Is Mould a Problem? Not Really.

I pulled four deep frames of honey from each of my hives this past summer to prevent the queens from becoming honey bound. I stored the frames in a cardboard nuc box and kept them in my house. Later in the fall I fed all but one of the frames back to the bees (see Feeding The Bees Honey Instead of Syrup). This morning I took a look at the remaining deep frame of honey stored in the nuc box and noticed it had mould growing on it.

Honey comb with mould (Oct. 31, 2011).


Honey comb with mould. (Oct. 31, 2011.) I could only find low-rez images for this post.

My best guess is that some uncapped cells at the bottom of the frame began to ferment and got mouldy. Then the mould spread from there.

Honey comb with mould (Oct. 31, 2011).

I don’t think I can feed mouldy combs of honey back to the bees.

Honey comb with mould (Oct. 31, 2011).

But I couldn’t just throw away the whole frame. Instead, I cut off the mouldy portions of the comb (it was from a foundationless frame), then the not-so-mouldy portions, and sealed them inside plastic bags.

Honey comb with mould on the right (Oct. 31, 2011).

I’ll keep them in the freezer until next spring when I might be able to feed the honey back to the bees. Next time I’ll make sure the seal the frame in plastic wrap if it has any uncapped cells on it.

Should I throw away the mouldy comb? I don’t know.

October 15th, 2015: I don’t worry about mouldy comb anymore. If I found a frame like this today, I’d scrape up the mouldy bits because most likely the honey underneath is fine. Then I’d let the bees eat the honey and clean up the comb. It would have to be pretty awful looking comb for me to throw it away.

March 2019 Postscript: Comb often becomes a little mouldy over the winter when the bees are clustered on other frames. I don’t worry about it. If I found mould growing on any frames as thick as it is in these photos, though, I would spray it with apple cider vinegar, wipe away as much mould as I could, and then give it back to bees or scrape open the cells and then give it back to the bees. Apple cider vinegar (though I’ve used regular white vinegar too) works for cleaning up any bee poop outside or inside the hive. I spray on the vinegar, give it a good scrape or wipe with a scouring sponge, let it dry and we’re good to go.

6 thoughts on “Is Mould a Problem? Not Really.

  1. yes throw it out, it will make the bees sick. I know it seems like a waste but it is better for time freeze the frames until you need them

  2. Does anyone have any tips on how to store drawn out frames over the winter?

    I have some of my frames stored in my house, but it looks like mould is growing on some of them, even though the room I had them stored in was fairly dry.

    I had the frames stored in cardboard nuc boxes. Maybe that’s the problem.

  3. I took the honey from this frame that was still clean (it’s been in the freezer) and fed it to a few of our hives today. I crushed it up and just put a glob of it over the inner cover (sheltered inside a super). BEES LOVE HONEY. Forget about syrup. They go nuts for honey.

    I wonder if making pollen patties with honey instead of syrup is a good idea. Probably not. Anyway…

    The foundationless hive seemed to go at its glob from the edges, calmly sucking up the honey.

    Another hive seemed to attack their glob with a vengeance, and most of them got stuck in it. And died.

    I’m an idiot. That really was not the smartest thing to do. We gave our bees left over crushed comb last fall, but that wasn’t thick globs of honey they could get stuck in. Dumb.

    My biggest learning curve is overcoming my own stupidity. I’m also impressed with how quickly bees can bounce back from bad beekeeping. At least I’m getting it out of my system. That means I’m learning. I hope.

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