Are you wondering what method is best for storing frame and foundation? If YES, here are 4 best ways to store frame for beekeeping.
First and foremost, every beehive uses frames to let the bees draw comb. Langstroth beehives, for instance, come with rectangular frames, most of which feature foundation. Meanwhile, the foundation is a layer that positions inside the beehive frame.
It is used to guide bees on where they will build comb and the size of the cells they will build. They are known to help avert the challenges that come with cross-comb.
There are two materials used to make beehive frames. One is wood and the other is plastic. Wooden frames are primarily made with pine. Pine is a natural wood that bees like. Although plastic frames are lighter than wooden frames, they last long since they do not rot but may warp when exposed to high temperatures.
In the same vein, there are two general types of foundations available to beekeepers. One is the wax foundation and the plastic foundation. Note that these two general types may be given different names by manufacturers. The names given may specify the cell sizes that the foundation will guide bees to build.
Wax foundations are known to require embedding to offer more strength. Wax foundations are more or less used with wooden frames, while plastic foundations used on beehive frames tend to be easy to install and stronger than wax foundations.
One of the most challenging tasks facing a beekeeper is storing empty wax frames over winter. Note that this applies to any frames that are filled with honeycomb but no longer have honey inside. Frames filled with “drawn comb” are very important.
The honey bee colony tends to invest a good amount of time and energy into building comb, and since empty frames of honeycomb can be reused next season, finding a proper storage place for your wax comb is paramount.
Best Ways to Store Honey Frames and Foundation for Beekeeping?
Immediately the honey supers are removed from the hive, the bees are not around to guide the comb and remove moth eggs or larva. Note that the job falls to you – the beekeeper. To effectively protect and store frames and foundations for beekeeping, here are strategies to consider.
Freezing for Storage
If you have just a few frames to store, the refrigerator is a perfect option to consider. Even though it won’t kill any insects that might be on them, but surely it will render them inert and less active. Just remove the bee frames from the beehives and put them in the freezer.
You can keep them there for at least 48 hours to let the cold take care of any wax moths or moth larvae in the honeycomb.
However, note that this method takes some time and space. Since beeswaxes are known to be fragile, it is easiest to store honey frames in the wooden super to avoid breaking comb. So you will more or less be storing the whole box – and it is imperative to consider the space needed.
Hanging in Light and Air
This is another way to store and protect your beehive frames and foundation. Storing your beekeeping supers in an open shed is indeed an option to consider if you don’t have a freezer or adequate space to freeze everything. Note that Wax Moths also do not like light. They always want the dark inside of a beehive.
Piling honey supers (with comb inside) in a criss-cross fashion inside an open-air shed is a well-used method amongst beekeepers. Have it in mind that more light and air will circulate through the bee boxes – altering moth activity.
Although 0% moth damage can never be guaranteed but this method of storage works for many. In addition, a roof over the top protects the stored honey supers from rain, and inculcating wire sides allow light inside and prevents raccoons from eating your comb! Cold weather is good for super storage.
Using Bags in Bins
To leverage this option, you have to first freeze your frames, and then let them dry in your house – somewhere safe from most insects. Once you think they are dry, seal in plastic bags that have a fairly tight fit and keep them in the basement of your home where it’s colder.
Howbeit, note that this method doesn’t work in warm climates since cockroaches love beeswax and will easily eat through the bags to get to your wax unless you can find a bin with a gasket seal.
Note that you can use BT for Moth Control in Honey Supers. The form of BT known as bacillus thuringiensis is leveraged by a good number of modern beekeepers to protect comb frames. You only have to mix the dry product with water and spray on a new foundation or honeycomb.
This would be done before placing boxes on the hive or after removing them. BT kills wax moth larvae. You can also make use of Paradicholorbenzene to protect your frames and foundation.
PDB (Paradicholorobenzene) is a chemical compound in a crystal form labeled for bees and approved by the FDA. Have it in mind that a pack of crystals is placed near stored honey supers to control wax moths. However, note that this chemical is a known carcinogen and has a very pungent odor.
Tips to Help You Store Frames and Foundation for Beekeeping
To properly store and protect your honey supers or frames and foundations, here are tips to consider;
- Remember not to store the honey if you are planning on storing it for more than 2 to 3 days. This is because crystallization can occur any time after storing the honey for more than 2 or 3 days. Also, the probability of pests finding your honey supers can also increase the more you leave the frames stored.
- Try not to mix the capped honey cells with the uncapped honey cells. Have it in mind that the uncapped honey can end up leaking out, and this will promote the growth of mould. The mould will end up affecting the uncapped honey.
- Ensure to only use a spot that is dry. Note that any excess moisture in the area will easily promote the growth of mold and bacteria on the honey frames. Notably, if the humidity is also high, the honey could start to ferment.
- Always remember to store the honey frames in an area that is far from any known hotspot for pests such as ants and bugs. Once you think pests are an issue for you, just freeze the honey for at least two days before removing them for extraction.
- If you still prefer to keep your honey out of the freezer, the ideal way to protect them from pests is to wrap the honey frames with plastic.
- Ensure not to put the honey frames in the refrigerator because this will speed up the crystallization process, which will make it impossible for you to extract the honey.
- Once your honey gets moldy or ferments, consider feeding them back to your bees because they can still make use of moldy honey.
It is the primary duty of any beekeeper to honor the hard work that the bees have invested in building comb. In addition, acquiring beekeeping equipment is not cheap either.
Therefore, ensure to safeguard your investment, establish a plan, and understand how to store all beekeeping supplies until needed again next year. However, storing valuable honey supers with a drawn comb should be your utmost priority.