How do I clean my frames?

Question! How do I clean my flow frames? I took the super off last fall and after harvesting the honey from the flow frames, they spent the winter in the super in my (freezing) garage. So they still have wax cappings and some residual honey. Should I clean them somehow, or just plop the super back on the hive when the bees are ready? How should I clean them if that’s what i need to do?

You can just put them back on. The bees will clean them up and re-wax them beautifully. :blush:

Thanks @Dawn_SD :blush: I wasn’t sure if I should be worried about wax moths since it is now Spring. My son and I are about to go out to plant some flower seeds in our garden! :cherry_blossom:

I would do a visual check of the frames and if you see any nasties then wash the frames in warm soapy water then rinse under running water and air dry but if there is no creepy crawlies then just put the super back on the hive and the bees will get to work.

Thanks, Peter! Can’t wait for this weekend’s inspection!

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Don’t forget an update and you stay safe.

@Peter48 @Dawn_SD First inspection today! As I said before, this hive was two deeps (8 frames each) over winter. I opened up the top, took the hot box off, and saw a decent looking cluster over to one side of the hive on the outer frames of the upper box. They still have 4 frames completely full of capped honey, and the other four are between 50-80% full. The queen has started building up numbers already! There was 3 frames of brood! Not full of brood, but maybe 50-60%… I saw capped worker brood and larvae on at least two frames, and capped drone brood on one frame. I couldn’t see eggs, but I’m not great at spotting those yet. I did not SEE the queen (I have never seen my queen, actually!) despite looking for her on every frame, but the bees were fanning so she had to be in there. I did not see adult drones yet, b it I did see a couple newly emerged bees with fuzzy eyes! So I felt pretty good about the top box.

The bottom box was a different story. There was some nectar and some pollen in the bottoms, but not really any bees. There were a couple just strolling along down there but not really working anything. There were a couple dead bees stuck to these frames. I kind of feel like this box was “dead”.

Not a ton of dead bees on the bottom board… I actually expected more,

So, I switched the boxes. The originally bottoms box is now on top, and the original top box (That they have started raising brood in) is now the bottom box. Thjngs got real quiet after I closed everything up. Not much traffic at the entrance, and it looked like a few returning foragers came to the entrance, sniffed around and were like “hey wait a minute something is not right” and actually flew away. I waited there for a minute to observe because I saw 3 or 4 do this… but eventually I did see a few go inside.

I hope I didn’t do something bad by switching the boxes around…

With a double brood hive I wouldn’t have switched the two brood boxes about. The bees decided that the top brood box was where they wanted the queen to lay eggs, maybe because it is a little warmer or out of any cool air blowing into the entrance. For what ever reason they decided the top box was the one best for the brood.
Queens are nervous about being in sunshine so can be hard to locate. Look for young larvae and assume the queen is going well if your not seeing her.

Hey there, I guess I should have number one not drifted away from the site :honeybee: :blush: and I should have read before I decided to clean my flow super before putting it on 3 time a charm>> So I rinsed it out and went to shake it to get the water out and the entire thing came apart. Hopefully I put it together correctly and it works when I go to empty the honey that is now finally happening in my flow. Hope you are well over there.

Flow have done a good video on setting up the right wire tension and how to adjust it. If the frame ‘fell apart’ just by shaking out the water after rinsing then I suspect the wire tension was not enough.

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I will check it out, Thanks

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Hi there Dawn,
i have the same question… I´ve just taken off my super and and I wonder how to clean the honey leftovers and the “old” wax off… I mean do I just wash with lukewarm water or leave everything on for the the spring ? I really can’t find anything about it on the Flow channel on YouTube ?!
all the best

Hi Andreas! I had great success with leaving the empty super outside to let the bees clean off. The yard did get a bit crazy, bees EVERYWHERE! So make sure you place it as far away as you can from your hive to reduce the risk of robbing, and don’t put it near your swimming pool or high traffic areas. I put a sheet of foil over piece of plywood, which I placed over a wheelbarrow and then plopped the super on top. The bees cleaned it right up in a few days. Also, put it somewhere in the shade as direct sunlight won’t be good for the Flow frames. I hope this helps!

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You have a few choices. One is to do what @ErinNewbeeMama suggested, but I don’t recommend that at this time of year, as robbing is very common in late summer. The second is to freeze them as they are for 24-48 hours to kill off wax moths (I wrap them in plastic to keep the wax and stickiness out of the freezer). You can then put them back in the flow super and seal the top and bottom with a couple of sheets of hessian. This lets air flow and discourage mould.

The third method depends on whether you have an autumn nectar flow in your area. If you don’t, I just leave the super on for a couple of days, and the bees will clean it up on the hive. In fact, when I harvest, I always leave the super on for 2-3 days afterwards, to give them a chance to recycle the leftovers. I then wrap, freeze and store as I suggested above.


You’ve been hanging out with too many Aussies!

In 'merica we call it burlap. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Either that, or I am a Brit. Thank you for the clarification though. Must learn to speak Murican more betterer… :rofl:



Constantly moving target…

Here’s a few more:

Cilantro = Corriander

Trunk = boot

Hood = bonnet

Flip flops = Thongs (or Jandals in NZ)

Fanny pack = bum bag

The list goes on :joy:


Hi Dawn, thanks a lot ! I will wrap them and leave them I my shed, when the winter comes they will freeze :smile: (im writing from Denmark!)

So I guess the old honey won’t be a problem ?! After I harvested a couple of weeks ago I left the frames for a week and the bees did clean everything, except one frame with a great deal of honey left in the bottom ?!

I think I will just wash that one down.

Thanks for always be here for everyone ! :pray:t4:

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thanks Erin ! But I found out that when leaving it outside, that will attract wasps ! So i will wrap it a put it in my shed :+1:t4: