee creatures.

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Bron is right and the bees will tidy up almost anything including old pollen. I store all my boxes outside on pallets with big lids. The amount of damage in your photos is insignificant and absolutely nothing to worry about. Brittle wax is also nothing to worry about and you will be surprised how the bees tidy it up. Freezing and sealing is an option but if you leave the tiniest gap and wax moth get in there they can destroy the whole thing before you even notice. Personally I find wax moth cause very little damage around here once you get past March and this time of year I'm far more worried about mice and rats and I have numerous rat bait stations which are checked regularly. If you're really worried you can always if leave the boxes on the hive except in the very coldest districts. It's not something I normally do but the bees really only heat the area that they are using.

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In the past I have noticed mould happening in frames in two box hive which was a sign to me that I had overestimated how many bees were in the hive and I needed to move them all to one box

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Generally I chuck them in the shed and put them back on as they are in spring, the bees clean them up.

It takes something like 8gm of honey to make 1gm of wax.

Don't waste their hard work if you can avoid it, I'm sure they'd rather clean and repair combs most of the time then start again

 

(Geez slow to the party. I somehow didn't see all those other people saying the same thing :rofl: my bad)

Edited by Guest

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It takes something like 8gm of honey to make 1gm of wax.

 

 

I see your point of view and I understand it. I'm keen to explore that a bit more, let me do an example to illustrate because it is not that simple for the majority of beekeepers who are doing it as a hobby.

 

If a hobby beekeeper works from the 8:1 rule and if the national average hive stats are about 30kg of honey, then we could think about 30kg of honey in ten frames 3kg each just as an example/ assumption. I'll also assume another hive using crush and strain or scrape and strain produces 20% less honey in order to make comb. So, 24kg harvest that is 6kg of honey less, that gives only 750g of wax, That means each comb contained 75g of wax. Hopefully that sounds about right.

 

So, let's say that one beekeeper has 30kg of honey and the other has 24kg of honey plus 750g of wax (each year).

 

Well firstly if it is a hobby beek without NP1, then 24kg is a powerful amount of honey to consume legally and 750g of wax is useful for boot polish, food wraps, lip balm, candles and other cool stuff. Probably it would be handy to have more wax and less honey actually. Wax candles can be gifted legally, so that might be the special something for the MPI person in your life.

 

Next thing is the wanna-bee urban commercial who has NP1. He might sell that for say $12/kg urban multi-foral at a famer's market. The extra 6kg he sells brings in $72. But there are extraction costs and bottling costs, NP1 costs and so on. Let's assume he makes a profit of only $6/kg that he is paying tax on. $36 extra for the extra 6kg.

Now if his waxie mate got only 24kg and he has cleaned up the wax. In order to break even the price of the wax probably has to be $36/.75kg = $48/kg. So unless the price of wax goes up to $48/kg it is more profitable to spin for the two beekeepers both in NP1. If we assume he sells the wax for $20/kg then he comes up short by $21. So for sure it pays to spin. That said, the other beekeeper can cycle out old comb every year if you like that sort of thing.

 

So, I'm in the first example the hobby beek, I'd like more wax and less honey. 8:1 is fine with me. I'm not selling any wax but if I did my price would be $48. If wax shortages continue, I think there would be a tipping price at which it became economic to harvest wax, but that is someone else's problem because I don't need to buy nor sell.

 

I reckon that what applies to full commercials and/or in the manuka sector makes perfect sense economically but it isn't relevant to the majority of beekeepers since hobbiest beekeepers vastly outnumber commercials and also because they don't have NP1 let alone RMP. Thus each view makes sense according to circumstances.. The op who started this thread listed himself as hobbyist.

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Wax candles can be gifted legally, so that might be the special something for the MPI person in your life.

:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::D:rofl::D:what:;):):P:D That comment made my evening

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What

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What

Like I get what your saying you might want to make wax... not the time to do it.. if that's your plan do it mid flow otherwise you can make them slower when there are little dearths.

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I see your point of view and I understand it. I'm keen to explore that a bit more, let me do an example to illustrate because it is not that simple for the majority of beekeepers who are doing it as a hobby.

