Dump Box - where to store removed frames ?

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Jul 18, 2011
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sarf london/surrey
Hive Type
Number of Hives
5 hives
Thanks to a poster today for pointing me at a link which discussed using a 'dump box'

That thread lead me to this pdf and all credit to Wally Shaw.

Sounds like a good option to store frames that are taken out of circulation during a demarree etc


full pdf here


dump box contents here


Dump Boxes

A dump box is an empty box (deep or shallow) that is placed on top of the supers
on a hive in the apiary. But which hive (or hives) should be used? Since some of
the frames that are going to be placed in the dump box will contain brood, it is
useful to select a hive that would benefit from the consequent boost of bee numbers (providing you are sure that there is not some more sinister reason why the
colony needs a boost). In an apiary containing 8 hives it may be necessary to
have more than one dump box to accommodate all the frames that you have targeted for replacement. Dump boxes can be left part filled with frames if there is
not a big nectar flow in progress but it is best to position them to one side of the
box and place a dummy board against the frame next to the gap. If you forget to
fill the box and there is a strong nectar flow, the worst that will happen is that the
bees will build wild comb in the void. But this is easily cut out and crushed to extract the honey which, incidentally, can be lovely and clear and give you some
good honey for showing.

Using a dump box it is possible to remove frames for replacement that have useful contents, ie. either brood or sealed and unsealed stores (or a mixture of all
three), which you do not want to waste. In due course brood will emerge and the
bees will fill the vacated cells with honey and the box will become a honey super.
The same will happen to frames containing pollen or unwanted stores (or a mixture of the two); the empty cells will be used to store honey which can be extracted at the end of the season. After extraction the better frames can be put
back into circulation and poor ones can be cleaned-up ready for re-waxing next

Moving brood from a hive and re-locating it in the dump box also provides a
measure of swarm prevention because this is exactly what is done in one of the
oldest swarm prevention methods, the Demaree; except, in this case, the frames
of brood are normally put to the top of the hive from which they came.
A contra-indication for the use of a dump box is if disease is present or has recently been a problem in the apiary. Under these circumstances no combs should
be moved from hive to hive – certainly not brood combs and preferably not super combs.
Another precaution that has to be observed is the possible production of queen
cells in the dump box. When moving brood combs to the top of a hive, where
they are at some distance from the queen which is below the excluder at the
bottom of the hive, there is always the risk that the nurse bees that move up to
tend the brood will consider themselves queen-less and start emergency queen
cells. The more supers there are between the queen at the bottom of the hive
and the dump box at the top, the more likely are queen cells to be produced. If
this situation were allowed to develop unchecked I am not sure what would happen. The virgin queen at the top of the hive would be unable to get out and mate
- unless there were unauthorised exits above the queen excluder (which, let’s
face it, does happen). This could result in you inadvertently getting a two queen
colony which would be interesting! Probably the queen would just die a lonely
spinster but I suppose an undetected queen roaming about above the queen
excluder might induce a swarm or cause the death of the incumbent queen – but
I have not seen anything like that happen (yet). I do not want to over-emphasis
this potential problem, as queen cells are rarely produced in my experience but
it does pay to check this after 5-7 days and obviously destroy any that are seen.