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New Beekeeper here so take this for what it's worth. Last year I had my 2 hives die out, so I did the torch trick on all of my boxes and frames, even with the foundations drawn. Everything went well and now my 3 hives are doing great. I used a butane torch I got at the hardware store and burned off all the stuff that wasn't supposed to be there. I only scorched the wood a little, not burning it black (except for a few splinters). If you only doing a few boxes (12 in my case) then this approach works fine. The frames were a little tedious and I did melt a little wax here and there that the bees fixed, but no major fires. Unless you know the hives have been filled with diseased bees, then I would shy away from the lye approach just because of the mess working with a pot big enough to cook hive bodies in.
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