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  • Storing comb without the health hazard

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #14288  by warsaw-hive
 22 Feb 2024, 20:50
How to stop the mould? I know people will say the bees will clean it up, but is there a way to prevent stored comb going mouldy? Does everyone's brood comb look like this by the end of winter?

The comb was stored wet as that seems to be the advice to stop wax moth. That is not 100% effective as I still had to pick out some grubs.

 #14289  by NigelP
 23 Feb 2024, 08:26
Its usually cells with pollen in that go mouldy, due to being damp. One way is to store them somewhere dry, which usually means inside the house. Which means its warm and so wax moth may be a problem.
Alternatively keep them frozen. I have , or should say had (as it's full of cut comb) a dedicated freezer to store pollen frames in, which were then put into hives in the spring to boost brood rearing.
 #14290  by warsaw-hive
 23 Feb 2024, 13:12
Thanks for the reply. Yes, it's the pollen going mouldy. I wouldn't call it a pollen frame as all my frames have pollen like this frame. They came from 5 frame nucs managed like a warre hive. Not sure if that is significant, I don't have any full sized nationals to compare with.

They are stored in my house which is sadly not warm or dry (old house).

The freezer is jammed in the autumn, no way they can go in there. Beekeeping bits and bobs are taking over the house as it is, a dedicated beekeeping freezer is out of the question! I'm regretting a bit going with an extractor instead of a press. With the latter you don't have this comb storing problem!
 #14292  by AdamD
 23 Feb 2024, 14:03
If stored in a dry environment with a breathable cover that keeps wax moth out, pollen beetles often munch through the pollen into dust. (Not what Nigel is after of course).
Once in a hive and spring arrives, the environment that has favoured mould will change and and the bees should clear it up OK.
 #14297  by warsaw-hive
 25 Feb 2024, 13:18
My inclination would be to wrap them in a non breathable bag (something like a bin liner but a less stinky plastic) and chuck some sachets of silica gel in with them. Our atmosphere is so damp that I can't see a breathable covering would be any good. Any remaining honey would just absorb water and the mould would appear?

Any thoughts on storing wet (straight from the extractor) or dry (licked clean by bees)? Which is the best?
 #14298  by NigelP
 25 Feb 2024, 16:08
Like many things in beekeeping there is no right or wrong way of storing. I prefer to put wet supers back on a hive to let the bees "dry" them. I find wet supers start fermenting as the honey starts to absorb moisture, so they become quite smelly. Not what I want to put back into a hive come spring, particularly as I want to sell my honey
Bur I know of others who always store theirs wet and say the bees clean them out when added back in the spring.

I would say it's up to you to chose whichever method you prefer, certainly storage them wet is far less work.
 #14299  by AdamD
 26 Feb 2024, 15:16
My guess is that wet frames sealed in a bag would sweat and go mouldy; I've never done it though.

I return the supers to be dried by the bees, then freeze them before stacking in an unheated barn. I put cardboard between every 3 supers which will keep any potential wax moth confined to one section only and also allows moisture to pass through. On the top is more cardboard and a crown board plus bricks to ensure that there are no gaps.
 #14301  by JoJo36
 27 Feb 2024, 05:08
After having wax moth a couple of years ago, I now put each dryish super in a large see through plastic bag and seal, put a piece of cardboard between each one and fingers crossed if one has wax moth then it is more confined??!!
Added yet more fondant to my hives a couple of days ago so, despite feeding thick syrup at the end of September they needed a top-up, or just easier to scoff what is left on top for them?? Hmmmmm............ :!:
 #14302  by warsaw-hive
 27 Feb 2024, 20:22
Thanks all for the replies. It is good to hear some successful methods of storing comb. Thinking about this some more, logically if the comb is dry then a breathable cover makes sense, whereas wet comb I think needs a sealed environment.

I'd prefer to store the comb dry for the reasons Nigel mentions, but I usually end up taking off honey when the ivy flow has started so if I return comb then it gets filled up rather than cleaned! We have ivy very early (starts end of August), but the main reason is I have to leave it late for the brood to move fully down in the Warrés. I like the small Warré format (there is no way I'm lifting nationals), but I am yet to perfect my way of working them.