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When to reuse drawn comb frames and frames with honey


Rough ideas please when to reuse the 8 frames of drawn out comb from brood box (all empty with some varroa evidence) as well as 8 frames of capped honey all of which is from my hive that died in January.


Hiya Cowgirl, I can’t see why you couldn’t split the frames and put them in the hive when you transfer the colonys from the nuc boxes. I’d imagine drawn frames and some stores early could only be a good thing.
Hopefully someone who actually knows what they are talking about chimes in! :blush:



This is Gerald up here near Seattle. Lost two double deep 10 frame Langstroth to the mites last Autumn just a bit earlier than you. I have four 5 frame Nuc’s ordered for early Spring delivery.

I’m installing two of the Nuc’s to the two die-outs. I will install the other two Nuc’s to two brand new 8 frame hives I built this winter. I used some of last autumns honey supply to fortify my last Falls colonies. The leftover honeycomb with honey I’ll add a couple frames to each of the four new startup hives ( 2 older n 2 brand new). I’d also use if I were you some of the drawn out empty comb to give your new hive a faster jump start because they don’t have to built out so much comb.
Just a thot: you might provide one or two foundation or foundation less two give the new Nuc’s something to do immediately if you have plenty of Spring forage. I’m always trying some new thot or idea (taking good log notes on each colony)… I’m going to use my extra super drawn comb but toss in a couple single foundationless frames sandwiched between two already drawn as a helpful guide so I don’t get side comb.

Just some thots for you to chew on in your apiary. I like to get the drawn wax back in service so there’s less chance of wax moths laying eggs in the stored extra waxy spare frames.

Hope this helps !! Skeggley seems to have verified basicly the same ideas. Good luck n enjoy.



I just installed 2 nuclei last weekend and so perhaps I can tell you what I did.

We got two 5-frame nuclei. They each consisted of 2 frames of brood (about 60% capped), one totally empty frame of drawn comb, and 2 frames with some uncapped honey and pollen. Not the strongest nuclei I have ever seen. I therefore raided our existing strong hive and stole one frame of honey, one beautiful frame of brood and one frame of drawn comb. I put the honey on the outside of the nucleus, the brood in the middle of the existing brood nest and the drawn comb next to the honey.

Last year, our supplier gave us nuclei with 2 frames of pollen/honey and 3 frames stuffed to the hilt with brood. The transport box weighed about 30-35 pounds with the frames in it! For those nuclei, as they were already strong, I probably would have given them one more frame of honey and two empty frames. I would put the honey up against the hive wall, and the empty frames on the outside of the brood nest. As it was at that time, I didn’t have any frames of honey, brood or drawn comb, so I couldn’t have done that. :blush:

So in summary, I would assess the strength of the nuclei when they arrive. If there are lots of food stores, use one extra frame of honey and 2 of empty comb. If your supplier gives you a nuc with empty frames in it (quite common), consider giving 2 frames of honey and one of empty comb. You will then have 10 frames remaining - mix of empty and capped honey. When you get to the stage of adding a second brood box, I would put the empty comb in the middle, honey at the outside and fill the rest of the space with 3 more frames (foundation or foundationless) between the honey and empty comb.

This is not the only way to do it, and others may have better ideas, but at least it gives you a possible plan to build on.


OK, hard to answer as I don’t have a good mental image of your hive. One brood box and one “super” = one deep and one medium or two deeps? No queen excluder, I am guessing. I would imagine that your locals overwinter hives in 2 deeps.

Now, not everyone will agree with me, but I always let the hive build up enough stores for the next winter before I add a super for extraction. So in your situation, I would let the bees fill 2 deeps with brood and stores before adding the Flow super. I would not remove the second deep, just leave it on. If the bees need space, they will use the Flow super, especially if you have waxed it. :wink:


I kinda doubt that, with your snow. I would guesstimate that your hives will need 50-70lb to survive the winter = 2 deeps, allowing for a mix of brood and pollen in some frames. Not saying it can’t be done, but if you have single boxes, you are going to have to feed for sure. If you aren’t a commercial beekeeper wanting every cent you can get from honey, surely it is better to let the bees have their own honey? :blush:

Sure you do! You wrote it in a post above. :wink: When your 2 deeps are 80% full of brood or food, and totally covered with bees, you put your Flow super on top. You now have a 3 deep box hive. Easy peasy. :smile: You can do this - it doesn’t have to be complicated, just breathe steadily and take a shot at it… :wink: :smile: :heart_eyes:


In my humble opinion, you are in a triple brood box area.

You’re going to have one more deep freeze (tonight) and then Spring is going to kick in. I’d get those unused deep frames on the hive by the weekend along with a feeder kept full of 1:1 syrup followed by another deep brood box with frames/foundation and move the feeder to the top of that. Once that box is 7/8’s full of resources, remove the feeder and add the honey supers because you should be entering the mega honey flow.
In our area, the flow is super strong but short. Make sure you have the boxes available to take advantage.



