It’s the end of the nectar flow. You’ve taken your honey supers off the hive and extracted. You put them back for a day or so to let the bees clean them up. (You can also set them outside on a low wall.) Now you are ready to put them away while you treat for mites. Unless you are using a varroa mite treatment that clearly states you can leave honey supers in place, you must take your supers off and store them while you treat. Some treatments are quick, some take longer. Read and carefully follow the instructions. If your drawn frames are going to be off for more than a few days be sure to freeze them. If you don’t have room to store them in an airtight location – after you’ve frozen them to kill any eggs, larvae or pupa hiding in drawn comb, you’ll run the risk of coming back to find that wax moths have gotten in and made of mess (see photo).
How to prevent wax moth damage in drawn, stored comb
Freeze the comb for 36-48 hours then allow the frames to come back to room temperature. Make sure the frames are dry from any melted water crystals on the frames/comb. Now you can safely store them in an airtight container. Kind of hard to have one of those if you have 10 or more frames.
If you only have a few frames – use a food saving vacuum sealer – the size large enough to fit a full frame in – then vacuum seal. Wax moths will find any unprotected comb.
Big operations stack drawn frames in their boxes. They add Para Moth Crystals (make sure you get para-dichlorobenzene) and completely wrap in plastic. Replenish the crystal every 3-4 weeks.
Set up supers with a rim, wrap and put a paper plate in center with crystals. Slice open the plastic to replenish the crystals and re-tape closed. No matter how you store, every so often renew the Para Moth crystals until about two weeks before the frames go back on the hive. Let the stored frames air out so there’s no residual odor when the bees start storing honey during the next flow.
Are there other options?
Perhaps. Store your frames in the honey super box in double bagged thick mil black plastic bags. Put in a generous amount of Para Moth Crystals and then seal the bags – air tight. Bags should be bubbled and taped/closed so the air can’t escape. Does it work? Perhaps. Only time will tell.
Or, perhaps store your drawn frames where there’s lots of air circulation, several inches of space in between each frame and lots of light. Wax moths prefer dark places.
It takes 10 pounds of honey to make one pound of wax – if you want to conserve the hard work that the bees have done – save your comb. It’s worth its weight in gold(en honey).
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