Now is the time to be considering those winter jobs in order to hit the ground running in the spring next year.
A great starting point is to look at all the used frames you will have about the place and decide what is worth saving. I always throw away frames that have already been used twice. I know that we should be recycle when we can but for me these frames have reached the end of their useful life and should be used as firelighters.
Super frames should be carefully inspected and those that are in good shape and that have been cleaned up by the bees should be stored in a safe place away from the attentions of any vermin that might fancy a free meal. Storing them in a dead freezer is ideal.
If you can ensure that they get below freezing at some point during the winter as this will help to kill off any wax moth.
To sterilize brood frames and any super frames with damaged foundation I use the wallpaper steamer device sold by Thornes. This way I can sterilize between 8 and 10 frames in about 20 minutes. If you wipe them down whilst they are still hot you can get rid of the propolis as well but remember to wear gloves as they do get very hot in the steam.
I know a device like this is not cheap but if you have a number of hives or you can club together with a few others it will soon pay for itself by extemding the life of frames.
Once they are sterilized I mark them with the date so that I know how many times they have been used and then set aside ready to receive new foundation in the spring. I don’t do the immediately as I have to store my frames outside and I find that if the foundation freezes it becomes brittle and also the smell seems to go away and the bees are not so keen to use them.
You will them have frames ready to be used again next spring.