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  • Repeated Beekeeping Myths and Folklore.

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #2532  by NigelP
 30 Mar 2019, 14:54
In a previous thread I alluded to many authors repeating ad-lib the same old mistakes and myths that their predecessors were guilty of. It is almost as thought the new guard will not challenge old "beliefs" or they are unaware that such sayings/mantra's are just plain wrong.
I'm sure we all know many....but I suggest we limit ourselves to one per post.
I shall kick off.
Most books recommend frequently changing brood frames as they harbour disease. Reincarnated recently as an almost obsession with Bailey comb changes at the wrong time of year (now).
This is IMHO rubbish.
What diseases are they harbouring?......
Where are the published examples of disease being transferred from old combs?
What detriment is there to bees using old comb?

Answer is there aren't any, or what there is is simply hearsay...it's just an obsession passed on by some author who had an obsession with only having clean combs. And still passed on today by many authors and many journal articles.
I practice what I preach and do not routinely change my combs. I do not have any noticeable disease and (as a few can attest) my honey yields are substantial and my bees are thriving..
I start to replace old black comb when it gets to this stage and the bees have chewed most of it away...then it's time to retire it. The comb below has/had been in continuous use for over 10 years...

Image
 #2541  by Jim Norfolk
 30 Mar 2019, 18:15
Nigel think of the money and effort you have saved on frames and foundation :lol:
I don't think I couold find a ten year old frame but they do get changed when they look past it. More usually it just happens for example when two colonies are united. I recycle the frames either with new foundation or more usually as foundationless frames. Great for rearing drones as the bees make the comb they want.

Here is another myth.
Damp kills more bees than cold, so ventillate hives in winter by using matchsticks under the crown board or leave the feed hole open. Sorry this is a perennial. My only ventillation is through the open mesh floor as the top of the hive is sealed and well insulated. Bees thrive and there is no mould.
 #2543  by Patrick
 30 Mar 2019, 19:23
Only one per post - now that’s a challenge!

Swarm control is riddled with them, and explains a few of reasons why people get in such a pickle.

One of the daftest is “leaving multiple queen cells because the first emerging will kill the others”. There are specific circumstances in which this may be true but if bees are in swarming mode this usually simply leads to losing at least one cast.
 #2544  by NigelP
 30 Mar 2019, 19:57
Steve (The Drone) wrote:
30 Mar 2019, 18:13
And supposedly the cells get reduced in diameter after every polishing by the house bees. Never actually used an internal micrometer to check this.
They don't....yet another perpetuated myth.
 #2545  by NigelP
 30 Mar 2019, 20:00
And include glaring omissions....(usually well out of most authors experience)
Where/when was the last time you read of a swarm control method for queens on double brood?

NOWHERE!
 #2548  by Chrisbarlow
 31 Mar 2019, 08:45
NigelP wrote:
30 Mar 2019, 19:57
Steve (The Drone) wrote:
30 Mar 2019, 18:13
And supposedly the cells get reduced in diameter after every polishing by the house bees. Never actually used an internal micrometer to check this.
They don't....yet another perpetuated myth.
I do find the old comb debate interesting. I thought I had read some where ( a research paper) that old comb was not as good as new comb . I think this might be the paper here https://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ajava.2008.51.53
This research also references the below paper.

There is another paper her that also suggests that new comb is superior to old comb . http://bees.caes.uga.edu/content/dam/caes-website/departments/entomology/images/honey-bee-program-images/research-archives/effects_comb_age.pdf (this is a PDF document)

The second one is by Keith Delaplane , the first one is by Dizaji

The second research paper by Deleplane also records that the old comb does have small cells.

Now this third peice of research by Jong (https://www.apidologie.org/articles/apido/abs/2004/04/M4012/M4012.html) found that older comb will suffer higher infestation rates of varroa than newer comb. So do this mean that old comb encourages disease?

Now this is usefull because if you are going to do varroa trapping, this suggests use old comb.

So the above 3 papers suggest that old comb does indeed encourage disease (by attracking more varroa) although if all your comb is old then that would not make any difference, the cell size does decrease with age and old comb does effect over all colony strong negatively.

There is also another research paper by Williams and Free in 1974 entitled Factors determining food storage and brood rearing in honey bee, but I cant find a copy to read. just to see if it had anything inthere about older comb frames.

So I am not disputing any ones observations but the research suggests old comb is not as good as new comb.
 #2549  by AdamD
 31 Mar 2019, 11:02
NigelP wrote:
30 Mar 2019, 20:00
And include glaring omissions....(usually well out of most authors experience)
Where/when was the last time you read of a swarm control method for queens on double brood?

NOWHERE!
That's an interesting challenge if/when it happens! A Demaree and stealing a few frames to place elsewhere is one option I've tried assuming you want to keep the colony together if possible, rather than split it. Of course if you are on brood and a half, you have a problem!
 #2550  by AdamD
 31 Mar 2019, 11:04
Bees will take to old comb quite readily; I don't worry about using it provided it is decent-looking.
 #2552  by Chrisbarlow
 31 Mar 2019, 13:27
AdamD wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 11:04
Bees will take to old comb quite readily; I don't worry about using it provided it is decent-looking.
I would agree 100% Adam, I also agree with NP about using older comb with out particular issue. However what the research suggests to me is the bees do BETTER on new comb. So that to me implies it isn't a myth to replace old comb periodically for the benefit of the bees.