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Use old frames and boxes?


I received a bottom board, two brood boxes, and frames from a farmer who said he couldn’t keep bees. By the look of the boxes wax moth’s got to it. I have no idea how long they were sitting on his property being empty.

Should we use these ? We have already painted the exterior of the boxes and would like to re-use.


Hey Rye,
The wood looks solid enough. Give it a scrape with your hive tool or paint scraper to clean up the insides. My only thought with second hand gear is has it been affected by AFB at any stage. If you know it’s history, good to go. Otherwise, spores can survive many years so could be a ticking time bomb.


Thanks Mike :smiley:


If you are going to use them, I have two suggestions.

  1. Spray everything generously with a solution of 10% household chlorine bleach in water - insides of boxes and frames. Leave them outside in a sunny spot for 24 hours, then rinse off with clean water.
  2. Scorch the inside of the boxes with a blow torch until the wood blackens slightly.

Sounds extreme, but those measures will kill off most bacteria, fungi, wax moth eggs and SHB. I would do that if I had to re-use old boxes, but I would actually prefer to start with new unless they were my own old boxes and frames. :blush:


Thanks Dawn. I did scortch the one box already and plan on doing the other. Ran out of propane. I will also follow your suggestion with the bleach. Not extreme at all. I want to kill everything on these boxes if possible.


The boxes are recoverable following what @Dawn_SD has described but I would throw the frames in the garbage bin and replace them with new frames. I prefer to wire the frames and fit foundation. The few bucks for a new frame is worth it over the risk of eggs being in the wire holes and on the corners of the frames.
Cheers Ryan.


A good heat gun gets pretty hot too and it will scorch and it’s easier to use. :grinning:


Has anyone ever tried toasting frames in a low oven?


I thoroughly scorch any second hand equipment. It sounds like your on the right track with propane.

One tip. Don’t put a fresh swarm or a “shook swarm” into a recently scorched box, they’ll abscond. I learned the hard way. You can transfer a colony, brood & all, no problems.