Flow Frames - Longevity

Probably not a popular topic, but here goes.

In my experience the frames last about 2 years before the plastic ages and becomes brittle. I typically pull these frames in the fall and store them in a shed. I test the frames before insertion in the spring. When testing using the key I find that the plastic housing can crack which then makes it a bit difficult to use when your frames are later filled with honey. So am I wrong here in thinking you need to replace these frames say every 2-3 years? Pretty expensive / short life cycle if so.

Any winter storage advise?

Thanks in advance!

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That seems quite a bit shorter than the usual longevity… most people recommend storing them in a dark location as the main condition. Cold (even freezing) and airtight might be additional beneficial conditions.

Not sure how ozone and other gases might affect the deterioration of the plastic.

Or maybe it is just trying to crack the frames (with a single key?) when they are cold and the wax and propolis is too stiff and it requires too much force?

I think that’s it in a nutshell. Frames will be depleted of honey however the propolis and wax are still very much present. There’s nothing really left to do except test the frames and ensure that they work before placing in hive. It’s at this point that the plastic will typically give out. At least with my older flow frames (2 years).

You could test them when you take them out of service while they are still warm, rinse them in warm water and reset them and then store and not need to retest them when they are placed back in service in the spring.

I have 1st and 2nd generation frames, 6 or 7 years old now, some stored in the shed others on the hive. No issues here, touch wood, perhaps the mould is holding them together.:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
I have seen some cracked on this forum and it’s no secret they’re not UV safe.
I’m hoping I get a few more years yet and besides, they would have paid for themselves by now if I hadn’t just purchased some more……


Hi @astack

Have your ‘brittle’ Flow Frames been exposed to gamma irradiation at all (e.g. AFB treatment)?

Although a build-up of any cold wax/propolis from being stored over winter should cause a ‘cracking’ sound when opening and resetting the Flow Frames, the plastic shouldn’t crack or break. If this is the case, please email the Flow team at info@honeyflow.com so we can investigate this and take care of you.

Flow Frames were built to last for years and years, with the very original Flow Frames developed and tested in the field still working absolutely fine. Yes, the plastic is sensitive to UV and gamma irradiation so be careful with this. But the plastic material is high quality and shouldn’t crack.

Hi Bianca,

They were stored in a shed under a work bench so no UV exposure. I thought someone from the HoneyFlow team might be curious about this one so I took a picture before inserting back into the hive. As you can see, it split where the key was being turned. I tested several frames this one just happened to be in the center that split.

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Thanks Andrew. I can confirm that this shouldn’t happen and we’d like to take care of you ASAP. Please email the team at info@honeyflow.com when you can and include this photo and order information.