COLONIAL BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION
Information listed here is for the new beekeepers looking for new information and guidance on beekeeping and beekeeping chores:
So you were able to harvest some honey but now what do you do with those frames?
There are three things that can be done.
1-you could just leave the frames as they are and store them in a freezer or refrigerator. Not very practical for most folks and storing them wet in the garage or house is an invitation to disaster, don't do it!
2-you can let the bees dry them out outside of the hive. This works very well but you must take precautions to prevent a robbing frenzy in your apiary. Put the frames some distance from the hives, the farther the better, and additionally have some objects between, like trees or a building. This also pertains to letting the bees clean up your extracting equipment. There will be some damage to the comb but nothing too drastic.
3-lastly you can put the frames back into the hive they were harvested from or on another colony that may need the stores. If you just want the bees to dry the frames and move the residual honey down into the colony you can place the frames in a super above the inner cover. To keep the bees from moving up add a spacer or an empty super between the inner cover and the frames. Adding the frames back into or on top of a colony may also create a robbing situation if there are any gaps, cracks or openings. Take precautions!
Once dry these frames are a valuable resource and you HAVE to protect them until freezing weather arrives and wax moth activity ceases for the year.
There are some choices that can be made here as well. Hanging under a eave allowing plenty of air and light can usually prevent wax moth damage if the combs never held brood or pollen.
Another way is to protect your frames with Para Dichlorobenzene, Moth crystals. Supers are stacked and sealed with a spacer at the top. Place the moth crystals on a paper plate on top in the space as the fumes will go down.
Lastly combs can be protected with a natural microbial bacteria Bacillus thuringenisis (Certan®). It was once available for sale by bee supply companies but is no longer manufactured in the US but is available from Canada. Some beeks use alternative products that contain the same bacteria but are sold under a different name for the similar purpose of larva control.
Have you done your check for varroa mites? Now is a great time to do a sugar roll or alcohol wash to determine the percentage of mites within your colonies. Doesn't matter if you treat or not but to know your colonies health, it is important to monitor the varroa mite infestation level.
Once you have your numbers then you can
Just looking at your bees is not enough to know how they are coping with varroa. In 2017, with the help of a club member, I did an alcohol wash on a colony that appeared to be in good shape. Weren't we both surprised when there were so many mites we had to dump them out on a rag to make an accurate count. 158 mites in 1/2 cup (300) of bees! Do I have a colony that is surviving with varroa or a colony that is on the brink of collapse? Without monitoring I wouldn't know why they perished or the importance of breeding this queen.