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Putting Frames back into hives

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New Bee

Joined: 24 Feb 2014
Posts: 1
Location: Bristol. UK

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:13 pm    Post subject: Putting Frames back into hives Reply with quote


I recently bought two national hives including bees (during winter so they were down to their brood chamber only) and the supers were given to me separately. I have harvested lots of beautiful honey from these, but I'm wondering if its OK to put the frames back in in the spring, if potentially I could be putting frames into a hive that it didn't originally come from? Is this ok? They seem disease free. Maybe putting them all in the freezer might kill off any bacteria?

And is there a good amount of comb that should be left when I put it back in? I'm currently taking it back to the original wired wax sheet.

Thanks so much,

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Silver Bee

Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 808
Location: USA/California/ Sacramento

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey HeatheBee,

I'll answer the parts that I can, but I think you'll find that most folks will recommend not moving frames between hives.

Freezing will not kill most bacteria. Flaming the surface will, except American Foul Brood. AFB spores are so tough that nothing short of burning the supers to ash will kill them. I've even heard reports of spores being trapped under melted wax and propolis and surviving for years before the girls chewed through and released the spores.

There's no need to remove the wax from the foundation. The idea of returning comb to the hive is so they don't have to build new comb. Its takes about 8-9 pounds of honey to produce a pound of wax. That said, many people, including myself, will remove old comb after a few years because the wax collects many of the chemicals and pesticides they bring in with the pollen. At that point you want to remove everything: comb, foundation, and frames.

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Scout Bee

Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While the advice not to put frames from another hive in to your existing hive is good we do it all the time when we add extra brood from a strong hive to a weaker hive. Its a calculated risk and if the hives are in the same aipary then the risk of actually introducing a disease to the hive that is not actually there already is minimal.

Considering the boxes came from the same supplier it is probably OK to just super with the extras when you need the space. Like I said, its a calculated risk.

As for the amount of wax to leave, just put the uncapped frames back in. It will be a boost to the hive in its first season but, as Ron said, look at cycling out some of the frames each year to keep your comb less than three or four years old. I move about a quarter of my frames out each year by adding some to the brood nest so the displaced ones are used as honey frames by the bees, these are crushed and strained then put back in for fresh comb to be built. The old honey frames are done the same way but don't have to be moved. Just pull them out, cut out the comb leaving a bit at the top as a giuide, return frame to hive.
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