BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • Cleaning boxes

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #13516  by Ewen
 26 Mar 2023, 21:14
I’m in my third year of beekeeping, and was wondering if it’s a good time to clean the brood and super boxes?
I don’t have any extra boxes to replace while I am cleaning them, and to buy new ones it’s adding on the cost, at least for now.

So really my question is if ok when the weather will warm up, if I can remove the frames with bees while I’m cleaning/disinfect the boxes ?

What cleaning solution are you guys using?

Thanks :)
 #13518  by Alfred
 27 Mar 2023, 08:21
New cedar BB. can be under 20 quid in the sales and it can be a lifesaver sometimes to have spare kit.
You could even knock together a temporary one yourself from rubbish chipboard just while youre cleaning

I make my own floors and stands so I just build up a clean bottom half of a hive and inspect the frames from the old one into it.
The dirty stuff gets sterilized then reused in the next clean.
I do this at least once a year paying good attention to the floors
I had a mild case of cbpv a couple of years back but since the cleaning regime it has not resurfaced.
Good opportunity for repairs and renovation too.
Last edited by Alfred on 27 Mar 2023, 09:16, edited 2 times in total.
 #13520  by AdamD
 27 Mar 2023, 08:56
I should probably clean my boxes more often than I do and tend to have spares. For me with wooden boxes, crown boards etc. it's a matter of scraping and a blow-torch. For polystyrene, it's a scrape and a strong bleach/detergent solution and a hose down.
It's definitely worth having spare kit - however if you want to clean up a brood box, you can place brood frames in two empty super boxes for a few days whilst you clean up and then put the bees back in their proper box later.

It would have made sense (to me) if a super was half a brood box height when the National boxes were originally devised as it would have allowed beekeepers to 'get out of trouble' many many times. It's not uncommon for beekeepers to run out of kit during the swarm season and they are desperately using whatever they can find...
 #13521  by Alfred
 27 Mar 2023, 09:10
I agree with that all the way
I like the national but some of the design wasn't thought through properly.

I'd turn the last bit on its head though -if they made the BB twice a super and therefore increase the capacity there'd have been no need for the 1412 addition then ;)

Or just do what the rest of the world did and simply use a langstroth......

You could easily make an eke to convert a super up to a bb for a semi permanent option but nothing will ever be better than the real thing.
 #13522  by Ian
 27 Mar 2023, 10:15
You’ll need extra kit for swarm prevention and most beekeeping manipulations so as others have suggested check out the sales. Cwynne Jones sell seconds at a small mark up as do maismores on line sales.
As to cleaning your hive is occupied and disease free? You certainly don’t need to disinfect!!! Give the floor a scrape if there’s a build up of Winter detritus I’d suggest you need do no more in normal circumstances.
 #13534  by Ewen
 29 Mar 2023, 18:37
Great advice, thanks guys. In terms of rotating the brood frames, how do you guys do it and at what time during the year?
 #13535  by Alfred
 29 Mar 2023, 20:29
I dont.
If there's a good brood pattern then the queen is telling me the comb is still ok.
If I see "Connect 4" lines of wax debris in the bottom of the cells in too much of the comb then the wax moth is telling me it's not.
If the comb is pitch black and they won't even walk on it it gets rendered.
I'll put in a foundationless in the first half of the season as it's more likely to be drawn as drone comb,then I'll take it out on early autumn and put foundation in to get mostly worker comb.
 #13537  by JoJo36
 01 Apr 2023, 07:57

The site is up and running again:)
 #13538  by AdamD
 01 Apr 2023, 09:04
JoJo36 wrote:
01 Apr 2023, 07:57

The site is up and running again:)
Yes - apologies; I don't know what happened there, however I sent an email and as if by magic, the site was up and running again.
 #13540  by DianeBees
 01 Apr 2023, 11:44
Site was down due to ssl issues. No idea why though. Apologies for the downtime.