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Mold n Moisture!


Hi everyone !

This winter in preparation for starting back into beekeeping I built n assembled three full setup of hives.

My problem is that some molding n moisture has discolored the frames of my hives I have stored in them. Will this be an issue. It mold doesn’t seem to appear on the actual plastic foundations yet.
Our region is very damp n rainy off/on most of our winters. This winter was exceptional so, Approximately 24 inches in last four months. This weather is thus cool but mild like England I would guess.
After this discovery the other day I have add screen bottom boards, and tried to add more ventilation !! I will add more photos …

My question is: “Will my new bees have a problem with this limited mold n mildew ?”

I am hoping this added opening n ventilation will help some to slow or stop the problem until my bees arrive in about one months time. Everything was so new, perfect n ready ! Bummer ! :wink:

I will appreciate everyone n all thots n notes. Maybe this is common in mild winter wet regions. I don’t remember this issue as a teen years ago but maybe I just forgot.

Thanks everyone , :honeybee::honeybee::honeybee:



I am going to see if that local beekeeper you noted up here as this issue. Don’t remember her writing on this moldy hive storage issue or not !



I did have hive board sloped forward a little so rain n water would not collect on bottom boards.


In a word…NO :smile:


Hi Gerald, if you have a wood fireplace inside or a heated area, I would stack the frames on their sides & pile them up so they get plenty of air around them near the heat.

I guess you’d have to be careful you didn’t warp the plastic.

I must confess, thinking back, that I’ve used frames with mold on them & the bees seem to cope with them ok


Since you haven’t had any bees yet, you can put bleach in a spray bottle and coat the frames, that will kill the mold and the frames should be aired out by the time your bees arrive.


Hi all,

Thankz for the notes n encouragement. I remember some pretty nasty dark frames after awhile years ago but couldn’t remember the mold n mildew stuff. I’ve got about one month until the Nuc’s get here so wanted to stay on course ! This is almost info n News ! We don’t have a wood stove anymore but have replaced with a gas unit but could work the same ! We heated our home for over 25 years with a wood stove in our fireplace but wood got too expensive n that was a lot of work ( 6 cords/ a stack 4’x4’x8’ is one cord). I’d get finished with one heating season/winter n have to start chopping trees, cutting, splitting n stacking once more. Wow ! That kept me in shape but there was always a bit of soot n ash in our living room from the constant burning n ash removal. Sure was nice HEAT !


Don’t put the damp box by heat it will warp and distort.

Bring it inside to a laundry, garage or similar room that is dry and ventilated - if the wood dry’s quickly it will be ruined.

Oxalic acid is used as wood bleach or we have washing Soda crystals Na2CO3 (NOT Caustic!!!) is a strong alkali (don’t use on Aluminium) Either will clean wooden surfaces.

Let the boxes air dry naturally after washing


I have a wood fire box, I have a good supply of dry hardwood where I keep my bees. If you were to bring the frames inside to dry, I guess you’d use a bit of common sense not to put them too close, that goes without saying.

After carefully reading your question, I’d leave the boxes outside.

I don’t think splitting the wood keeps me fit, but it sure gets the blood circulating for a little while.

It’s funny where I live, I’m still using my wood fire to keep warm at night during the last month of our sub-tropical winters & the bees are swarming.


Here in Mullumbimby we get 2400mm or 8 feet of rain a year. Mould gets on anything where there isn’t enough air circulating. My bees don’t seem to care about a bit of black speckly mound on the frames but they can be finicky.

A month or so ago I had a frame of new foundation leaning against a tree ready to go into a trap hive. A bird dropped its gift onto the foundation. I needed to use the dirty frame but the bees would have nothing to do with it. I cut out the offensive bits of foundation and the bees still won’t have anything to do with it.


If you don’t like it, you could do as Bruce suggests. Make a quart of water mixed with a tablespoon or two of bleach and pour it into a spray bottle. Take the plastic foundation out of the frames and set on one side. Pick a nice day, lay out the frames in the sun and spray with the bleach. Let it all dry off for a day or two.

It seems to me that the mold is a result of a ventilation issue in an unpopulated hive. Bees can put a lot of air through a hive, so once it is populated, you won’t get this problem again.

No need to throw the frames out, but your hives need more ventilation while empty. :blush:



Your correct ! The moment I popped those hives open my brain went into high gear. Being a heat technician I immediately thot about vebtalation n airflow, I’ve completely opened n removed the slider in each of my SBBoards. I’ve added a separation between one or more of hive supers. I’ve also removed my inner covers or raised with shims to allow for max. Air movement without the rain just pouring in.

As for the stain n mold since it is not really problematic … Guessing I’ll leave for the bees to deal with !! Since I’ve opened them so much I am thinking more mold or meldew will not gain now.

I think I am learning quickly by listening, reading n experience. Thanks Dawn n others !



I’d just wash them down with bleach. Leave them in the sun for 24hrs and all of the residual will break down in the UV, and off gas naturally. That is what they recommend for cleaning up black mold and mildew inside homes that have mold issues. And as long as you can air them in the sun it will be fine.


Hi Gerald,
I have this issue every year with hives that are in the shade during winter, I used to worry about it but the bees get it cleaned up once the weather warms up. You could either rub cold wax across the top of your frames to prevent moisture being absorbed into the timber otherwise put a hive mat across the top which should redirect any moisture to the walls of the hive and away from your frames.



Thanks for the assurance n advice. It’s just been 55 years since I delt with any of this. Time makes the brain forget details. I’m sure more n more stuff will “flashback” as I get my bees n a bunch of new stuff to get use too n onboard too. Again. I appreciate the notes,


The funny thing is, I reckon the Flow Frames is the only thing that has changed in beekeeping in those 55 years… :grin: Oh maybe the use of plastic, but thats it!



Yah, plastic is surely a new thing ! I’d not seen it until last Autumn when I jumped onboard the beekeeping train Again ! Really don’t remember “Nuc’s” either. And there’s those pesky varroa mites ( took me a few to wrap my tongue around that new critter name. Not sure we knew about SBBoards either or MAGS or Oxilic acid. But I do remember my plants n times (it’s fuzzy but up there in my gray matter). :smile:


This solves two problems: It should help with condensation, and all those poor mice looking for shelter have found it! lol


Moist air rises… let it out.



Your spot on ! I’ve taken off my inner covers completely n storing them in my warm dry woodshop then opened/lifted the outer tops n added gaps between supers.

Thankz Michael n everyone. Being an amateur Wx guy I know moisture rises … I thought with the open inner cover n slight lifted lid I was GOOD ! No SO ! It’s a recycled learning curve mistake hopeful I have learned n stored between my ears :wink: ! We have yet a new Wx system with bountiful WET n teeth due in later Wednesday. This has been a new record WET Winter for Puget Sound n difficult forage time for our local bee population.

Cheers everyone n Michael.

here a couple pix’s n I’ve open the hives even more now to get trapped condensation n moisture out. Rain seems to be staying out even with this hive body separations. :ok_hand: