Just harvested 2 frames and got 10 lbs of honey!!
that’s about my average 2.2 to 2.5 kgs per frame. I think a few times I have got as much as 3kgs from a frame.
If I am patient and leave each frame draining for about 4 hours, I have extracted about 3.2kg in my first harvest. But maybe my bees are over achievers…
Still great honey, and a wonderful result. Quantity doesn’t matter.
I have actually left some draining overnight- to extract just about every last drop. Waste not want not There can be a lot of variation in how far out the bees cap the frames- in my hybrid flow there is more room between the face of the flow frame and the adjacent standard frame- and the bees can build that flow frame face right out well beyond the plastic. I have also had them do the opposite and cap below the level of the plastic.
Just like bees don’t always cap honey at a set moisture content percentage, it seems they also do not always cap it at the same height, even with the space between the frames being the same. Does anyone know why bees don’t cap the honey cells at the same height?
- Bee space
- Energy efficiency (wax takes energy to produce, if you want to save your food energy stores, you do it before your seasonal energy income runs out)
Think like a bee.
Well done @Dawn_SD for having a go at answering this challenging question!
So does this mean that you will only see “short” capped cells towards the end of or after a flow, but never early on in a good one?
I confess I don’t understand this (sorry) in the context of the question, even though I feel like I should
Did you get stung? :3
Nope - they didn’t pay attention to at all!
Never say never in nature! However, I think it is generally true that bees tend to draw the comb more evenly early in the season. Also, some of the reason that they don’t cap honey at the end of the season (or during a dearth) may be because they are conserving energy. In this case, the comb may be unevenly drawn too, as they only pulled out the cells to be deep enough to contain what they have gathered. You frequently see this when you add new frames of fresh foundation.
Well, I didn’t really explain it, so how could you know what I was thinking? By “bee space” I had a couple of thoughts in mind.
- If a group of bees have drawn a slightly wavy surface layer on one frame, the adjacent frame often has a matching wavy surface, as the bees preserve the bee space between the frames. So, if the adjacent frame has long cells in a patch, the bees will make the facing cells shorter. This happens much less often next to the hive wall, because the wall is flat, but even there, the surface can be uneven if they have built burr comb on the walls.
- You can make the bees draw out longer cells by respacing the frames. This is common practice in the UK in honey supers. The usual method is to start with a box of standard spaced frames in the super. Once fully capped, the frames are uncapped and centrifuge extracted. The stickies are then replaced in the super with one frame left out, but larger spacers on the lugs. By repeating the process, the frame spacing is gradually increased so that the box which originally held 12 frames finally only holds 8 frames. All of this is because the bees maintain the bee space. A nice side effect of this method is that the frame face is much more even after the first respacing, because the uncapping knife has removed all of the bees’ wavy surface on the comb (depending on knife skills, of course). The real benefit is that each frame holds a lot more honey, reducing the time needed to extract each traditional super.
All clear now?
Hi Dawn, thanks for the further explanation. It seems bees draw comb shorter opposite taller comb, and draw taller comb opposite shorter comb. Perhaps they make a “mistake” (either too tall or too short) early on, and then compound the problem in maintaining the bee space over the comb? I admit that I am someone that thinks bees make mistakes. With the Flow frames, I wonder if they sometimes make the cells too tall and therefore shorten them on the other side? Sometimes I guess they make them short all over for lack of good supplies of nectar, and that also accounts for variation in Flow frame harvests?
I wonder what is the largest volume of honey to date ever harvested from one Flow frame from anyone on the Forum, and then also what is the smallest amount of ripe honey ever harvested from a Frame?
I don’t know but my guess is you couldn’t pack in much more that 3.5 kgs. I would guess I average around 2.75.
Interesting Jack thanks. I hope someone can post their record each way, and perhaps an observation about the colony and environmental condition/s during filling and capping.
It’s a most intriguing subject for flow pioneers, being able to easily extract single frames.
I have records of all my single flow frame harvests, with hive name, date, weight and water %.
I haven’t analyzed things too closely, but noticed one hive’s Harvest per frame is ALWAYS above 3kg (max 3.8), whereas another hive delivers between 2.5 and 2.9kg consistently, regardless of season.
Water content is something I can’t yet predict. Across all hives it has been between 15.5 and 18.3 %.
I measured 16% next to a frame of 18%, both fully capped, different flavors.
Yes, environment makes a difference for sure, but all the hives are on the same land, whereas one hive may be standalone and another in a row of several, or be the one on the east or the west in that row.
I reckon the queen makes for major influence somehow. Having Italians and Carnies (and others), I don’t see a difference in weight per frame between them. It seems to be personality. If that’s the queens’ or colonies’ personality I don’t know. Since requeening changes behavior of a colony, I gather it has to do with the queen.
So the lower weight per frame colony caps the flow cells flush or even before the end of the flow cells, whereas the higher weight per frame colony makes an effort to build out and add wax to the flow cells.
They do this all at the same time with the same flow on.
Just watching an autumn nuc powering actively gaining through winter preparing the flow super while others turn a bit docile. Not long now. Solstice has been.
That is one solid frame of honey. That will take some topping I reckon.
Intriguing. Great you are keeping such excellent records and such great observing too @Webclan
And those 3.8kg came from flow frame 3, not even a frame on the side, where you think the bees had more space to build out. Additionally, the water content was 18% in that one, so theoretically it could have been even heavier with dryer honey.
This hive usually gives us over 3kg per frame, but harvested one today with 2.9kg at 16.9%
Love records, love statistics. Where would the world bee without nerds,
That’s some nice looking honey
Where are you located? You can edit your location easily:
Thank you - it tastes pretty good too . We are in North Carolina near the coast.