what to do with crushed comb?

Basic beekeeping, this is beekeeping after the first winter until about the third or fourth year. You are a beekeeper, but you still have a lot to learn. Talk about normal everyday beekeeping here.
BigNotEasyGuy
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what to do with crushed comb?

Postby BigNotEasyGuy » Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:17 pm

So, now I've harvested my foundationless frames and we did a crush and strain process into food grade buckets. I'm not setup to do anything with the resulting crushed comb as I was thinking I was going to be putting back extracted frames (rookie mistake). So my question now is what do I do with the left over crushed comb? For other beginners who find this post, it's a mess of dead bees, honey, comb, and uh, baby bees :(

I have read you can put it out for the bees to clean, but if its too close it can cause robbing (I'm a little worried about my work table with all my honey covered tools that's still sitting out by the hives also).

So should I move the crushed comb 50 ft. away on a tray on the ground and let the bees harvest it for a couple of days? I've read putting it back in the empty, messy, super isn't useful, they could make crooked comb again and don't really want the old wax anyway? Is there something useful I can do with it that doesn't require melting it on a burner or having a bunch of sanitized mead equipment, etc. Like I said, I wasn't expecting to have this stuff. :)

Thanks!

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Dustymunky
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Re: what to do with crushed comb?

Postby Dustymunky » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:13 pm

Not sure why you have dead bees and larvae in your crushed comb honey. Should only be honey frames with no larvae generally.

You can wash the comb off and then melt it into wax for other uses. I let the bees clean the honey off of my extracting equipment. They fought over it and alot of bees died. Its probably not worth letting the bees clean the old comb off imo.


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BigNotEasyGuy
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Re: what to do with crushed comb?

Postby BigNotEasyGuy » Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:02 pm

I am using foundationless frames and they got cross combed, and I wasn't sure how to harvest them. This being my first time I just did my best. The dead bees are in there because I tried to smoke them down off the medium super with all the honey in it. They didn't all go away. I've read about using fume boards, I might try that next time. At any rate, there were still bees on the comb as I was moving into a bucket to harvest by crushing, so...dead bees. The larvae are probably because I don't use a queen excluder, a couple of the frames had some larvae and since everything was cross combed in what appeared to be U shaped drawn comb when I was cutting each frame out to remove the honey comb there were a couple of sections with larvae, not many thankfully. Once I figured this out, I was able to salvage a couple frames with partial larvae comb and left them behind. But a couple had a few that made it into the bucket. I hand removed what I could, but...some were in there and were strained out.

I appreciate the advice on the left over comb, you can get all kinds of advice about bees. Hearing your first hand account of the fighting is helpful, I agree with you I don't think it's worth it.

So I guess I'll start reading about how to clean and store the wax. I'll have to store it a bit because I don't have the right supplies to melt it at the moment.

Thanks!

moebees
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Re: what to do with crushed comb?

Postby moebees » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:21 am

It will store in a closed bucket for awhile. You could also stick it in a freezer.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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GregV
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Re: what to do with crushed comb?

Postby GregV » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:12 pm

BigNotEasyGuy wrote:.... I've read putting it back in the empty, messy, super isn't useful, they could make crooked comb again and don't really want the old wax anyway?
Thanks!


Do exactly that.
That is the way to do it, if at all possible, so to prevent any massive robbing/fighting set off.
:)

However, put any junk that needs cleaned above the inner cover so that bees will consider that *outside* the nest.
Bees will rob out anything that is outside of their nest.
Secondly, you do want to check it back in few days and remove any cleaned stuff and the empty super itself, anyway.
(just to be sure they do not start building as it still may happen).
No need to worry of any new combs if you remove the super soon enough (2-3 days should be all).
There will be nothing significant.

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Michael Bush
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Re: what to do with crushed comb?

Postby Michael Bush » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:37 pm

A few dead bees don't matter any. I would put it all in a cake pan in the oven on low with the door cracked open. Your goal is to get the temperature up to 150 F or so. The wax will melt, the honey will sink and the wax will float. Remove it and let the wax harden. Lift the wax off and remove adhereing honey with a rubber spatula. Use the resulting honey for cooking. It will be dark and it will lose some of the nice aromatics, but it will be edible and work great for baking and candy.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
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GregV
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Re: what to do with crushed comb?

Postby GregV » Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:37 pm

Decided to expand the using empty super(s) for cleanup...

Keep in mind, you are free to add 2-3-4- any number of empty supers.
Add as many as are needed so to fit the stuff inside. This is only a temporary feature.
The point here is - you just want to create a bee-proof area where only a single hive has access too.
This is a safe way to clean just about anything that will fit into the enclosed volume without setting a frenzy.
(be sure to have no external access to this cleanup area - obvously).

I don't do supers as I am into horizontals, but I have empty volume outside of the end boards (the same idea).
I toss into this empty space all kinds of trash with honey splatted on it (cardboard, paper towels, tools, whatever that needs cleaning) - bees take care of all the cleaning. The empty supers *above* inner cover work the same.

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GregV
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Re: what to do with crushed comb?

Postby GregV » Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:30 pm

While Michael's advice should work technically, it has one issue to be aware - heated honey is no longer good for either bees or people to consume.
This is not even about taste/aroma.
Heated honey is, essentially, toxic.

Here is what one of my local TF beekeeper friends writes:
"........try googling hydroxymethylfurfuraldehyde among other things. I wouldn't eat honey that was heated as you described, and I most certainly wouldn't feed it to bees...."


Read on HMF (hydroxymethylfurfuraldehyde) in honey and decide for yourself.

PS: to be sure, while shown to be toxic, HMF is found in variety of foods and is totally natural as it is a part of fructose breakdown process; HMF is found in coffee and breads, for example; well, I am a big fan of coffee and good bread (HMF or no HMF; I just don't care with my coffee and bread) :)

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Michael Bush
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Re: what to do with crushed comb?

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:10 pm

I would not sell heated honey as table honey, but I would sell it as baking honey. I would not feed it to bees. I've eaten plenty of it, baked with it, made taffy from it and it never made me sick nor anyone else who was eating it. Heated honey may give bees dysentery and during some times of the year might shorten their lives. There certainly is not enough HMF in honey heated the way I described to be in any way toxic to people.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

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GregV
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Re: what to do with crushed comb?

Postby GregV » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:37 am

HMF is not toxic to the point of making sick on the spot, I believe (hence I keep drinking my coffee and eating prunes that are also high in HMF; I should stop, but I just don't... :D ). It is just one of those things that if used persistently may eventually do harm.

Anyway, people may google just as well, once aware of the issue.


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