Moldy Hive. Now What?

Like most bee pests, mold can take over once a colony is weakened or on the decline. Mold can appear to drive a healthy colony out, however, a healthy colony can keep the mold from taking over.

Once you see mold, the bees have become too weak to regulate the air flow and thus keep the moisture down within the hive. Usually mold is found on dead-outs that were caused by over-winter starvation or disease. It can also be found on poorly stored honeycomb.

A failed bee colony is a perfect location for mold to grow. It’s got contained moisture, food, and since mold can grow in most temperatures it’s got the right conditions to take over your good honeycomb.

Photo Credit: Dukka Queen

Prevention tips:

  • Keep healthy colonies.
  • Take steps to help the bees maintain healthy moisture within the colony. Excess moisture can make the bees job harder.
    • Depending on your location, humidity, and temperature you may consider different styles of bottom boards, entrances, and even moisture blankets, etc.
  • Store your honey comb in a dry place when it’s not on the hives.

4 Steps to re-use your moldy honeycomb:

  • Separate the moldy frames.
  • Take the moldy frames to a warm, dry place where they can dry out – this may take a few days.
  • Store the frames in a box in a dry place.
  • Place a few frames at a time into a strong, large, healthy colony for clean up. If you have multiple colonies – you can split these among them.

It can take the bees several days to clean up the frames, however, they’ll remove all evidence that the mold ever existed and will have comb to utilize for honey storage or brood production.


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