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NZBF Storing old honey frames/ End of Season clean up

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I left a ton of honey on last Autumn because I know how much mess it can make over Winter in my garage! 

My question is..

How do beeks manage the excess frames of uncapped honey when taking hives down to two or three boxes over Winter?

Over the years I seem to be collecting a lot of old hard honey, and some mouldy frames etc.etc

I would like to learn a better end of Season clean up process.

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Posted (edited)

Good question.

 

Heres what I do .

 

My boxes are mostly 3/4 now , as I’ve been converting , but that irrelevant ,  but we’ll say I end the summer with 3 boxes per hive .

 

As winter progresses , the bees consume honey . Each hive is different , but at some point they empty out frames and leave them clean ready for storage . It’s just a matter of going in and pulling them out, and reducing boxes . In winter, I’m not worried about having boxes full of frames, so long as where the bees are inhabiting, there are plenty of frames and food. As this happens , boxes get reduced too as the population declines .

 

I cannot recommend storing uncapped frames, except in the freezer. 

 

 

Edited by M4tt

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1 minute ago, M4tt said:

Good question.

 

Heres what I do .

 

My boxes are mostly 3/4 now , as I’ve been converting , but that irrelevant ,  but we’ll say I end the summer with 3 boxes per hive .

 

As winter progresses , the bees consume honey . Each hive is different , but at some point they empty out frames and leave them clean ready for storage . It’s just a matter of going in and pulling them out, and reducing boxes . In winter, I’m not worried about having boxes full of frames, so long as where the bees are inhabiting, there are plenty of frames and food. 

 

I cannot recommend storing uncapped frames, except in the freezer. 

 

 

So in my garage righ now is about 20 frames of anything from full hard honey (old) some mouldy yucky ones, and some frames with small amounts of fresh uncapped. This is all from my attempt to clean up my two hives.

What would your plan be with these? 

Hives right now are down to 2 boxes each with pollen and honey stores.

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Plastic or wooden frames ?

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5 minutes ago, M4tt said:

Plastic or wooden frames ?

Wooden

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Posted (edited)

 

How to get rid of surplus honey is the current topic for many beeks.

 

The number one consideration is don’t let any one else’s bees rob them .

 

You live in an area that is fairly tough on bees , from memory . The GOOD frames of honey may become valuable feed . 

 

I wouldn’t recommend feeding honey usually BUT under your circumstances , being a small time one apiary hobbiest, it’s common practice because you know where the honey came from , so it’s low risk. Still a risk  mind you , as you’ve found by giving them wets , so you’ll have to decide that .

 

They mouldy wax and pollen go good in the garden . Some give them back to the bees to clean up . I don’t 

Edited by M4tt

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35 minutes ago, Wildflower said:

I left a ton of honey on last Autumn because I know how much mess it can make over Winter in my garage! 

My question is..

How do beeks manage the excess frames of uncapped honey when taking hives down to two or three boxes over Winter?

Over the years I seem to be collecting a lot of old hard honey, and some mouldy frames etc.etc

I would like to learn a better end of Season clean up process.

 

That is the problem of not harvesting the surplus honey.  The bees cannot use it all and you also cannot now extract it.  The honey will also have taken on moisture and will ferment quickly.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

 

That is the problem of not harvesting the surplus honey.  The bees cannot use it all and you also cannot now extract it.  The honey will also have taken on moisture and will ferment quickly.

 

 

So this year I plan to get my own extractor so I can spin more towards end of season and try to monitor what the bees need. 

But with regards to the mess I have? I can add a ton of mouse eaten frames to my list...😫🤪

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Honey is a lot easier to store in store in buckets.  You can still feed the extracted honey back to the bees if you have a surplus.

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3 minutes ago, Wildflower said:

I can add a ton of mouse eaten frames to my list...😫🤪

They make fantastic kindling 

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Just now, Trevor Gillbanks said:

Honey is a lot easier to store in store in buckets.  You can still feed the extracted honey back to the bees if you have a surplus.

I think a ton of frames need to be ditched then. 

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Just now, Wildflower said:

I think a ton of frames need to be ditched then. 

Quite possibly.  You have to decide if they are worth the effort in repairing/cleaning up.

It is a dirty messy job.

 

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1 minute ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

Quite possibly.  You have to decide if they are worth the effort in repairing/cleaning up.

It is a dirty messy job.

 

Thanks. Time to clear my mess one way or another.

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Just now, Wildflower said:

Thanks. Time to clear my mess one way or another.

That is the job most beekeepers hate.  

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23 minutes ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

That is the job most beekeepers hate.  

Even beeks who are site admin ?

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17 minutes ago, yesbut said:

Even beeks who are site admin ?

