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Freezing the flowframes to kill insects for winter storage


I usually put my empty honey supers and frames in the freezer for 48 hours to kill any insects before storage for winter (after final harvest and bees have cleaned up the frames). I let my bees keep the usual amount of honey for themselves in a full super and took off the flowframes even if there was still uncapped nectar. I emptied the capped frames, then put the uncapped and emptied frames outside for the bees. They removed all the caps off the flow frames and cleaned them up beautifully for storage. Now I want to pop them in the freezer for 48 hours. There were a few hive beetles seen… Can I do that safely to the plastic flowframes without plastic splitting or cracking? The freezer is a standard 0 degree Fahrenheit household chest freezer. I can set the whole thing in there.


Yes, you can. No need to worry, it will be fine.


Hi Sharon, as far as we know, this shouldn’t be an issue.


Hi Sharon,
Cedar has tested the Flow Frames in the freezer and they were fine :slight_smile:


Once you freeze the flow frame, how do you get the hive beetles out of the flow frame?


The bees will clean them out for you.


The bees will clean up the frames as well as the SHB when the frames are put back into use. Bees will kill SHB when they are alive and get caught by a bee.


I don’t get that one.
Sounds like SHB is not a problem at all as long we have live bees ???


That is not what I was saying. A strong colony with a small number of bees will kill the SHB and to an extent control SHB. I have watched this happening.
Between the bees and me squashing them as part of my inspections weekly I am only finding a few in some hives and none in a couple. I don’t use baits or traps in my apiary at all.


Hi Peter, I haven’t seen bees killing beetles. It looks like they are, but unfortunately they are unable to. They will chase them incessantly until they find somewhere to hide. Then I believe the bees propolise them in.

The beetles will hide around the periphery of the brood waiting for an opportunity to lay eggs in the brood. A honey spill can sometimes provide that opportunity while the bees are cleaning honey off themselves. I saw that in my observation hive once.

I learned something interesting about beetles once. Apparently the optimum brood temp is slightly too high for beetles. They are more comfortable with a couple of degrees cooler. It all falls into place when the worker numbers drop dramatically, the brood temp drops to the level beetles are comfortable with, making it ideal for them to go on an egg laying spree & slime-out.


I guessed that the bees were chasing them to kill them, the bees sure do hate them in the hive and become obsessed in chasing them. I will file that info away.