Protecting the Supers During Winter

During the winter time, when the supers are in storage and not on the hive, it's important to protect them.

When supers are on the hive, the bees do an excellent job at keeping pests away, including wax moths. Event if you store your supers in what you'd consider an air tight container, you'd be surprised (and upset) to find out that moths may have found a way in just as you're preparing to dig the supers out of storage to use them in the spring.

One of the popular choices to protect supers during the winter time is called Moth Crystals that contain Paradichlorobenzene (PDB).

Moth Crystals

The PDB crystals (NOT MOTH BALLS) are crystals, and will evaporate into gas over winter. If your container is not air tight, the gas will escape and will not offer continued protection over the long winter months.

Using the directions on the package, and calculating the cubic feet of a single medium super to be approx 1.4 cubic feet, I used 0.5 ounce of crystals placed on a piece of cardboard on top of the frames and then wrapped the super in a bag and tied it shut.

Moth Crystals on hive

Alternatively, place the crystals into an old sock, tie it shut and place it on the top bars.

In the spring time, simply open the container, and allow the supers a day or two to air out.

Because the PDB turns to a gas and will leave once the container is open, it's not supposed to leave any residue in the wax.

The EMBA club highly recommends it, and so does my mentor.

This year I've experimented with different inner covers, feeders, syrup mixes, organic mite control methods, etc. so I'm always open to new ideas.

Do you protect your supers during the winter? If so, what do you recommend to protect them from wax moths? Leave your suggestions or experience in the comments below!

Comments For This Post: (3) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Mark says...
Date:   September 7, 2011, 11:57 am

Are you finding the moths/larvae in the air tight containers because they already had moth larvae on the frames when they were stored or do you think they are actually able to sneak into the "air tight" containers?

Linda T says...
Date:   September 7, 2011, 8:31 pm

Wax moth eggs are present in the frames all the time.  You can't see the eggs.  Once the bees are not patrolling the hives - either the hive is weak or you've got frames stored without bees, then the wax moth larvae take over.  Leaving frames out in the freezing weather will kill the eggs without using poison - or in the bright sunlight.  

Linda's Bees

Chris (Show Me the Honey) says...
Date:   September 7, 2011, 8:37 pm

Thanks for the info Linda! Now knowing that wax moth eggs are present all the time, I'm glad I didn't wait very long between taking the supers off the hive, and preparing them for storage!

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