After extracting honey, we are left to deal with frames with uncapped comb, or frames with comb cut out and a sticky honey mess. This is known as wet frames. What should we do with them? How do we clean them up?
You may be finishing up your honey harvesting for the year and are wondering what to do with your wet frames. Here @ 1115, I have been keeping bees for four years and have experienced four honey harvests. With each harvest I tried a different methods of cleaning up wet frames.
This year I found the best method for me. Please allow me share my efforts with you.
- The first year I extracted, I stacked the frames in my front yard and it caused a free for all! All the neighborhood bees, wasps and yellow jackets came to visit.
- The next year, I made the mistake of putting them right in front of the hives. Once again it was a free for all but this time it set off a hive robbing frenzy.
- The third year, I used an extractor and saved the comb in the frames. Some of the comb was damaged but I figured the bees would repair the comb and reuse it and all would be well. The bees did clean it up but they did not reuse the comb as I had hoped. I did not like the results of this experiment at all.
Finally, this year I decided to just put the wet frames back into their supers and put them back on the hive they came from. I did this right at dark after the foraging bees had come in for the evening. My purpose in waiting was to avoid setting off a hive robbing situation. I left the supers on for a couple of days then removed them. I then cleaned the wax from the frames to prepare for storage until next year.
“The third year, I used an extractor and saved the comb in the frames. Some of the comb was damaged but I figured the bees would repair the comb and reuse it and all would be well. The bees did clean it up but they did not reuse the comb as I had hoped. I did not like the results of this experiment at all.”
This is not an experiment…this is normal practice the bees reuse the spun comb. This is the most efficient and bee friendly method. It wastes a lot of time, honey and effort for the bees to start from scratch.
It takes eight times the honey to make wax. Example: It requires 8 ponds of honey to make a pound of wax.
Am I correct in reading that you cleaned the wax off your frames before storing? Why? Isn’t drawn comb the best thing to put in next spring?
This is my first year keeping bees. I extracted my honey last month. I have been advised to put one frame or two at a time in a super and add to the hive and change frames as it goes until all the frames are cleaned up. They said this prevent the bee from redepositing honey on them. Did you do that or you filled your super full with wet frames? Thanks
[…] time to harvest your honey. You pull your honey off your hives in one day and then put the ‘wet,’ extracted boxes of comb back on them the next. If this was a summer pull then you may not need to do any in-hive work for […]
I did not scrape wax off my honey frames last year before storing for winter. I am confused. I thought we are to leave the drawn comb on for following year. scrape or not to scrape what is the correct answer.
am I to understand , that if you put the frames back into the super, the bees will not reuse it ?? can you please tell me , why not?? in the flow hives , I understand that the bees use the same frames over and over again!!
Putting the “wet” frames back on the hive is the only safe way clean them up. In earlier years, you noticed a “free for all”. Now, imagine thousands of bees from every hive within miles of your hives participating in that “free for all”. A 3-mile radius encompasses 28 square miles. Do you have any idea how many managed and feral colonies are in that area? Do you know the health status of all those bees that are crawling all over your equipment and rubbing shoulders with your bees? If you want a good way to spread disease and parasites, you found it. Congratulations on finding a better way.
I put the extracted frames back in the super and put it on the hive and shortly the bees had cleaned it up, but left comb that can be used next year as the bees do not like to start comb from new frames which have a very light coat of wax on them.