How to work an old frame out of rotation

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Ed K, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. Ed K

    Ed K Well-Known Member

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    I have two new hives which I started with nucs. Both the wood and the wax of the nuc frames look very tattered but are currently being most heavily used by the bees. Once they've drawn out the comb on my new foundation what will be the right time and the right procedure for removing the old frame?

    Thanks

    Ed
     
  2. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

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    You can move the frame to the outside of the hive body. Then, when all brood is hatched, the bees will fill the frame with honey. You can then put the frame in an empty box above the inner cover. The bees will move the honey down into the other frames. Make sure there is enough room to accomodate the honey that the bees will be moving down.

    justgojumpit
     

  3. Orville

    Orville Well-Known Member

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    If you decide to move the frame from the brood nest, put it in the upper super with a queen excluder below it. Otherwise the queen will surely lay in it, as the bees tend to prefer the old, dark wax. It must stay in the hive (upper super) so the worker bees can tend to the brood till it hatches. If the cells in the old frames are all uniform and produce mostly workers, why change them? Tattered edges are easily repaired by bees. If it's blotchy, and contains a lot of bullet-topped drone cells, then it would be advisable to replace it. I wouldn't replace it in any case until I had some frames fully drawn out for the bees to put to immediate use.
     
  4. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

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    If you are using apistan or other medications, this will contaminate the wax. There is only one bee for which this is a problem: the queen. She lives longer than all the other bees, so she is the only one to feel the effects of contaminated wax. I would recommend replacing frames after three or four years of use. If you put old frames in the outermost position in the brood box, the queen will only lay in them if she has nowhere else to lay. In this case, they are still very useful to the queen. Also, the bees will keep raising drones until they are satisfied with the number of drones in the hive, no matter what you do. Then, they will use drone cells for honey storage. Remove some larvae from capped drone cells occasionally to see if you have high levels of mite reproduction. If this is the case, drone frames are actually very useful, as they can be removed from the hive when capped, and frozen. This kills the drones and the mites, and the frame can be returned to the hive to allow the bees to clean out the frame and raise another frame of drones. This can be removed, frozen, and returned for another two or three times when the drone cells are capped to kick back the might populations a good bit.

    justgojumpit