Mildew is unhealthy for humans and for your bees, too. To ensure your bees stay as healthy as possible, are producing the best honey possible, and are not causing those who eat your bees' honey to become ill, keeping your beehives clean and free of mildew is essential. To cause the least disruption to your bees, clean your beehive during warm weather while the bees are out collecting pollen.
Things You'll Need
- Full bee suit
- Beehive smoker
- Secondary beehive pieces
- Rubber gloves
- 1 10-gallon bucket, filled with hot water
- 1 5-gallon bucket, filled with warm water
- 2 cups bleach
- Scrub brush
- Old terrycloth towel
Put your bee suit on. Put the gloves on. Ensure your bee suit veil is properly covering your face. Ensure your entire body is covered and no skin is exposed.
Smoke the beehive with the bee smoker. Though many of the bees should be out collecting pollen, you want to ensure that any remaining bees are not in the hive.
Inspect the beehive to determine which pieces have evidence of mildew and need to be cleaned. Remove these pieces from the beehive and replace these pieces with secondary pieces in case bees return to their home during the mildew cleaning process.
Remove your beekeeping gloves and put on the rubber gloves. Though the beekeeping gloves are excellent for protecting your hands against bee stings, they are not effective when cleaning beehives, particularly if you are using bleach.
Add two cups of bleach to 10 gallons of hot water in the 10-gallon bucket. Stir the solution together with the scrub brush.
Place the mildewed portions of the beehive into the 10-gallon bucket. Allow the mildewed portions of the beehive to sit in the solution for 10 to 15 minutes to ensure the mildew is killed. If you do not have room for all the beehive pieces to soak at one time, soak the pieces in batches.
Much of the mildew will likely be removed from the beehive by sitting in the bleach-water solution; however, if some of the mildew remains on the surface after soaking, scrub these portions with the scrub brush to remove the rest of the mildew.
Remove each piece of the beehive from the 10-gallon bucket. Dip each piece, one at a time, into the 5-gallon bucket of warm water to rinse away any bleach residue.
Wipe down each piece of the beehive with the old terrycloth towel. Ensure nooks and crannies are dry.
Store the cleaned pieces of the beehive in a dry, protected location until you clean the beehive again. At this point, you can replace newly mildewed portions of the beehive with these cleaned pieces.
- Photo Credit bee-hive, apiary. image by Nataliya Peregudova from Fotolia.com hiver apiaristk beekeeper beeyard image by Pali A from Fotolia.com l'enfumoir.. image by Claudio Calcagno from Fotolia.com beehives image by McDanny from Fotolia.com rubber gloves image by AGphotographer from Fotolia.com scrubbing the blues image by emmepi from Fotolia.com face cloths stacked image by samantha grandy from Fotolia.com