Flow™ Frame Sterilisation / Irradiation / Disease Control

You can find a video tutorial here for re-assembly. I am not sure I would use bleach in your frames unless you are sure you can get the odour out. What is in the frames that you are trying to sterlise/clean?

from one week to the next in this very rainy spring, the hive was completely overrun with pests, maggots, moth and beetles; they got into the flow hive as well as a small box of capped honey. gross. but i’d like to salvage the flow hive; everything else i tossed as diseased.

and thanks for the link to the videos, just what i needed.

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Irradiation update for Flow Frames


Flow Frame sterilisation / irradiation / disease control

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.

Flow Frame sterilisation / irradiation / disease control

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 caustic 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 should be exposed to the minimum possible Gamma irradiation dose, in order to prevent degradation of frame components.

What you should do when treating with irradiation:

Check your model number. BZ8 Frames will withstand only one round of irradiation at 10 kGy. All other frame models will withstand 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.

Irradiation in Sydney will destroy Flow Frames.
Sydney facility is old and they are unable to control the dose to the levels required. Hives going to Sydney will get up to 40kGy.

Brisbane offers 2 options - 10 or 15kGy. Customer should choose the 10kGy option.

Flow Frame sterilisation / irradiation / disease control


For WA based folk, this article still seems to apply (my interpretation). Although we can’t bring used bee products into the State it would seem that sending your own gear out for irradiation and then bringing it back, when done via Steritech, is acceptable:

From page 4

Decontamination by irradiation

Gamma irradiation is an effective treatment for killing spores. The gamma rays penetrate cells and break down DNA strands so bacterial growth cannot occur. It leaves no residue and the bee equipment can be re-used immediately.

The hive boxes must be thoroughly cleaned on the outside (use a high-pressure hose) prior to being stacked into doubles or triples with the lid and base. The unit must be double-bagged or shrink-wrapped so that it is sealed, then strapped tightly together. Each unit should not weigh more than 25kg. The units can then be stacked onto a 1200mm x 1240mm pallet. The height should be less than 2m and the whole thing not more than 1000kg. Beekeepers should clearly label each box for easy identification.

The pallets must be transported to the irradiation facility in a bee-proof container. Contact Steritech for more information.

…and Steritech only have irradiation facilities on the East coast as far as I’m aware.

No idea on costs though, as I’ve not encountered AFB.

Thanks for posting here @Faroe , glad I did some more searching, and in fact now I’m finding the warning around Steritech in Sydney in multiple places…
I have been holding off from posting to Sydney (expensive) until next time I drive there instead. Guess I’ll have to look into postage to Brissy now.

The Sydney booking form says
“Note: Polypropylene components have been shown to deteriorate when exposed to doses 30kGy and above
Steritech cannot guarantee this treatment will stay under 30kGy and is not held liable for any damage caused by the treatment.
It is advisable to remove any polypropylene components prior to handing equipment over for treatment.”