Replacing old comb in your hive? Why?

Whats this about?

The honey comb that the bees use to raise their brood and place their honey stores gets old. What is a beekeeper to do?

Why do it?

Frames become impregnated with pesticides, some the bees pick up from their foraging efforts and others from beekeepers placing treatments into their hives to remove mites.

When to do it?

We replace our frames every three years, we have started stamping our frames with the year the frame was made. This makes it easier to work out the frames age. Old frames can be melted down for their wax and then rewired and re-waxed. Or destroyed if you can afford to buy new frames.

Look what our bees have been doing

The bees also see the benefit of replacing the frames, so they have been filling in the stamps with propolis. To make it easier for us to read the year stamps. How often do you replace your frames? Do think it’s pointless to replace frames? Comment below (If you dare :)) :-

4 thoughts on “Replacing old comb in your hive? Why?

  1. mogget1 says:

    I just cull the very dark frames, those that have been damaged or are warped, and any pollen clogged frames. This seems to work out at about two frames a season per brood box for me.

  2. Emily Heath says:

    I try to replace them annually and all at once, either by doing a shook-swarm or Bailey comb exchange in spring around March time. The shook-swarm is a good method of varroa control as the brood is destroyed and the colony is broodless for a little while, breaking the mites’ breeding cycle.

  3. Caroline Luxford says:

    I just cull the very dark ones, all comb is changed when I do my artificial swarm, I worry about Bailey’s and shook swarm, as you take the bees unaware, what happens, if as this year in England, the weather breaks and they cant get to the pollen, and it must interfere
    with the honey crop? how ever I do accept it is a good veroa control and might get brave and try it in the Autumn

    • Emily Heath says:

      The shook-swarm could be a problem in this awful weather, but with the Bailey exchange they keep the bottom box pollen frames for three weeks until the brood hatches out. Meanwhile you move the entrance in-between the two brood boxes to encourage them to store the pollen up top, so that when it comes to destroying the bottom frames there is pollen up top too.

      Don’t think the shook swarm is recommended in Autumn, as they might struggle to build up numbers again afterwards before winter.

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