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Bee-Ginner's Guide

Welcome to the Bee-ginner's Guide Blog. Here we will go over topics and tips you might need as you go through your first year as a beekeeper.

In the winter, keeping your active hives safe and warm is of vital importance, but it is also very important to keep all your unused equipment safe for next year. The best place to store any unused empty equipment during the winter is a shed or garage that has plenty of natural light and ventilation. If you have any unassembled or unpainted hive bodies or supers, it is recommended to go ahead and assemble and paint them before storing for the winter. If left unassembled, they have a greater chance of warping which will make them practically useless come next year.

If you have supers still full of honey, just like with all other equipment, you will want to store indoors to protect it from pest, but the biggest issue you want to watch out for is moisture. Even if your honey is at the proper moisture content, storing it in a moist environment can build the moisture back up and ruin your honey. As for temperature, room temperature or freezing is optimum. Cooler temperatures above freezing can quicken crystallization of your honey, but if your honey crystalizes it is still good honey. You just need to gently melt it back down.

One of the most common pests you can run into while storing used equipment is Wax Moth.

The Wax Moth is a very destructive pest in the beehive. They feed off of pollen stores, larvae, and even the wax itself. The adult moth is a heavy bodied small moth about 1/2” to 3/4” long whose wings vary in color from grayish to brown. The mated females will fly into a colony 1 to 3 hours after dark and lay their eggs and then leave before daylight. The eggs are laid in masses and are light in color.

The best defense against Wax Moth is a strong hive. Strong hives can defend themselves against wax moth easily. It is the weaker hives or hives that have been left vacant after a collapsed colony that you can run into wax moth issues really quickly. If you start seeing large white larvae or a web like structure starting to build up in your hive, you know you have a wax moth problem.

There is no approved treatment for active hive wax moth infestation. Once wax moths have taken over, I'm afraid the equipment is all but useless. When storing honey supers during the winter, you can prevent wax moth build with Paradichlorobenzene (PDB). Simply stack the extracted dry supers about 5 high (hive bodies) or 10 high (supers) and place 6 oz. of PDB crystals on top of a square of newspaper or a Drawer in the top super. It is necessary to make sure that all cracks are taped shut; you are basically making a fumigation chamber. Check your stacked supers every 6 weeks if you live in a warm climate as the moths may get back into the stacked supers and lay more eggs when the PDB has vaporized. Make sure that the supers are aired out for several days before you plan to introduce them back to the hive. PDB is not approved for use in California.

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