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New Bee

Joined: 05 Dec 2016
Posts: 6
Location: Minnesota, USA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:43 pm    Post subject: Mold Reply with quote

I have opened up my bee hives which were empty of bees all winter and some of the top of the frames have a light dusting of mold on them and the pollen that had been in the comb has a white layer of mold on top of them. It looks unsightly - is it harmful to bees? Should I try to remove it? If I catch a swarm and put them in, would they be able to clean off the mold, or is it better to have everything without mold?

Most importantly, how can I avoid this in the future. I am using plastic foundation - is that the problem?

Thanks in advance for your time.
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Sorry for the delayed reply. I only just saw this post.

I find that bees manage very well to clean up mouldy comb and remove spoiled pollen.

That said, I would very strongly urge you to get rid of your plastic foundation and allow your next bees to build natural comb to their own size and specification. Natural comb has a mixture of cell sizes, not just bigger drone and honey cells but also a variation in worker's cell sizes. Confining them to a uniform cell size with foundation is not healthy in my opinion and plastic does not buffer moisture like natural comb.

I'm assuming this is a Langstroth hive?

I would strip out the comb and plastic foundation and use starter strips in the frames to give the bees a guide to build from.

Good luck catching a swarm.


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Foraging Bee

Joined: 01 Apr 2012
Posts: 201
Location: Upper Northwest Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are re-activating a hive that has been empty, you should scrub it thoroughly with soap and water, and with any other cleaning agent (white vinegar is a good choice) that will reliably remove the mold, dirt, dust, etc.

Allow the wood to dry thoroughly in the sun before putting bees into it.

When I am storing an empty hive, I store it open so that air can freely circulate and moisture doesn't so easily build up. Then, I let it sit outside in the direct sun for a couple days.

I applied Thompson's Water Seal to surfaces, when first constructing the hives. This has the added advantage of essentially eliminating mold, because moisture doesn't accumulate in the wood.
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

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