Cleaning used frames is one of those mind-numbing chores that ranks with weeding, ironing shirts, and washing dishes. When I pull old frames from a hive, I put them somewhere—temporarily—until I can get to them. Such temporary placement evolves into years because almost anything else gets priority.
When—and if—I eventually get around to it, I scrape them free of propolis and beeswax and cut away any framing wires. Even on a cool day, it all feels gross. On a hot day . . . well, I can’t let go of anything I touch. Messy, sticky, gooey. Invariably I cut myself, stab myself with wires or splinters, and bleed on the already garish wood.
If they are still square and firm when I’m done, I rewire them with foundation or starter strips and store them in a box. The beeswax looks starkly white against the stained and battered frames, but to me it looks like progress.
Recently, I was informed that nobody refurbishes used frames—nobody in their right mind, at least. Frames are cheap and considered disposable like paper diapers or plastic spoons. Hmm. Somehow I missed that part of bee school.
Whatever happened to saving a tree? For some reason, it seems wrong to toss a frame just because it once contained icky, black, or moldy comb. Sure frames are cheap, but shipping is not, and I spend considerable time assembling them. And all my frames contain the extra magic nails that go through the end pieces and hold them together through repeated and vigorous prying.
So, I want to know. Am I the only person who reuses frames? What are the standards by which used frames are judged? I might give it up if I believed that I was the only one doing it, but somehow I think not. Tell me, tell me. Do you reuse your frames?