Dealing With 'Wet Combs' After Extracting (036)


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By Growing Planet Media, LLC, Kim Flottum, and Jim Tew. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

When you finish extracting your honey crop, you have frames that have sticky, gooey honey in the cells, and on the frame surfaces. There may be some crystalized honey in some of the cells, too. Maybe even some pollen stored there.

So how do you clean up this mess so when you go to store the supers with these frames in them for the winter, they will be safe? Kim and Jim take a look at dealing with these wet combs so they get clean and are easy to store for the winter, no matter where you winter.

The most common way is to put the frames back in the supers just harvested and put the supers back on your hives. Then in a few days, the bees will have cleaned up the mess and you’re left with a super full of clean, dry, not sticky frames. Usually.

Some beekeepers just set the just-extracted supers outside and let the bees clean them up. But there are a lot of problems with this you may want to avoid. Robbing, sharing diseases and more can happen.

Once the frames have been cleaned by the bees, they are dry, not sticky and have no more honey in them. But what about that crystalized honey that was there, and how do they clean them, really? And what about wax moth, and small hive beetles?

Storing these now clean supers can be a problem needing solved before you decide where to store them. Unheated storage in the north works because these pests don’t do well in the cold, but what about storage in heated buildings or in the south, where it’s warm all year?

Some beekeepers just store this equipment on the bees overwinter. Will the bees keep these pests at bay?

Extracting is a messy business and with it comes the afterlife of those wet, sticky frames that need a good cleaning, and then safe winter storage. Check out some of the ways Kim and Jim make sure this happens to your frames.


We welcome Betterbee as sponsor of today's episode. BetterBee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customer service, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, BetterBee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at


Honey Bee Obscura is brought to you by Growing Planet Media, LLC, the home of Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Music: Heart & Soul by Gyom, Walking in Paris by Studio Le Bus, original guitar music by Jeffrey Ott

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