Storing Supers PDF Print E-mail

It’s that time of the year!  Most of us have harvested our honey by now. It is time to store our empty comb.  In Oklahoma, we do not recommend placing supers back on the hive.  Adding the supers back on the hive requires more energy from the bees to warm the empty space which can lead to starvation in winter.  As well as giving space for the wax moths and hive beetles to flourish. 

 

The two most common ways to store your comb to prevent damage from wax moths and hive beetles are as follows:

 

Moth Crystals (paradichlorobenzene)-

 

Many people do not like moth crystals because it is a chemical.  Moth crystals are highly volatile, totally evaporate and have been approved by FDA for this purpose.  The most common method for using moth crystals is by placing a telescoping lid upside down on the ground, place one super on top of the lid.  Place a piece of paper 4-6” square on top of the super and place a handful of crystals on top of the paper, place 2 medium or 3 shallow supers on top of that and then place another piece of paper.  Continue this method as high as you prefer with a piece of paper and crystals every 2-3 supers.  Place another lid on top so the stack is air tight.  Place something heavy such as a concrete block on top to ensure that the lid does not come off.  Check all supers for holes or gaps and cover them with duct tape.  The stack must be completely sealed. 

 

Check every 4-6 weeks to be sure the crystals have not evaporated.  Add some crystals if necessary.  Allow the supers to air out 2-3 days before placing on hives. 

 

NOTE: Be sure to use paradichlorobenzene moth crystals and not moth balls.  The chemical used in moth balls can leave residue in wax comb and is not approved by the FDA.

 

Another method is to take a large trash bag, place a handful of crystals inside the bag, and then place as many supers in the bag as possible while still being able to close the bag securely and tightly.  The only problem with this method is if a cat, dog, possum, mouse, etc scratches the bag and allows the vapor to escape and the most crystals to evaporate.  The bags must be completely sealed.

 

Open-air method-

 

Open air storage of honey supers requires a space protected from the elements, but with very good airflow such as a lean-to or patio.  Air flow is very important for this method as the air must be free to flow through the supers to prevent moth eggs from hatching.  That is why it is recommended to store the supers in an area which is open on three sides.  NEVER store your empty drawn-out supers in a shed or barn! 

 

If the floor is dirt, place a pallet or piece of wood on the ground.  Place the supers on end with the frames standing vertical.  The supers can be stacked side by side, but leave 4-6 inches between the open sides of each box so that air can flow through freely.  After the pallet is full, place a second row of supers on top of those cross-wise in the same manner.  Continue this pattern as high as you wish.

 

 

 Never stack the boxes more than four feet deep and always leave at least three feet open around the edges!  Never stack anything which could block airflow near the supers!