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Housekeeping in your apiary

How to clean equipment!

It is REALLY IMPORTANT to clean your spare beekeeping equipment before you put it away for the winter. This is not only because it is nicer to use next spring but also because disease can lurk in dirty stuff! Do you know what to do?

These are the things most likely to stick to your hive parts and beekeeping tools – propolis, pollen, wax and bits of honeycomb. This is what to do to get them clean:

  • Scrape away any large pieces of brace comb.
  • To remove propolis – Ask an adult to add 1/2kg of washing soda and a few drops of washing up liquid to 5 litres of water. Use to clean small metal items like hive tools and frame spacers. Also queen excluders! You will need to scrape them to make sure they are clean.
  • Poly hives – ask an adult to use a solution of bleach and water and wipe all surfaces.
  • Wooden hives – get an adult to use a blow torch (carefully!) and scrape the debris away. Be sure to clean out the corners!

After everything has been cleaned, let them dry and then check that all parts fit together well. Store everything away.
Motto: if it can’t be cleaned properly, then don’t use it!!