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How should I clean hives for this year  RSS feed

 
M Johnson
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My three hives did not make it through the winter. Looks like all the honey is gone but I didn't see a pile of dead bees, thinking they swarmed and left.

Mice got into it also.

How can I clean up the hives for new bees?  I thought about scrapping everything off, washing them thoroughly and setting in the sun to sterilize.  I read somewhere about freezing them to kill spores?

Two are langsroth and one is a top bar

Should I get new frames?  I would prefer not to scrap all and start over with the boxes etc.

Thanks
 
Gurkan Yeniceri
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Location: Australia, Canberra
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Scrape all the propolis and wax. Throw away the frames for Langstroth and get new topbars cut for the topbar hive.
Burn the inside of the hives with a torch just enough to kill any parasite and scald the wood.

Freezing only kills wax moth larvae and eggs but not American foul brood or European foul brood.
Sun wouldn't do anything for the things unde propolis blanket.
 
M Johnson
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Thanks!  I will do that.  Do I need to air out after burning?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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i wonder how bees cleaned their hives before people started doing it for them?

 
M Johnson
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I would say in a case like this, they wouldn't clean it, they would just find a new place to live and start fresh.

I'm trying to avoid re-purchasing the equipment if at all possible.
 
Marc Troyka
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Location: East Central GA, Ultisol, Zone 8, Humid
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You don't really need to burn frames. Most likely your bees died from varroa, possibly with a side of nosema and tracheal mites. Starvation is also possible but in that case you'd see dead bees with their heads stuck in comb cells.

Even if there ARE signs of brood disease, all you need to do is scrap the comb and bleach everything. Most strong hives can stave off brood diseases as long as spore counts aren't excessive. Freezing only kills bugs/eggs like varroa, small hive beetles and wax moths, and is unnecessary if you're scrapping the comb and bleaching.

It's important to determine what killed them off/caused them to abscond if you don't want to repeat the same thing again. You also need to protect them from mice in the winter, since they cannot defend themselves while in their overwintering cluster.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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