It is ILLEGAL in the State of Tennessee to either sell or give away used beekeeping boxes or frames.
The ONLY exception to this law is IF a hives have live bees in it AND it has been inspected by a TN State (or local) Inspector. OR if the equipment has been boiled in lye for at least 30 minutes (the lye breaks the wood down so much, that it leaves the boxes unusable, so this option really isn’t much of an option).
Even if you know and trust the person giving or selling you equipment, don’t do it! You may be unknowingly be spreading American Foulbrood (AFB) to your bees. They too may be unaware that the equipment is contaminated. The AFB spores can last 40+ years.
If a hive gets AFB, the only way to get rid of AFB is to burn the hives with the bees in it at night. It is a traumatizing and expensive to have AFB in your hives and in your area.
An eight mile radius around your hives will be put under quarantine and the State Apiarist and his inspectors will need to inspect every frame of every beekeeper’s hives in that 8 mile radius. This could easily be hundreds of hives they need to inspect. Besides putting other beekeepers at risk, doing so ties up the inspectors and makes them not available to beekeepers for their many other job functions. It also greatly inconveniences other beekeepers.
So even if you find equipment in your grandfathers barn or family basement and are thinking of using it, remember It is not worth the risk.
Tennessee Code 44-15-112 – Used beekeeping equipment.
*No person shall sell or give to any other person any used beekeeping equipment until the equipment has been sanitized by a method approved by the state apiarist. This requirement will not apply to equipment that is occupied by live bees.