Auntie Bee answers a question on the winter storage of frames

October 2012

Dear Auntie Bee

In trying and failing to get the bees to dry up my frames for winter storage (the bees just stored more) I came across a number of fermenting frames. I washed some of them under the tap, shook most of the water out,and eventually got them dry. Then I found more. Would it be foolish just to Certan and store these in black bags at the bottom of the garden and hope that the cold weather will stop the fermentation?

Looking forward to your reply
Auntie Bee replied
Yes this can often be a problem with putting on wet frames when the weather is warm and there is Ivy in flower.  In previous years I have just left those boxes on and the bees have filled and capped the honey which can then be stored for winter but not used for extracting as it’s not nice.  These boxes can be put back on in the spring and give the bees a real boost.  The honey will granulate so  the best way to clear the boxes is to score the frames and get the bees to use it up in the spring.
If the honey is not capped this presents more of a problem and the honey will ferment or go mouldy if stored for any length of time.  The only solution to this is to put the frames in a deep freeze until spring but of course this is not feasible if you have a lot.
The secret I’m afraid is to extract early and get the boxes emptied, cleaned and stored before the ivy blooms.
Good beekeeping
Auntie Bee