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Old wired frames

I am in the process of cleaning up a lot of my older wired frames(40).
They used to have wax foundation and some of them still have the old foundation.
However the ants and moths got into them so I put the frames in the freezer for a couple of days to kill anything that may have been alive.
I am now removing all the old remains of the wax foundation and any residue wax on the frames.
My question, If I leave the wires on the frames, fit starting strips to the top bar of the frames, will the bees build new comb from the starting strip and around the wires or should I remove the wires and let the build comb from the starting strip without the wires ?
I would appreciate any comment

I let my ladies build without wire, only the guide rail at the top. It has worked out really well for me.

Not sure though, if it gets really hot there it may be a good idea to have wire for comb support during inspection. Would hate for there to be a misshapening of comb, brood, and honey in the dirt.

Edit: guess I could have looked at your location. :man_facepalming:. You should be fine with foundationless frames. Just remember that the comb is very pliable. If you turn it on its side it can bend and break. You can turn them upside down to inspect the back sides of the frames easier, you just have to turn it in a fashion that keeps the comb vertical.

You can leave the wires in. The bees will work it out. :wink:

If you haven’t already cut all the comb out you could probably leave a small strip of the comb they already had at the top of the frame as a starter strip.

Thanks to @Wizard, @Dawn_SD, @chau06 for your comments.
I will do as Dawn suggested and leave the wires on.
I have fitted starting strips to the top bar of the frames to help the bees make a start.
I am in favour of the bees drawing their own comb, as suggested by flow.

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I totally agree with @Dawn_SD , the bees will work it out. However the finished product wont be as good as how the bees build on properly fitted wax foundation.

Thanks @JeffH One other question, some of the frames had wax moths on them after I stored them in a plastic bin with a lid. Somehow the moths got in there and finished up with moth webs over the old comb. I put all the affected frames in the freezer for a few days. I took them out this morning and all the moths and cocoons are dead. Will it be safe to completely clean the frames and use them again.




Thanks @Dawn_SD I will go ahead and clean them up then reuse them again. Cheers

Yes for sure George, I don’t do anything like freezing etc. I scrape them clean with a blunt stiff fishing knife, before fitting fresh foundation. The cut-out wax gets recycled.

My recent strategy has been to let the bees draw the comb in honey supers, where they are less fussy about any bare wire. Then after I extract the honey, the beautifully drawn worker comb stickies can be put into brood boxes, if needed, where the bees will clean them up ready for the queen to start laying.

Sometimes, no matter how good I think I fit the foundation, the bees can mess them up in the brood box. That’s why I find it best to let the bees draw them in honey supers. Then if the bees do mess them up, it wont matter, because they are not in the brood box.

Hi @JeffH That is great advise, I never thought of doing that. Could I do the following configuration.
Bottom : Brood box with QX
Middle : Box with cleaned up frames
Top : Flow box ( with flow frames)
At the moment the hive, brood and Flow, are 100% packed with bees.
If I adopt the above configuration I could save the frames in the middle box, providing they are drawn and with honey, and use them for winter stores after I have drained the flow box and stored it for winter.
What do you think, will that work ? Cheers

Hi George, I think that would work.
It’s just not something that I would do myself, on account that the resources used to draw & fill those frames will be drawn away from filling the Flow frames.
Plus I like a single brood - single honey super configuration.
As winter draws nearer, the bees constrict the brood, replacing it with honey, which coupled with good insulation should be enough to keep them going through winter, without an extra full depth super of honey.
@skeggley would be a good bloke to talk to in relation to over wintering in Perth.


Hi George sounds like you’ve worked your way into beekeeping with ease.
I think wax moth eggs are laid on pretty much every frame in a hive and we only see them mature when the frames are removed from the hive and the bees can’t control them which is why it’s good practice to freeze the frames before storing them.
I totally agree with Jeff, one brood box per colony where possible with the super removed over winter. Whenever I leave a super on over winter it’s always still full at the end of winter suggesting winter forage is no problem. Summer up here is when I find extra feed is useful but that’s because of the native flora dependence whereas I’ve helped friends harvest down the hill at the same time I’ve been in dearth times and this is the only reason I use 2 brood boxes and if I was savvy I’d feed which would increase my harvest because they wouldn’t need to refill the 2nd box before filling the Flow super.

Hi @skeggley Thanks very much for your detailed reply. I still have a lot to learn. I was thinking of a second box on top of the brood box with the QX in between. Just have empty frames in the 2nd box ant then the flow box on top. I thought if the bees could build comb in the 2nd box and fill some frames with honey. I would then be able to remove the frames with honey and store them in the freezer then to be used to feed the bees over winter.
I would also remove the flow box over winter.
I realise that the bees will take a while to build out the frames in the 2nd box so it is probably too late to do this now.
What do you think, I may be over doing it in our climate. I am in Wanneroo on a 1 acre block, plenty Marri trees and wild flowers in spring. There are also a lot of gardens around us. Cheers

Hi mate, it’s a trade off between having extra stores and having extra space to condition. What you are suggesting is what I do but I don’t remove the 2 box I move the qx up before winter and down before spring. Ideally I try to keep brood out of the 2nd box but…. I use an 8frame brood and the 2nd is WSP. I don’t run 10 frame boxes and my method may be unnecessary if I did.
I think @SnowflakeHoney is near you so he’d be a better judge of area however I think I’ve seen that he needed to feed last season so…
I also recommend wax foundation in the brood box.

Hi @skeggley Thanks for you valuable reply.
Much appreciated. Cheers

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