 

If a hobby beekeeper works from the 8:1 rule and if the national average hive stats are about 30kg of honey, then we could think about 30kg of honey in ten frames 3kg each just as an example/ assumption. I'll also assume another hive using crush and strain or scrape and strain produces 20% less honey in order to make comb. So, 24kg harvest that is 6kg of honey less, that gives only 750g of wax, That means each comb contained 75g of wax. Hopefully that sounds about right.

 

So, let's say that one beekeeper has 30kg of honey and the other has 24kg of honey plus 750g of wax (each year).

 

Well firstly if it is a hobby beek without NP1, then 24kg is a powerful amount of honey to consume legally and 750g of wax is useful for boot polish, food wraps, lip balm, candles and other cool stuff. Probably it would be handy to have more wax and less honey actually. Wax candles can be gifted legally, so that might be the special something for the MPI person in your life.

 

Next thing is the wanna-bee urban commercial who has NP1. He might sell that for say $12/kg urban multi-foral at a famer's market. The extra 6kg he sells brings in $72. But there are extraction costs and bottling costs, NP1 costs and so on. Let's assume he makes a profit of only $6/kg that he is paying tax on. $36 extra for the extra 6kg.

Now if his waxie mate got only 24kg and he has cleaned up the wax. In order to break even the price of the wax probably has to be $36/.75kg = $48/kg. So unless the price of wax goes up to $48/kg it is more profitable to spin for the two beekeepers both in NP1. If we assume he sells the wax for $20/kg then he comes up short by $21. So for sure it pays to spin. That said, the other beekeeper can cycle out old comb every year if you like that sort of thing.

 

So, I'm in the first example the hobby beek, I'd like more wax and less honey. 8:1 is fine with me. I'm not selling any wax but if I did my price would be $48. If wax shortages continue, I think there would be a tipping price at which it became economic to harvest wax, but that is someone else's problem because I don't need to buy nor sell.

 

I reckon that what applies to full commercials and/or in the manuka sector makes perfect sense economically but it isn't relevant to the majority of beekeepers since hobbiest beekeepers vastly outnumber commercials and also because they don't have NP1 let alone RMP. Thus each view makes sense according to circumstances.. The op who started this thread listed himself as hobbyist.

FD wax foundation is about $24/kg at the moment. I cancelled my order for 6 boxes of foundation. Just going to consolidate this year and use up the 2 boxes I bought a couple of years ago when the price was reasonable. If wax (unprocessed) goes to $48/kg there is something seriously wrong with the industry.

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FD wax foundation is about $24/kg at the moment. I cancelled my order for 6 boxes of foundation. Just going to consolidate this year and use up the 2 boxes I bought a couple of years ago when the price was reasonable. If wax (unprocessed) goes to $48/kg there is something seriously wrong with the industry.

 

fair enough. But in terms of the op storing frames, he is probably best to melt down any manky ones and only keep the best, if he would have any use for that wax.

I am storing / keeping empty dry combs too, but my harvest combs are cycled out using crush and strain. So that's how I get my wax supply and keep combs fresh.

The price of wax is determined by supply/demand, but if you were to make the same $$ off the wax as the honey, then the price might have to be 8:1 in order to be economic. Or maybe less because of compliance and extraction, packing costs, say four times the price you sell your honey for $/kg. I think some beekeepers would start to consider harvesting and selling wax if the price was four times that of the honey that they sell. In the past supply has exceeded demand and it may always do so, that's not my area. But I think the cost of production for wax is four times higher so if everyone refuses to sell their wax for less than the cost of production, then price may gravitate to the cost of production. Why should you discount your wax?

It is a similar argument for making us pay the same amount for milk in NZ related to the price of milk exported overseas so all areas of a business make a similar $$ return. Not saying I agree with it one way or other, but it happens in business.

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It is a similar argument for making us pay the same amount for milk in NZ related to the price of milk exported

Yeah, we pay the same as foreign customers, as well as having to put up with pollution and the extra costs foisted upon us to fix the environment.

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Yeah, we pay the same as foreign customers, as well as having to put up with pollution and the extra costs foisted upon us to fix the environment.

 

true, but for politics, they could make us pay two times the foreign customers because that's business too, when you control supply and have an advantage. It might almost be enough to make you grateful for politics (?).

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