Robbed honeycomb #851166

Asked September 25, 2023, 12:59 PM EDT

Hello, I was removing 3 supers for the year and they had mostly all uncapped honey in them. I didn’t want to waste this nectar and didn’t know if it would be capped in time so I tried to open feed this back to the bees, with the hopes they would store this in the brood boxes. This caused robbing (I guess I shouldn’t be surprised or should have been more careful) so I moved the supers further away from my hive and let them get cleaned out. The honey was cleaned out and now dry wax remains. Can I use these again next year or do I risk diseases like EFB because they were cleared out by robbing bees? I realize now, I should have not put the supers back on after harvest in August or put them over the inner cover to be fed back to my bees. Any suggestions of what I should do with the cleaned out drawn comb? Thank you!

Ottawa County Michigan

Expert Response

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for reaching out with this question. Michigan State University is holding a European foulbrood office hours webinar on October 12th. There is still a lot we are learning through research about how European Foulbrood is spread.

I would suspect that the likelihood of the robbed out honey supers being a source of European foulbrood would be relatively low, especially since the cells were used to store nectar/honey, not to raise brood. Concerns about disease transmission during robbing or open feeding are normally related to bees spreading disease to each other, not necessarily bees spreading disease to combs that will be used the next year. If you had identified American foulbrood cases in your colonies, then you may want to take extra precautions. Personally, I wouldn't be concerned about using the honey supers next year.

Happy beekeeping!

Ana Heck Replied September 26, 2023, 10:44 PM EDT
Thank you for your response. Just wanted to let you know that i really appreciate your office hours webinars and the ask extension. They are so informative and non judgmental. It’s been so helpful for me as a new beekeeper! 

On Tue, Sep 26, 2023 at 10:44 PM Ask Extension <<personal data hidden>> wrote:
The Question Asker Replied November 02, 2023, 1:18 PM EDT

Thank you for taking the time to write such a nice comment! I appreciate the feedback. Have  a great weekend!

Ana Heck Replied November 03, 2023, 4:57 PM EDT

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