OMG!!! @Red_Hot_Chilipepper suggesting feeding now!!! Better listen hard and think hard, he is pretty good at overwintering bees in a very similar climate. :wink:


@Cowgirl , I agree with @Gerald_Nickel . I think if you can put some new frames in to have the bee’s rebuild some new comb that would be a good thing. In the end it will help you have some built comb if you need frames to do a split or catch a swarm, etc.


I always put it over. My reasoning is they seem to prefer moving up, away from the entrance, especially here where it may get cold at night. Probably doesn’t matter though once the feed is on, they’re going to expand in any direction that’s available. In my top bar and other horizontal hives, I add room to the side of the brood nest and they do just fine.


I put a brood deep under the existing if I want the queen to lay in it, because she likes moving down in an established hive during the nectar flow season. I would put a box on top of the existing if I want honey stored in it, as bees generally like to store honey above the brood. Just clarifying. :blush:



I’m going to experiment with one of my new 8 frame (double) deeps hives this year. I’m seriously thinking of semi-checker boarding/alternating drawn comb frames n foundationless frames. The combed frames would act like a building/plume line for the bees to go by on either side of the empty foundation frames. What I’m trying for us keeping the bees from building weird side comb n waisting wax n effort !

I read n heard that some people use foundation because it is a bit smaller cell size to help prevent or at least reduce mite count a % … I wanted to reread that study but can’t seem to find that info again. I’m not trying foundation to be a puriest … That’s not my total bent/leaning in life.

I’d like to build up to a full board/super quality if foundationless frames to have one

. hive to experiment with to see if there is ANY REAL evidence to this thot … What the heck … It will give me data. I’d like to use with a hive that had a monitor/sensor package on it so I can see data (temperature/humidity/weight) wise if it makes any notiable change or difference. I guess that’s to curiosity side of me ! :grinning: :exclamation: Any thoughts !!! Anyone else out there give me your two bits also. My apiary is already part of a small college research group seeing what treatment n wintering technics work best for us here in Puget Sound.

I know the moisture Quilts I used on my three surviving hives seemed to be good n I’ll use them to help rid all my colonies of condensate this coming winter.

. The commercial beekeeper I work with uses the pictured gray absorbent pads.

Here’s a couple more pix’s … My wood Nuc’s are all ready if I have splits to make or collect swarms.

I just flipped my Flow-hive boxes n the double 5 frame Nuc next to it ( Dawn is leaving the brood above n seems to be working for her).

Here’s a couple extra pix’s of my Flow-hive n the monitor.

. Below are a couple planning notes I might try ! . I’m a visual learning so always scratching some ideas n thots on paper…

Got to go now. My main septic line between the house n tank are clogged. Bummer !! Had to wash two loads of clothing the old fashion way or buy more … So I got the pans out n went to it !!

Cheers bro. Chat again later,


No problem Cowgirl:
Now here are my pics that have absolutely nothing to do with this thread.


Looks like someone enjoyed their St Patrick’s day! :smile: At least it was close to the first day of spring, and that is relevant to beekeeping! :grin:



Remember, we are close but you may not be as warm as I am yet (not sure exactly where you are in PA). We’re to see near 70 by Saturday and then a lot of mid 60’s for the next couple of weeks. The bees need the syrup to stay 55-60 or above.


Cowgirl !

Sounds like a good idea ! Not sure how blogs work ! At 72 years I’m a bit new to all this internet stuff !

Until I figure something else … I’ll try to refrain from most pix posting. I really do appreciate your thots n note …,

Cheers n thanks my friend,
Gerald :+1:


No problem young lady ! I always appreciate criticing of what I do in life n beekeeping ! Feedback helps me improve n learn ! Keep it coming … I’m always messing up or going overboard. Just ASK my sweetheart. Have a great Thursday n again I DO appreciate all my dear friends thots n comments :+1::exclamation:

Ta Ta,


@Gerald_Nickel I checker boarded my hive last summer when the first brood box was over 80% full. I hit it just right because I did it and then went away for ten days. When I got back and did an inspection the top box was close to 80% full. So it did work but timing had a lot to it working out well. I used frames with wired wax in them and placed them between full frames of comb.


I have been off awhile and jumped in to this conversation and got to the end and I think I went through this with my first hive also but no winter. Now here I am reading this and I was going to add my medium box tomorrow to my new hive which is a 7 frame cut out in my 8 frame deep box. They are starting to work on the 8th frame. I am going to add my med box with new frames. This time I have some with wax. Now I remember I need to put that on the bottom and then when it fills 75%. I can add the super? If we are in a flowering situation? Yes ? No? It is spring and everything is blooming and Jan Feb is our winter…

Then, I have to frames of comb from my old hive that survived my shb/wax moth detestation. could I put those in a second hive box I have and try to put lure on them to try to entice bees. I am not sure if it will help or should I melt it down?


Note: did you freeze those infected framed before reusing ? I would high recommend freezing to kill any eggs or hidden Beatles or Moth larva before reusing … Then the use of the drawn comb might be good idea.

As for the placement of medium super … I usually set mine over brood n Dawn places hers under if I remember correct. Your choice !