Re-using Box and flow frames

Hello, I have a hive box that is now empty as the bees obsconded due to SHB, its really out of control here at the moment. I also have an 8 frame nuc that seems to be doing well from a swarm I caught when they swarmed back in August, I was hoping to utilse the boxes and flow frames for this hive. What do I need to do to be able to place these new frames into the empty hive brood box and what do I need to do to the flow frames to put them on once the brood box is satisfactorly full?
Are the old frames any use or should I toss them?
Thank you.

@IanV Hi Ian, it’s a tricky one for sure. If you use the search tool and type in “slime out” there are a few posts tackling this subject. Personally I’d be burning the wooden brood frames, dismantling the flow frames and cleaning each part, just in case the smell lingers and puts the next bees off too. I’d scrub the hive and roof, then when it was dry, I’d blow torch it to kill anything I’d missed :wink:.

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Thanks for the suggestion @Saraj, I dont think it was a total slime out as the robber bees went straight in to clean out the remaining honey in the brood box, the super still had capped cells and they were still storing nectar in the flow frames.

Hi Ian, I would re-use the wooden frames, after scraping them clean with a blunt fishing knife. Blunt enough so that the knife doesn’t continually dig into the wood.

I have frames that I’ve been using, scraping clean, scorching at times & re-using, over and over for over 30 years. They’re still going strong, however looking a bit knocked around.


Thanks @JeffH so discard the old wax, and with the flow frames, most had maybe up to 40/50% capped honey, I have put this into black plastic to keep the bugs out, I removed any SHB with a vacuum cleaner prior to bagging it. Is it possible to use these as is or do I need to clean them too.

Hi Ian, I never discard any wax, regardless of how putrid the stuff within it smells. It’s amazing how clean it comes out, once you boil everything in water, before pouring it all through a strainer & into a wax mold… I work the stuff above the strainer with a soup spoon, so as to make sure all the wax goes through.

In regards to honey frames: With traditional frames, I salvage the frames that haven’t been slimed, or even the section that hasn’t been slimed. I cut the rest out to sadly melt down with the wax. Anyway I don’t waste the wax/honey water. I use it watered down as a liquid fertilizer. The stuff above the strainer (slumgum), also gets put back into the garden after shredding it with sugar cane leaves or stalks, or what’s leftover after juicing it, to make a mulch.


Wow, its all happening, before I could dispose of the frames and clean the box some bees moved in yesturday afternoon. Ill check later today to see if there was a queen with them and maybe put some new frames for them to fill out and start over.
My plan is to remove any honey from the flow frames and spray them with sugar water to encourage them to decap and start storing up there. I lack resorces to do anything else. This will be put on the brood box that is bursting with bees.

How do you combat this? Ive just about tried everything.

the freezer is now full of 4 week old frames.

Hi Ian, “how to combat this?” is a good question.
I cut the affected comb out of the frames into my wax bin to do like I described earlier, while making sure that every grub goes in as well. We don’t want any grubs escaping into the soil, because that’s where they’ll complete their life cycle, about 4" under the ground.

If you don’t have a bin that you can boil everything in, a good large bucket with a good lid will do. Just put everything in the bucket, every possible grub included, before putting the lid on tight. All you need to do then is place the bucket in the hot sun for a day. That will kill everything inside the bucket.

Be aware that the grubs crawl around, looking for soil to bury into at night. They rarely come out during the daylight hours.

You can prevent this from happening again by following a few simple steps. I can share them later on if you like.

PS I’ll try this out. I copied something I said about 5 years ago.
There’s a few bits of stuff I wrote to folks on SHBs in the topic listed below.

Small Hive Beetle - SHB Aethina Tumida

Hi Shane, I saw you mention “quite a few drones”. Quite a few drones in a hive is not good if you have problems with SHB. The drones wont do any defending & could get in the way of the workers trying to stop the beetles from laying eggs. If you have any shb damage, you should get into your brood & cut any drone comb out, as well as any worker comb with shb damage. Carefully replace the frames so you don’t kill any bees.

SHB is one of the reasons why I prefer wax foundation as opposed to starter strips or foundationless frames, to keep the drone comb in the hive to a lower %.

Hi Lucas, the fact that worker bees are chasing the beetle till they find somewhere to hide is good. That is my shb strategy, to have lots of workers in the hive so that the workers will chase the beetles till they find somewhere to hide. I don’t use any traps & I believe that shb are as bad here as anywhere else. I do squash them every chance I get, but I don’t lose any sleep over them.

Yes I have the same experience. It took me a while to figure it all out. I don’t use any traps whatsoever. The tricks I find is to keep the worker population strong. Eliminate large areas of drone comb out of the brood. Keep the hives floor clean. Try not to squash bees when returning frames into the hive. Lastly make sure there’s nowhere outside of the hive the beetles can breed up in, such as unused/discarded frames containing brood or pollen, also uncovered slumgum.

-Edit- PS. Another important thing to remember is: Make sure there is a generous covering of worker bees to protect any frames containing brood or pollen inside the hive. The beetles wont lay eggs on empty frames, fresh foundation or empty drawn comb.

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