From what I have read, frames are cycled out when they are getting old. 2 questions. What do you do with those old frames? Melt down the wax? Secondly, if I use foundationless frames, I could just cut the old comb off and reuse the frame right?
Depends on the condition of the wood. If it is good, yes, I just remove the old comb and render it. If it is rickety and has wax moth holes in it, I throw it out, or use it for smoker fuel.
Same answer as above. Just be sure that you are not re-using a frame from a diseased hive (chalkbrood etc). Of course AFB affected frames should never be re-used and I wouldn’t render the wax either, unless it had bee irradiated first.
If you want to be extra-safe, you can scorch the frames carefully with a blow torch before re-using.
My dad got frames that must be over 15 years old and still being re-used. Some others only seem to last much less. If they are sound and no risk of transmitting pests and diseases, keep on using.
How about if I use foundationless frames for honeycomb? After cutting the honeycomb out, do I need to clean it, wash it to reuse?
Not unless it looks really mouldy or otherwise unwholesome. The bees will tidy up whatever you do, and washing it makes it harder for them to smell “home” on the frames.
Thank you Dawn. So much to learn while waiting for spring to get some bees