Super comb is a valuable resource and it is important to store supers containing frames safely over winter. Books tell us that bees consume around 6lbs of honey to produce a pound of wax. If super comb is in a clean condition it can be used again next season. Before you can store frames they must be in a dry state, i.e. all remaining honey removed. To ensure they are dry place extracted supers over the crown board of a hive and let the bees clean out any residue. They will be perfectly dry after a few days and can then be removed and stored for winter. If supers are left wet they can become mouldy and unhygienic.
The following describes a method of storing supers by allowing spiders access to the stack. Spiders are predators of wax moth and generally control them very well. However, before assembling the stack it is good idea to scrape the top and bottom bars of the super frames (see photos 1 and 2). Often there is a build up of brace comb on the bars which becomes very hard.
If this is left in place bees can be squashed next season when supers are returned to hives. Squashed bees can spread disease as the nurse bees attempt to clean up any mess. Keep the recovered wax as it can be melted down later by borrowing one of the Association’s wax steamers.
If there is a build of propolis along the top or bottom edges of the super, apply a heat gun to the edge and scrape with a hive tool. This is an easy way to remove this build up of propolis. If there are small gaps in brood or super boxes keep some of the recovered propolis. Just melt a small piece around the gap and use a hive tool to smooth the melted propolis into the gap.
There are other ways to protect comb from moth. During spells of very cold weather all stages of a wax moth life cycle are killed. Or if a super has a bad moth infestation, the individual frames can be placed in a freezer for 24 hours. This is an effective way to kill egg and larval stages. Another way to protect comb is to apply Certan which is an effective control of moth. This requires spraying the product over each surface of the comb and leaving the combs to dry out for 24 hours before stacking.
This time is also an ideal opportunity to repair damaged super frames, e.g. bottom bars in place etc.