Specially them.  

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8 hours ago, Wildflower said:

 

How do beeks manage the excess frames of uncapped honey when taking hives down to two or three boxes over Winter?

 

 

How many boxes do you have to start with when you are beginning to winter down ?how many are brood how many are honey?

We don’t take down any boxes specifically for wintering, we run single brood in honey an excluder then honey boxes. 

The honey is harvested in February then either an empty honey box put on for them to fill for their winter stores or we leave a box of partially done honey for them to finish and use as stores.

Any double brood hives don’t get a honey box put back on after harvest because they generally put all the Autumn stores in the top brood box and push the queen down into the bottom.

theres no taking partially done honey off and storing it.

Anything we want cleaned up like extracted frames or partial frames get put above a hive mat that has a hole drilled in it.

The bees will come up and bring that honey down to store around the brood nest for winter the frames will be cleaned out and also dry so very easy to take off and store.

 

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5 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

 

How many boxes do you have to start with when you are beginning to winter down ?how many are brood how many are honey?

We don’t take down any boxes specifically for wintering, we run single brood in honey an excluder then honey boxes. 

The honey is harvested in February then either an empty honey box put on for them to fill for their winter stores or we leave a box of partially done honey for them to finish and use as stores.

Any double brood hives don’t get a honey box put back on after harvest because they generally put all the Autumn stores in the top brood box and push the queen down into the bottom.

theres no taking partially done honey off and storing it.

Anything we want cleaned up like extracted frames or partial frames get put above a hive mat that has a hole drilled in it.

The bees will come up and bring that honey down to store around the brood nest for winter the frames will be cleaned out and also dry so very easy to take off and store.

 

Will read this a million times

. You have no idea how far ahead of a mini newby you are! Will read again. Thanks x

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On 30/08/2019 at 4:20 PM, frazzledfozzle said:

 

How many boxes do you have to start with when you are beginning to winter down ?how many are brood how many are honey?

We don’t take down any boxes specifically for wintering, we run single brood in honey an excluder then honey boxes. 

The honey is harvested in February then either an empty honey box put on for them to fill for their winter stores or we leave a box of partially done honey for them to finish and use as stores.

Any double brood hives don’t get a honey box put back on after harvest because they generally put all the Autumn stores in the top brood box and push the queen down into the bottom.

theres no taking partially done honey off and storing it.

Anything we want cleaned up like extracted frames or partial frames get put above a hive mat that has a hole drilled in it.

The bees will come up and bring that honey down to store around the brood nest for winter the frames will be cleaned out and also dry so very easy to take off and store.

 

Hi Wildflower.  What frazzledfozzle has said is a good idea. It may sound odd, but having this hive mat with a hole in it , the bees see the uncapped honey or wets above this as "Not in their hive". So they go up and "Rob it". Bringing it back down into "their hive". Its like putting the gear out in the open to be robbed out except it only goes to that one hive. So this is a safe way to clean up your gear. 

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Some suggest a spacer (An empty box or feeder ring) above the hive may helps too. There is some research to say the hole should be <50mm to ensure the bees don’t move up and set up shop. 

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So after reading all this, what can or should be done with frames of uncapped nectar that have been stored over winter?
I understand it is not a good idea to do this, but if it has been done, how can it be effectively cleaned out so the frames can be used again. 
I don't like the idea of cutting out all the areas of uncapped fermented nectar, and putting it on the compost, as it will no doubt get robbed and affect the robbing bees.
What is the solution for dealing with these fermented frames?
All the comments above relate more to how not to have uncapped nectar frames to store over winter. My questions relate if the fermented frames are there now, at the start of spring.....

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1 hour ago, PhilEvans said:

What is the solution for dealing with these fermented frames?

How do you know it's fermented ? Have they been on the hive all winter, or stored elsewhere ?  

Edited by yesbut

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14 minutes ago, yesbut said:

How do you know it's fermented ? Have they been on the hive all winter, or stored elsewhere ?  

Taken off hives last autumn and stored in the garage. I can smell that it is fermented

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45 minutes ago, PhilEvans said:

I can smell that it is fermented

until others come up with a better solution, here's one that works to a degree.

I had to ask the same question and the advice I got was "wash them"

Immerse the frame into tepid water- then take somewhere bee proof or washable and shake the frame firmly. The diluted honey should shake out. Repeat as necessary.

Use tepid water so the wax doesn't get brittle, and don't think the girls wont find the frames if you leave them in the sun to dry..

 

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I’ve had the odd fermented one and have shaken out what I could then put then into hives. I have done this as a single frame or maybe 2 at most. I’d imagine that putting on full boxes of fermented nectar would cause a problem.

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