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Storing standard frames over winter - looking for ideas?

It has been a very poor season here in SA. At the start of spring I put two supers on most of my hives. Now I am preparing for winter and about to remove the second super and harvest what honey is there. I will have a lot of regular drawn combs - and am trying to find out some different ideas for storing them over winter. Freezing them all is not an option- though I can freeze them all for a few days to kill any wax moth eggs. Wax Moth is my enemy- what are my options for storing the frames over winter?

I have heard people say they wrap them in plastic- but have also heard other people say wax moth will eat right through that? Do any forum users store significant amounts of frames over winter and how do you go about it? A penny for your thoughts.

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After trying a few different options I now freeze them for between 3-5 days after the last harvest, loosely wrap them in glad wrap or slide them into a large plastic freezer bag (left open) to help contain any residue honey, and then put them in a large clear plastic tub I got from Bunnings. The largest tub can hold 6 frames.

Last year I also threw a few desiccant sachets in to the tub that I picked up for a couple of dollars from eBay and had no issues with mould etc.

It all stays like that until I’m ready next season. No issues at all. Only time I had a wax moth issue was when I didn’t bother freezing a traditional frame I was storing for a few weeks. Never had a wax moth issue on my FF.

… And it’s been a bloody disappointing season for me too…

Edits: blasted autocorrect…

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Hey Jack, sorry you had a bum season. I have limited storage here too, and like Alan I cycle frames through my deep freezer and then they go back into the boxes. Then I stack the boxes in my shed with a sheet of parchment paper between each and on top & bottom, and cover the stack/s with lids. Haven’t had any problem with ants mice or moths. Round about now I do get nervous that critters are going to find these before I have a chance to use them :sweat_smile:

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how cold does it get in your winter? I have seen in the USA a lot of people can simply hang frames up in a barn or garage and they are OK. Moths are not active in freezing conditions. We have milder winters in much of australia and moths can still be active.

Hi Jack, I don’t have a specific answer to your question. However I can share my strategy over the last 18 months & that is to cut the comb out of any honey frames (after extraction) that I wouldn’t want to put back into a brood box, or that I wouldn’t want to include in a nuc that I sell. If you had a lot of frames like that, & you were going to adopt a similar strategy, you could cut them out before winter, ready to put fresh foundation in prior to spring.

The main strategy I’d recommend would be to use single honey supers. Then the problem wont be so bad into the future.

I do almost the same as @Eva, except that I wrap my boxes in hessian (burlap) after freezing the frames. We have pretty warm winters - rarely below 10°C. If I freeze the frames, I don’t have a problem with wax moths or SHB.

Would sulphur dioxide treatment be acceptable to you?

i would certainly cut out and render any combs that are no good. It’s just I have some very nice stickies- newly drawn this season. This season I tried out two supers or a super and an ideal- as I am following on what my friend does in Sydney with her 90 hives. However here in Adelaide this year it was such a poor season I would have been way better off with just a single box on all hives. My friend gets at least double or more the honey- I think she averages maybe 70kg’s per hive per year. She doesn’t think she could get away with a single box- partly because she couldn’t harvest them all regularly enough- and when good flow is on they can fill two boxes pretty fast. She has hives on top of hotel roofs, in the botanic gardens- all spread over sydney. Her sites are from 4 to 12 hives per site. Also she runs a total barrier system and only puts stickies back onto the hive they came from. She also doesn’t move brood around between hives. There seems to be quite a lot of AFB in Sydney so she is super careful. here in Adelaide I have never heard of anyone I know having AFB and I’ve yet to see it.

@Dawn_SD I think Ill try similar this winter- I’ll have to buy a chest freezer just for the wax moth egg killing.

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Winters here do get cold, with many consecutive nights and sometimes days below freezing. No insects are alive above ground or outside of their Langstroth boxes :wink:

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My local DIY store in the UK sells 146ltr storage boxes on wheels. Holds 12 frames. ÂŁ16 each. Width is just perfect fir the frames to sit on and the lid fits snuggly over the top and its air tight.

Homemade version of a hive butler. Store them in my garden shed. Sub zero winters helps keep the frames free from bugs.

2 seasons with no wax moth or mould

Hiya Jack, I know that Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) variety Aizawai is used successfully in the US on comb however this particular strain is no longer available here in Oz.
Kurstaki is the Bt variety in the garden products here (Dipel) and not effective on wax moth.
If you are able to find a source supplying Aizawai please let me know.
Thanks.

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This stuff?

I’m assuming this is deadly to wax moth but okay to bees and humans???

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Thanks mate, kudos to your google skills.:+1:
From another forum;

Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies aizawai that is manufactured specifically for wax moth control in stored comb. The material is formulated to kill young wax moth larvae as they attempt to feed on comb and must be used as a preventive before combs are infested. B401 leaves no residue on comb and it is harmless to bees and humans. Some other strains of Bacillus thuringiensis are toxic to bees and humans , so beekeepers must resist the temptation of using other BT products.

As the product has a shelf life I’d be looking for a smaller quantity, <100gms, and will email them to see if this is available and if it ships to us here in Wait Awhile.

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Thanks. Never heard of this before. If you get some and use it for storage let me know how it goes!

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also never heard of these biological pesticides. Just did a little reading found some contradictory information about that aizawai strain- will do more reading.

This page says that strain is toxic to bees:

http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/btgen.html

upon further reading I found that that strain was toxic to bees when added to their feed. Anecdotally Beekeepers say that it isn’t when applied to comb for storage… I’ll have to keep reading…

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Hi Jack, I just had a thought: What if you freeze the frames for a few days as originally intended, then sit the frames in bee boxes on an upside down migratory lid, then with another lid on top before wrapping all the joins with packaging tape. In the absence of migratory lids, ply or masonite cut to size would do.

i had though of trying something like that too jeff. Then storing in a shed where it as cold as possible. I wonder if there couldn’t be eggs in my boxes though- as I won’t have frozen the actual woodware?

If you had a heat gun, or something like that, you could treat the boxes beforehand. I wonder how visible wax moth eggs are? I know hive beetle eggs stand out like DBs. I think with a good scraping, which never goes astray anyway, followed by a heat gun, I think you should be right.

What’s the worse that can happen? You might have to render some comb out of frames before fitting fresh foundation.

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@Semaphore Jack, Please let me/us know what you learn from your research.

Yeah, most products of used incorrectly can have negative effects.
Couple of links;
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeswaxmoths.htm