would you recommend using old bee boxes?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by russellsmom, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. russellsmom

    russellsmom Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't even consider this option, but these are my dad's old bee boxes. They've been stored under roof for a long time (we're talking a good 15 years plus). Would they be okay to use or not? His colonies died out when I was just starting to learn how to work bees. I now am considering getting started back into them and it'd be great if I could use them.
     
  2. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    I guess my answer would be...it depends. If they are in good shape with no mold or growth on them I probably would. First thing I would do is give them a good cleaning. Then I would slather them with chlorine shock (I know people that would dip them in boiling lye but that's too much for me). Then I would rinse them real well (power washer) and set them outside for the winter to get rid of any residual chlorine (Stand them on end on something off the ground).

    I generally would not re-use frames although I have once when I picked up a bunch of old hardwood frames that were in real clean shape. Again, you want to clean them real well.

    As usual, just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee Well-Known Member

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  4. lewbest

    lewbest Well-Known Member

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    Considering the source of the hives you're at a distinct advantage. Do you know if he had any foulbrood problems? Many bees die out from other problems (starvation, mites and I think that's about the time frame for the origin of the mite problems, etc.) so I'd probably clean them up & use them. My understanding is that foulbrood is pretty rare; many beekeepers (including myself) have never encountered it in their hives.

    Lew in TX
     
  5. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Down here folks use A propane hand toarch, And singe the inside of the boxes to try and help in cleaning them. That is A good way to rid them of vermin..
     
  6. jeffreyc256

    jeffreyc256 Well-Known Member

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    I have the same problem deciding what to do with my dad's woodware. I have decided to buy new for my main effort and use his old stuff for individual hives located away from my bee yard. There are just too many problem disease and pests now to take a chance on old woodware.
     
  7. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    AFB is the problem. Mites, moths and the like are easily taken care of, and almost assuredly aren't present in the wood because of the time it's been sitting empty.

    AFB on the other hand, the spores live for many years. Eternally effectively. If the previous residents of the woodware died off from AFB, it's still present and will reinfect a new hive. A very few states have fumigation services available for a fee for old wood equipment.

    Would I use it? If I knew the history and was reasonably certain the previous residents did not have or die of AFB, I would. If I had my doubts, I would dispose of it.
     
  8. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Considering the sentimental value of the hives, I would go ahead. It isn't a big expenditure of money to purchase a package of bees. I would Start with one package and see what happens. If things look good starting your second year, maybe then you could fill the rest of the supers with new packages. Just a thought.
     
  9. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Check with your local extension service and see if the have the fumigation equipment in your area. Usually if your state has it they move it from county to county so they could give you the date it will be in your area. I would go ahead and use it as it doesn't sound like there was foul brood. Scorching the inside of the boxes is easily done and might be effective. I've done this to used boxes in the past. I've boiled frames to clean them, but I've never used lye.