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Flow Frame prep / Cleaning


Hi all,
I was wondering is anyone cleaned their frames, prior to installing in a hive, to remove any oils that were left behind from manufacturing?
I have noticed a couple of people saying the bees are not using the frames and I wondered if there were oils on it they didn’t like.
Are the frames Dishwasher safe?
Should one sanitize them once removed for the winter?
Rob Berry


Cedar Anderson spoke by Skype at our local beekeeping society this month. He said that all you need to clean the frames is a little hot water. He actually said that at the end of the season, the best way to clean them is to let the bees do it. However if they have picked up dirt during storage, just hot water for cleaning. No need to bleach or sanitize in any other way, and personally I wouldn’t risk them in a dishwasher.

Cleaning flow frames

Thanks for the info.


Dawn, would I be right in thinking that where these were developed the flow frames stay on all year?


That is correct, Dee. However, Cedar did say that if you want to take them off over winter, you can. It is just that in his area, they have honey flow most of the year. Lucky devils! :smile:


I am in New Jersey and feel that removing them in the winter may be best as it can get cold here. Jut the other day it was -7 deg F / -21 Deg C. Dont know if I would want to subject the frames to these temperatures. I figured I would remove them and put a normal deep in its place with frames around August to give them time to build up winter stores.


I don’t think the frames would be hurt by the cold. Cedar even mentioned putting them in a freezer for a day or two to make propolis brittle so it would shatter off when the key was turned!

One thing that will damage them is light exposure - apparently the plastic is hurt by UV light, and that could shorten the life of the frame. Like you, I will be taking mine off when the flow diminishes, partly to help the bees stay warm, and partly to avoid propolis which seems to peak near the end of the season. I will be storing them in a dark storage area within my garage, so they should be fine.


Thanks Dawn. I presumed that was why they could be left on.


My concern about leaving them on is if the cluster ends up there. I haven’t tried leaving them on, so I don’t know if the bees might end up on the Flow frames. If the cluster ends up there they won’t be able to rear brood in the winter cluster and winter clusters don’t move very well. I’m sure in a place where bees don’t cluster for the winter it wouldn’t matter if you left it on.


Being new I haven’t thought on this much (not sure I will have mine on this year unless flow is awesome). Thinking about it maybe ill just pull the box, frames, and excluder off and move the Inner/top down to my brood boxes.
I had worried about what to do with the Queen excluder in the Winter and worried about brood in the Flow Frames.


Anywhere that winters are actually cold, you don’t want to leave an excluder on as the queen can get stuck on the far side and die. I don’t use excluders at all, but if I did, I would pull them in the fall.


Exactly what I read. Always good to hear confirmation though


If you pull the flow frames, where will the bees get their honey, just from the brood?


Our bees get there winter supply of food from the top brood box ( we run doubles. But other areas might not. Check with local beekeepers n clubs to see what they do…, I live out on the West Coast in the foothills east of Seattle.


I have 2 full flow hives and have bought 2 additional 8 frame deeps from beethinking so my ultimate setup is double broad box with flow honey super. When fall arrives empty the flow and remove it. Then the bees will put all their honey in the double broad box for the winter.


Whatever people in your area use for winter you should have below the flow frame box. The flow frame box is just the super, not what they overwinter on.


What he said. Just wish I could say it so efficiently. :blush:


Sounds great, as long as you fill the brood boxes first. I am sure that is what you intended, I just wanted to be clear. :smile:


Your right on the bullseye with your notes n advise. I really don’t give a hoot about the honey super for now… Our last summer was one of the driest, hottest, longest strange summer we’ve had ever up here in Puget Sound. Even our great crops of black berries withered quickly so bees were left to forage on lesser weeds. Most older hives made the marks barely. Not sure about new colonies. Guess as this Spring moves on we will have to see how much failure or success the local beekeeper had. This Spring we don’t face a drought but the wettest winter in record. This could go many ways.

As I get my new hives Nuced up … All I am concerned about is my colony successfully drawing out 20 frames of wax n storing enough honey for the 2026-17 Winter ahead. Honey supers are at least later Spring 2017…

You give great advice … Thankz from a returning Newbee :honeybee::honeybee::honeybee:buzz buzz !


Sounds great, as long as you fill the brood boxes first.

I guess I’ve stayed out of the “my frames aren’t here yet” threads, but this is something to keep in mind. You may not need the flow super until two or three months after you get your bees because they need to build the brood nest and have enough for winter first. In a Northern wintry climate (say Nebraska or Minnesota) that’s the equivalent of two ten frame deeps (four eight frame mediums). In a place where you have winter but not severe (say Tennessee or North Carolina) it’s the equivalent of a ten frame deep and a shallow (three eight frame mediums). In the deep South (or New South Wales) you only need one ten frame deep or even one eight frame deep (two eight frame mediums). Then on top of that you put the super when that is drawn and 80% full of bees and brood and honey. I know it’s a disappointing thought, but it’s quite possible that you won’t need a super the first year while they get established. It’s also quite possible that you will, but I am trying to set realistic expectations.