How To Deal With Frame After Honey Extraction
After the completion of your honey extraction process, you are left with frames that are coated in sticky, gooey honey both in the cells and on the frame surfaces. In addition, there might be some crystallized honey present in certain cells, along with traces of pollen. It is essential to clean up this mess effectively to ensure that when you store the supers containing these frames for the winter, they remain in a safe and pristine condition, regardless of your winter location. In this article, we will explore various methods for dealing with these wet combs, ensuring their cleanliness and facilitating easy storage throughout the winter season.
One of the most common approaches beekeepers employ is to place the frames back into the supers that were just harvested and then reattach the supers onto the hives. By doing so, the bees have the opportunity to clean up the honey residues within a few days, resulting in clean, dry frames that are no longer sticky. However, it is important to note that this method may not always yield consistent results.
Alternatively, some beekeepers opt to set the just-extracted supers outside, allowing the bees to clean them naturally. While this approach may seem convenient, it is accompanied by potential issues that you may want to avoid. For instance, robbing can occur, where bees from other colonies attempt to steal the honey, leading to conflicts and potential diseases being transmitted. Therefore, it is advisable to consider alternative methods to mitigate these risks.
Once the bees have cleaned the bee frames, they will be free from stickiness, dry, and devoid of honey. However, the question arises regarding the crystallized honey and the cleaning process itself. Furthermore, concerns regarding wax moth infestation and the presence of small hive beetles need to be addressed.
To begin with, the crystallized honey present in the frames can be dealt with by using various techniques. Some beekeepers prefer to scrape off the crystallized honey manually, ensuring that the frames are completely clean before storage. Others utilize methods such as gently heating the frames to melt the crystallized honey, making it easier to remove. It is crucial to handle the bee frames with care during this process to prevent any damage.
When it comes to cleaning the frames, the bees play a significant role. Once the honey has been consumed, the bees meticulously clean the cells, ensuring that no remnants are left behind. This process involves the bees using their tongues to lick the cells clean and removing any remaining traces of honey. The bees’ innate cleaning behavior guarantees that the frames are thoroughly cleaned before storage.
However, storing the now-clean supers presents its own set of challenges that need to be addressed before finalizing the storage location. In regions with colder climates, unheated storage is often a viable option since pests such as wax moths and small hive beetles do not thrive in cold environments. However, in heated buildings or warmer regions, alternative precautions must be taken to safeguard the supers from these pests.
Some beekeepers choose to keep the supers on the bees throughout the winter as a means of pest control. By allowing the bees to inhabit the supers, they can protect the frames from infestations. However, it is important to monitor the hives regularly to ensure that the bees are adequately maintaining the supers and keeping the pests at bay.
In conclusion, honey extraction can be a messy process, leaving you with wet and sticky frames that require thorough cleaning and safe storage for the winter season. It is crucial to adopt effective strategies to ensure the cleanliness of the frames and prevent any potential pest infestations. Whether you choose to rely on the bees’ natural cleaning abilities or employ manual cleaning methods, the ultimate goal is to have frames that are free from stickiness, thoroughly cleaned, and ready for storage. Consider the specific challenges posed by your winter location and take appropriate measures to maintain the integrity of your beekeeping equipment.