Preparations for Spring Split

The empty hive stand you've been seeing in the pictures next to the blue/purple hive is about to be put to use again!

Last fall we combined the failing white hive with one of the hives at my dad's house. The boxes and frames have been stored in the garage all winter.

I ordered a new, hygienic queen from the local club with the intent to make a split from the blue/purple hive and revive the white hive. She's scheduled to arrive this Saturday.

I pulled the white hive's boxes and foundation out of storage, and gave a fresh coat of paint to the boxes. That's them sitting on the ground in the picture below.

I was given a new set of 20 deep frames and foundation from my dad, so I'm taking the extra purple/white boxes seen on the right side of the picture above and prepping them in-case I get lucky and catch a swarm.

I've read it's a good idea to take 3-4 of the oldest frames in each box out each year and replace them with new clean frames. Replacing a few each year will help remove old comb and keep fresh comb in the hive.

I picked out 3 plastic frames (that came with my nuc last year) and one old wooden frame. All four had old dark comb that was used in the brood boxes to raise bees in.

The foundation in each of the frames is raised cell plastic foundation. This means I should be able to scrape off old wax and re-apply a thin layer of new wax on the foundation already stamped with the cell pattern, and see if the bees will draw the wax out.

I collected the wax from the four frames in a bag, and will put it through the solar wax melter to see how much wax I can reclaim and use to repaint the foundation.

I plan to use these re-coated frames with a swarm (if I catch one). I'd plan to feed the swarm sugar syrup to help get them drawing out wax, and I am thinking it would help encourage them to use my rebuilt frames without hesitation.

Questions For The Readers: Has anyone scraped off old comb and reapplied wax to re-use foundation?

Should I use a foam roller or a paint brush to apply new wax?

Do I need to use hot water to melt the rest of the wax off the foundation (bottom of the cells) or just apply new wax on top of it?

Finally, if you have re-coated foundations before, did the bees accept the frames and draw the wax out or did they ignore the frames and not draw them out?

Comments For This Post: (1) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Holly says...
Date:   April 2, 2012, 5:09 pm

All very good questions.  My guess is that they will begin wax building (without you doing any extra work besides just scraping off the old wax) because the frames and foundation will have remnants of wax still on them even after you have scraped them.  Working with wax is also a messy job even with the boiling water method (definitely do it outside in the grass somewhere away from the hives).  I have only used a paint brush when dealing with wax (and I've used it several times).  I would think a roller would get gunked up with wax and may not be usable again once the wax hardens.  If you're worried about them drawing out wax, I've been told to spray the frames with sugar water.

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