Hive Irradiation-sterilization

BCBA 2019

The annual irradiation program is taking place Monday March 18, 2019.  This is offered once a year at Sterigenics International in Salem, NJ, in preparation for this year’s season.  The hive irradiation program will safely kill any disease or harmful bacteria in your hives that could pose a health risk to new bees you put into your dead out equipment.  Hive pests such as varroa and small hive beetle can carry pathogens that threaten your hive and bee yard.  It is a great opportunity to sterilize used equipment and dead out hives, putting them safely back into your operation.  We are fortunate this is offered less than two hours away from Bucks County.  Beekeepers have traveled from OH, PA, NJ, NY, DE and MA to participant is this special event.

BCBA is offering a centralized drop-off and pick-up in Bucks County.  The cost is $4-6 per box, depending on the number of participants/equipment.  We will haul it down to Sterigenics, build and wrap the pallets and leave it at Sterigenics to be sterilized that week.  The following week we pick up the sterilized equipment and return it to a central pick up location in Bucks County.  Below are important details for equipment prep and collection: 

Equipment accepted:  We take all size boxes, frames, bottom boards, inner covers and queen excluders.  No outer covers please.  Frames with filled comb are welcomed. 

Each box must be labelled with your name and phone number. 

If your boxes have comb filled with honey or pollen you must wrap each box in heavy duty plastic (3 mil contractor bags or equivalent…heavier is better).  Wrap the boxes like you would a holiday present.  BB’s and inner covers must have your name labelled on each piece.  Large plastic garbage bags and duct tape are recommended for wrapping and labeling (see example picture below).  If you have any questions, please go to or contact Christina Tafel directly.

Drop off/pick up in Bucks Co: 
We will be collecting equipment the weekend prior to sterilization. Drop off your wrapped and labelled equipment

Saturday March 16 from 3:00-5:00pm and

Sunday March 17 from 10:00am-12:00noon

Locationis the parking lot at Hampton Chase Park; corner of Almshouse Rd and Dark Hollow Rd in Jamison, PA.  

Bring cash or check.    

Pick up your equipment at the same location the week of March 25. Details will be communicated by Christina ~March 25. 

Contact Christina Tafel by email if you are interested in participating., cell phone 215-593-4002.  Tell her how many deep/medium boxes you have.  Christina will estimate cost per person and pallet design accordingly.  

Special thanks to our volunteers Jay Smith, Brian Milnes, John Wojcik and Mark Antunes:  Jay for hauling Bucks equipment to & from Sterigenics, Brian and John for lending their trailers to transport.  A huge Thank You to Mark Antunes for establishing and leading this program for many years running!

Sterilizing equipment is cheap health insurance when you are putting a new package of bees into a dead out hive or pre-owned equipment.  ALL hive components can be sterilized using gamma irradiation – boxes, frames, comb and honey.  That is certainly cheaper than the cost of new boxes, frames, and foundation plus the time, energy, and food resource bees need to build comb. And please pass this on to others.

Mark Antunes                                                                          Christina Tafel
Montgomery Co. Beekeepers Association                    Bucks Co. Beekeepers Association
PA State Beekeepers Association                                                                            215-593-4002 (cell)