The Java EE 5 Tutorial

Allowing Messages to Expire

By default, a message never expires. If a message will become obsolete after a certain period, however, you may want to set an expiration time. You can do this in either of two ways.

If the specified timeToLive value is 0, the message never expires.

When the message is sent, the specified timeToLive is added to the current time to give the expiration time. Any message not delivered before the specified expiration time is destroyed. The destruction of obsolete messages conserves storage and computing resources.