Can flow hive frames be sanitized after pests?

one of our hives died and all 4 boxes are infested with beetles, larvea and moth of some kind; can the flow hive frames be salvaged? soaked in bleach with water or is it best to not resue them? btw, this happened when i used some older built out frames i had in my basement that i used when i split this hive. they had some schmutz on them but i thought they were ok. now i am kicking myself!

That is just fine. If you want to be sure, when they are dry, put them in the freezer for 48 hours - that will kill off any remaining eggs or larvae.

If they are still messy, you can actually dismantle the Flow frames quite easily, wash in warm soapy water (no hotter than 70C - very hot water is bad for the plastic), rinse and reassemble. Just don’t leave them out in the sun, UV light makes the plastic brittle. Flow has made a youtube video that you search for, which shows how easy this is to do. :blush:


thank you so much for your reply! i would have been so sad to have to trash that investment! thanks again!

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Hi Dawn, did Flow ever say anything anywhere about whether it was ok to use the sodium hypochlorite on the plastic? I remember a while back raising the question on the Forum, but might have missed the answer?

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@Faroe, @Cedar that’s a good point. Flow frames have been in the market for a while now but this page on the website (see link below) is still not updated, as it still states:

Chemical treatment: The plastics chosen have good chemical resistance. We will be testing various chemicals to evaluate this soon.

Any chance the outcomes of those evaluations can be shared with your users?


Hi Alan,

I’m asking the Flow team if we have an update. Hopefully we will hear back soon.


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Thought it would help to add this updated info on this topic too.

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As @busso hasn’t squawked, I would like to clarify that he didn’t actually put them in a washing machine, he put them in a dishwasher. Then he had to make dinner and provide wine to apologize to SWMBO, if memory serves… :blush:

I imagine a washing machine could have had a very interesting result after the spin cycle… :rofl:


As only a man would :roll_eyes: And only a woman that has perfect recall can tell it :smirk: Oops :grinning: No, no. not the spin cycle…


Oops, yep, that’s what was in my head when I wrote that. And I did remember about his better half too lol But, alas, it’s still a machine washing things aint it :stuck_out_tongue:


Thanks @Dan2,

Our Cleaning/Sterilisation faq has been updated on our website: 1

Under normal conditions, it is not necessary to clean your Flow Frames (click here for information on routine cleaning and storage of Flow Frames).

In some jurisdictions cleaning may be necessary prior to sterilisation as a means of disease control—please contact your local department of primary industries for region-specific advice.

Cleaning and wax removal for sterilisation

Following are some options for removing wax and propolis from Flow Frames. We have tested these treatments and found them to have no effect on the mechanical function of the product.

Prior to treatment manually remove excess wax, by placing the frames on newspaper and scraping. We have achieved best results at wax removal by disassembling the Flow Frame prior to treatment, however, please note that this will void your warranty.

These are maximum exposure recommendations and should only be used under conditions where sterilisation of the frames is necessary. Do not exceed temperature and time for optimum function of your frames. Destroy all debris by burning.



#Ethanol is highly flammable. Do not heat ethanol on or near a naked flame.
*The use of casutic solutions (Caustic Soda/washing soda) requires great care and caution. You must use suitable protective clothing, protect your eyes and use rubber gloves.

The safety of your bees is very important—after any treatment of your frames please ensure they are rinsed thoroughly in water and dried prior to storage or returning to your hive.


Please note that if you are treating AFB this is a notifiable disease. Legal requirements differ between jurisdictions. Please contact your local authority for advice on appropriate disease control measures.

Bleach treatment:

In some jurisdictions, it is acceptable to use bleach to sterilise AFB contaminated hive components. Research has shown that immersion for twenty minutes in a solution of 0.5% sodium hypochlorite kills AFB spores and other bacteria. The solution must be in direct contact with the spores. It is, therefore, necessary to remove wax and other debris prior to sterilisation (see above cleaning options).

Gamma Irradiation:

In some countries, Gamma irradiation is used to sterilise equipment infected with American Foulbrood (AFB). A dose of 10 kGy is sufficient to eliminate AFB spores (Hornitzky&Wills, 1983; Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice, 2016, Pg 11). Flow Frames can withstand a maximum of 20 kGy Gamma irradiation, above this, the plastic will become brittle and the mechanism may fail on harvest.

What you should do when treating with irradiation:

Flow Frames should be exposed to a maximum combined dose of 20 kGy irradiation. This enables 2 rounds of AFB sterilisation at 10 kGy. Some Irradiation facilities use beehives as ‘gap filler’ in larger loads. This means a single round may expose your frames to more than 40 kGy.

We recommend you contact the facility to discuss maximum doses. If you are in Australia (excluding Tasmania) we recommend that you send your frames to Steritech’s Brisbane Facility. This facility is capable of controlling the irradiation dose. If you need to send your Flow Frames for irradiation please mark them clearly for future reference.