This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

What do I do with my supers and unused equipment

Now the honey is extracted what should happen with the wet supers and how to store them?
 It works well to take wet supers and put them back on the hive. Put the supers on top of the inner cover. The bees will come up from below and clean up anything that is still sticky. Depending how warm it is outside, they should have them cleaned up in about five days. If you have a bee escape board, put that on before the supers are removed for good. The escape board is an easy way to get the bees out of the super. Or, remove the supers on a cold morning when most of the bees are clustered below the inner cover. You may have to brush off a few bees.
 Long term storage, supers can be stored in a shed or a garage for the winter. The supers need to be stacked so they are mouse tight. Any little crack or hole will be an opportunity for vermin to move in and wreck the drawn comb. I store mine on the little pallets I made with a telescoping cover on top with a brick on the lid.
 But there is one more thing to do before we commit the bees to long term storage. For equipment storage, cold weather is our friend. When it is going to be freezing temperatures, I wheel the stacks of supers I have outside and leave them there for a week. This freezing weather will kill any wax moth or hive beetle that may be in the equipment. I am then confident that the supers or deeps are good for winter storage.
 Storing woodenware in an attached garage is fine, but the garage area does not freeze for a long time. The hive pests can get started to ravage the comb if it is warm where the equipment is stored. Wax moths and hive beetle love brood comb. Brood comb is rich in protein. If you just have a few frames, the frames can be put in plastic bags and put in a freezer for three days. The freezing temperatures kill the beetle and wax moth in all stages. That is eggs, larvae, and the pest.
 Dead colonies can be left outside. Hives should be set up for bees for next year. Put your best comb in the bottom box, so when bees come, the hive is basically ready to go. The hive should be swept out and cleaned of any dead bees and debris. Close up all the holes and openings. Put in entrance reducer and screen off the entrance hole to keep out mice. Staple a stiff screen over the entrance reducer hole. Cut the screen a little big so it hits the box above. Then a mouse can't push the entrance reducer in and spend the winter in luxury.
 Taking care of your comb will help a beekeeper get a good start when it is time to use that good comb next year.