Replacing old frames

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Do224

Drone Bee
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How/when do people replace their brood frames?

Assuming you start a new hive with all foundation, so all frames are the same age. What should be the protocol for preventing frames from getting too old over the coming years?
 
How/when do people replace their brood frames?
when they need replacing, which will all depend on how chewed up/manky the comb gets. Let's get away from this 'beekeeping by rote' so obsessively followed by the dark side.
 
In a sense one doesn't have to replace old comb, simply cut away all but a small amount at the top to act as a starter strip and they will with a good flow build their own new comb.
I don't carry fames of foundation or drawn with me but do carry various plastic bags in my kit , if I open a colony to find manky comb I will simply do the above.

If replacing comb do so because of comb condition rather then just because of age.
 
Ok, understood. I haven’t replaced any frames up to now but some of mine are coming into their fourth summer so thought I should maybe consider it.

What am I looking for specifically…just ‘manky’? Does it matter how dark they are or is that fine as long as they look in good shape?

I was under the impression that the queen would start turning her nose up at more and more cells, the older the comb gets…
 
if its in good shape it doesnt matter (imho) how dark although its a good sign of it getting on and i find the darker the comb, the harder to see eggs

but various things qualify in what experience will see you label as 'manky', i find comb can start to recede from the edges and therefore the overall area shrink, cells can break down to the original foundation which bees wont necessarily re build leaving patches etc
 
Does it matter how dark they are or is that fine as long as they look in good shape?
Rough guide:
Hobnob: 2-3 more years.
Conker: 1-2 more years.
Liquorice: no more years.

Of more practical interest, watch which comb bees prefer to work best. I find that they love new wax, whether foundation, starter strips or comb they've rebuilt in place of old.

As you're now running colonies on double brood you will find that in spring the bottom box is likely to have combs with old pollen, mouldy comb at the outside, perhaps moused comb.

Keep the best, put down from the top box a few better stores frames (to the outside), add a few foundations to the edge of brood nests in both boxes, and reassemble. In other words, a bit of mix'n'match, rather than fixed protocol.
 
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I hold the empty frame up to the sun and if I can't see light through it I bin it.
Seem to have waited six months for enough sun to do this. The days we had some sun it was too cold and when warm enough it was dull - just can't win so far this year but the bees are doing OK - amazingly.
 
Seem to have waited six months for enough sun to do this. The days we had some sun it was too cold and when warm enough it was dull - just can't win so far this year but the bees are doing OK - amazingly.
weather not good enough for inspection but fine for expansion within hive can be a problem in early spring
 
IIRC @Into the lions den discussed a five year rotation of brood frames as part of a disease prevention plan for foul broods some years ago. Frames had a year stamp, so could be pulled and the wax melted out before being rewired. Good advice for anyone in an area with recurrent foul brood .
 
I write the year on the frames with permanent pen - then each spring if I spot a dodgy looking frame I take it out if not full of brood or stores / then I usually add the new frame to the outside of the colony they can find it when ready - dont like splitting colony in half in spring with a new frame of foundation.
 
Did just that last week to several strong nucs (took a frame of sealed brood out of each). Today the foundation is all drawn and laid.

To donate the brood to weaker colonies? Or to slow down the nucs? Or something else?
 
slow down the nucs
This, especially, and given to another nuc & a colony. If I'd left the big nucs a few more days they'd be in swarm mode.

Also chucked out two Q- nucs onto a board up to the entrance of a Q+ slower nuc; hairdryer hum was good to hear. Rained, and they really told me to go away, but I got it done.
 
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I too put on the frame the year when it was made up. Rarely does that relate to when it's condition tells me it needs pulling
That's irrelevant to the practice I brought up. It was / is part of a simple sensible disease control plan from a commercial beekeeper trying to avoid a standstill or destruction notice in a hot spot area. I too use it as a guide, and some frames don't go into circulation on the year they are waxed so it will always be a judgement call.
However, with 44 confirmed cases of foul brood confirmed (hives) in Devon last year (NBU figures - rough split between AFB & EFB) I think I'd be doing all I could to avoid a bonfire in the worst case scenario
 
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