We just had our first harvest and it went beautifully! My question is this: after resetting the empty frames, I took a look at the front and back, and from the top, you would never know that we harvested the honey. The wax caps are completely intact, while I was expecting that they would be broken, or at least shifted by the action of opening the frames. The bees don’t seem to be removing the wax cappings at all, rather they just keep walking over the top of them as though they’re unaware that their honey is gone! Is this normal? Should I do anything to agitate the wax and encourage the bees to remove it?
The system works by leaving the cappings sheet intact, so that the honey can drain from behind it into the channel and your jar. The break point is not in the cappings, it is on the cell walls behind the cappings. In fact, you may notice on a new frame that the surface “undulates” - it has a wavy surface. This helps to create a shear plane, so that the cappings are held intact to keep the honey flowing into the channel, not back into the hive from the face of the frame. Pure genius.
The bees will get the message within a day or two. Don’t worry. They will chew up and discard the caps and start refilling with the next flow of nectar.