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Mould in flow frames

Due to the very wet start to winter on the northern rivers NSW I now have a little mould in the near empty flow frames. Should I remove the supper completely and clean it ready for spring or let the bees do it ?


If your damp enough to find mold upstairs in the Flow-Frame Super I personally would take that as a messGe to get it off, checked, maybe cleaned n after drying stored in a plastic bag in a cool dry place. At least that’s what I do winters up here Stateside near Seattle. It’s really cool n damp/wet up here. I wouldn’t dare leave one one in our WET climate.


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Depends on where the mould is. If it is inside the collection channel, the bees will not be able to reach it and you will have to clean the frames yourself. If it is in the cells, the bees should have no problem with it, but I agree with Jerry (@Gerald_Nickel), perhaps taking the super off would be a good idea, and if you have space, put the frames in the freezer until spring.

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Great thanks for your help, I will take it off.

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Revisiting this thread.

I have learnt the hard way that storage of flow frames need extra attention.

Having just unpacked my flow frames which were stored for winter I find the cells in most frames covered in mould. Up to 80% the worst case and 30-40% in rest.
The fames were rotated in the freezer with each spending a week before being:
wrapped in paper,
placed in a lidded cardboard box and then,
the box put into a large plastic bag (dark green gar bag) and sealed.

Would seem there was too much moisture in the frames when I sealed them up. Certainly have to do something different next year.

I first thoughts would be to put them back in the super and let the bees clean it out.
However with so much mould it may affect the health of the bees. So my question is if I soak/wash frames in a mould killing solution would the smell linger to stop the bees going into the super.

Funny how you feel a dill for not having thought a wonderful storage encapsulation system through.
Wherefore art thou Foresight? I only get to see Hindsight. :anguished:

…not what I wanted to read in advance of my first inspection this weekend.

@Gerald_Nickel, how do you store your flowframes over winter?

I think- if I was you- I’d be tempted to wash them in warm water first and then let them dry out. perhaps a bit of sunlight to kill off any spores? Last winter we stored our frames - and first we washed them in water by soaking them- then dried them out for a few days before putting them in a sealed plastic tub. This year we left them on over winter- and for the first few months the bees ignored them - I began to think leaving them was a bad idea as often there would be quite a bit of condensation in the super. I ended up increasing my ventilation to deal with this (coreflute in bottom slot- and hole in inner cover with screen on it). now over the last two weeks they have started to be filled with nectar again- so I am happy I left them on as it looks like I’ll have a very good start to spring.

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I had mould in my flow frames and ran them through the dishwasher twice on medium heat (48) with no detergent and most of the mould was gone, now back in the super and filling with honey. All good
Sunlight is not recommended for the flow frames.

Thanks for that. Yes sunshine is out for plastics.
I did think about the dishwasher but was not game. But sure seems like that may work for me.
Any reason why you didn’t use detergent. I was thinking a tablet shouldn’t harm the plastic.

I guess i just thought the less chemicals the better but maybe the first wash could be with a tablet and then the second without.

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@Dawn_SD you said this in a closed topic" Even when I have washed them carefully or run them through the dishwasher!"
Previously you said you would not risk $600 worth of frames in a dishwasher.
Have you now used the dishwasher ,with or without detergent.:slightly_smiling_face:

Hi Wilfred, what I did is - perhaps it might work for you next time:

1 drain honey from Flow super.

  1. let bees clean up for several days.

3 Washed out drain channel with modified bottle brush and warm water. .Stored super and frames inside house with a breathable but wax moth proof cover for a few weeks/ month (you can get stuff at Bunnings for weed stopping - recycled plant matter or something - biodegradable actually). Drain caps off during this time to allow channels to dry. Towel over the top to stop the moths would probably be ok.

  1. Stored super in garage off the concrete floor but on a wooden base with the breathable cover still over to stop moths, but steel queen excluder held down on top to stop rodents.

Super back on hive now and honey getting stored in it. No mould.

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Nope. Must be a misquote. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::rofl:

Ideally stored nice and high on a timber table with the breathable cover (at step 4) should work.

How to encourage bees to use the Flow Frames :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Why didn’t I think of that? I was so determined to keep wax moth out I forgot basics. Thanks


I’m not saying I’ve done it correctly but it seems to have worked. I have all my standard frames hanging from the ceiling in the garage, hopefully away from rodent attack and wrapped in clear plastic bags so I can see if any moths have got in and to let the light in -which is supposed to deter the moth. These frames went straight in the bags without being dried at all but I put them on the hives for the bees to take off all the honey remnants and to clean up the wax mess. I think I primarily was extra careful with the Flow frames because of the difficulty in dealing with potential mould and the fact that I had applied water to them to clean the channel -and that meant I really had to make sure it was really dry. If there was any unripe honey after harvesting and bee clean up etc. within the Flow frames that the bees couldn’t have got at, I thought that might be a problem. I don’t think Flow have tested for sodium hypochlorite compatability yet, but a solution of that would kill the mould (might damage the plastic - we ned to check this somehow??) and then you would have to give them a really good wash off - perhaps with an outdoor hose and spray nozzle set to a fine cleaning spray??

I remember now too - I dotted the Flow frames around the house in warm dry areas to make sure they were really dry -after washing out the channels. I had paper under them but it didn’t go down very well all the same :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Thanks @Dan2 My frames are in the dishwasher as we speak. Bit of a struggle to fit then in. You’d have thought they would have made stacking flow frames an option when they made the dishwasher eh. :smirk:

That was a plastic bucket feeder worth $7, not my Flow frames. So there!!! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::heart_eyes::rofl:

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Up date on the Dishwasher.
Let us just say I have gathered my jamas and some bedclothes, probably spending the night in the machinery shed.

With the dishwasher set at 45 deg C (careful not to put the plastic above 70 deg) the water is not hot enough to melt the wax but the detergent tablet was able to remove/dissolve the wax and it all ended up as a gunky slurry in the bottom. Needless to say the filter and jets blocked and the dishwasher had a hissy fit and spat out lots of red lights. Wife was also flashing lots of red lights and noises which I desperately tried to avoid. I think she was angry.:rage:

Lots of hot water, a tooth brush and its all back going. Doing a clean run on hottest setting 75 Deg which should clean out any remaining wax. Hint to would be dishwasher’s: wait till Wife goes to town before running flow frames through the dishwasher.

The flow frames seem perfectly OK. :relieved: